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02.11.2005 General News

Africa's Tertiary institutions urged to enhance benefits of IT

By GNA
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Cape Coast, Nov 02, GNA - Mr Mark Murray, President of Grand Valley State University (GVSU) in the United States, has appealed to institutions of higher learning, especially those in Africa, to add value to the information accessed as result of advancement in Information Technology (IT).

He said this was important as IT permeates all aspects of life and is capable of transforming every sector of a nation's economy. Mr Murray, who made the call when he opened a 'Collaborative International Conference on the theme " What's new: best practices in education in Africa and the United States today", at the University of Cape Coast (UCC) on Wednesday, said the hallmark of higher education should be to use their skills to move their economies forward. The UCC's Faculty of Education organized the three-day conference in collaboration with the School of Education of the GVSU. The GVSU and the UCC have had an exchange programme spanning 20 years.

Mr Murray said IT had seen a rapid transformation over the years since the introduction of computers about 40 years ago and that "this 21st century would see more rapid transformation." He said countries on the continent and their tertiary institutions need to attach importance to IT education in order to develop the requisite skills to support development.

He lauded the growing partnership between his institution and the UCC and expressed happiness that UCC students sent over under the exchange programme have been "significant contributors" to improving African Studies there.

The Pro-Vice Chancellor of the UCC, Professor Kobina Yankson, said with "narrowing politics and expanding technologies, higher education in particular, remained one of the few ways to ensure stability, and buy insurance against possible dire change".

"Let there be no question whatsoever: higher education is the universal hope, and the work that we do here in the walls of our universities constitute what may well be the best way forward", he emphasized.

He said enduring effects of education are large and pervasive and even more when it occurs within an international context and lauded the collaboration between the two institutions.

Prof Yankson said over the past three years, efforts have been concentrated on furthering the development of the African Studies Program at the GVSU, and establishing faculty and staff exchanges in IT in efforts to enhance technical and programming efforts at the UCC.

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