26 January 2013

Africa: 'Africa Can Grow Through Business Education'

Africa can leapfrog its economic development by scaling up business education to leverage the impact of its educational system, says Guy Pfeffermann, founder and chief executive officer of Global Business School Network.

He said scale up would take advantage of Africa's flexible educational institutions, growing knowledge and fast spreading information technology.

In a lecture he delivered at Baze University, Abuja, Pfeffermann said young people, employers and academia "all too often lived in parallel universes" which meant young people didn't always have the skills employers wanted.

Pfeffermann, Director of the Economics Department and Chief Economist for the International Finance Corporation from 1998 to 2003, noted that "acute shortage of appropriate faculty and trainers" and "institutional rigidities" were major constraints inhibiting scale up of education to boost economic development.

Outlining three opportunities for Africa, Pfeffermann said, "entrenches education institutions are fewer than in old industrial countries, making it easier to innovate," adding: "the 'knowledge commons' are growing exponentially" while "[information technology is spreading, prices are falling, cultures are handing fast."

In details on how Africa could scale up, Pfeffermann mentioned the "flipped classroom"--allowing students to take online open courses before class discussions at which instructors can move away from orating and actually teach--as well as stay open to experiments in mobile education.

"Last but not least, partnerships are central to success," Pfeffermann added, emphasising links among governments as authorising environment, education institutions serving societal needs and employers shaping content and providing support.

It is the latest lecture in recent times at Baze University, founded by Senator Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed.

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