Academic staff members emerging from African postgraduate programs must be internationally competitive to ensure that African universities provide high quality education and research to support the development of their countries. The meeting will explore the question of what “excellence” means in the African context as well as ways in which excellence in postgraduate training, including boosting the capabilities of post-doctoral academic staff members, can be attained under prevailing circumstances of high national poverty levels, low public sector budgets, and high demand for university degrees that has led to overcrowding of universities.
Highly trained individuals have ever-increasing options for employment, within and outside their home countries. African universities must become more resourceful in retaining talented first-degree graduates, first persuading them to embark on academic careers and then persuading them to remain in academia in Africa. The meeting will explore viable strategies African universities can use, and are using, to create conditions that will enhance both aspects of retention.
Dependence on a small number of funders is a real threat, particularly in lower-income contexts. The meeting will explore strategies that universities can use to mobilize a range of resources to enhance sustainability prospects. The role of national and regional policy in sustaining universities and their initiatives will also be explored.