A new university, the African Leadership University (ALU), has been inaugurated in Mauritius with an ambitious plan to open 25 campuses across Africa including Ghana.
A brainchild of a Ghanaian social entrepreneur and educationist, Mr Fred Swaniker, the university aims to produce African leaders based on a custom designed curriculum and an interactive learning experience.
By integrating students learning with the real world, empowering students to take ownership of their learning and equipping each to think entrepreneurially, the university hopes to break down the leadership deficit and reduce unemployment on the continent.
The university developed its curriculum with contents from Ivy League schools in the United States and some of the top universities in the United Kingdom.
Described as a ground-breaking initiative by its inaugural Chancellor, and a former First Lady of South Africa, Madam Graca Machel, the university has an ambitious plan to graduate three million young African leaders over the next five decades.
“Building strong education institutions is perhaps Africa’s most urgent priority today. A good education system produces good citizens and good leaders ALU is an audacious initiative that uses innovation to create a fresh solution to an old problem, creating high calibre leaders who will drive Africa’s development and inspire generations to come.
This event marks the beginning of what I believe will be an inspiring African story. As an educationist, I am thrilled to be part of this ground-breaking initiative,” Madam Machel, who was also a one-time Education Minister of Mozambique, said.
All students who graduate from the university would receive their degrees from a Scottish University, Glasgow Caledonian University, ALU’s founding partner.
With close to 200 students from 30 African countries currently studying, Mr Swaniker said the objective of ALU was not necessarily to address Africa’s education problems but rather a bigger prize—leadership.
“Many education institutions are built for education sake but at ALU, the end is to create a generation of leaders to transform Africa and education is the vehicle for that transformation.”
He observed that it was time for educational institutions across the continent to meet the needs of the continent.
“The answer to the challenge of higher education in Africa today is a solution that leverages scarce resources to produce high-calibre graduates at a scale in a time-efficient manner. Resource constraints in Africa and the imperative to develop transformational leadership across the continent today forces on us an opportunity to re-imagine the traditional university model,” he sad.
At a glitzy dinner to crown the launch, the President of Mauritius, Prof. Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, said Africa’s youthful population offered the continent a great opportunity that could be harnessed through investment in quality education.
“The social and economic transformation of the African continent will only happen if higher education, better access to health care and greater emphasis on knowledge becomes central to the growth agenda,” he said.
She commended the ALU team, saying, “I thank you for your inspiring vision and dedication to truly change the world through education and putting premium on entrepreneurship.”
Other keynote speakers at the event included ALU’s Global Advisory Council Chairman, Dr Donald Kaberuka, who is the immediate past President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), and Prof. Pamela Gillies, Vice-Chancellor of Glasgow Caledonian University.