Governments and universities in Africa must work together to develop suitable academic and professional environments with service conditions that allow university teachers to execute their jobs and contribute to knowledge generation.
At the UNESCO World Higher Education Conference (WHEC2022), entitled ‘Reinventing Higher Education for a Sustainable Future,’ held in Barcelona, Spain from 18 to 20 May, some of the issues faced by African university professors were discussed, as well as possible responses. Professor Olusola Oyewole, secretary general of the Association of African Universities, told University World News that African university instructors work under difficult conditions. “Many of them are hampered by a lack of instructional tools to support their graduate students’ research.”
“[They] are unhappy because they are not sufficiently compensated, they do research in tough circumstances such as underfunding and a lack of research infrastructure, and they deal with impoverished students who are also struggling to pay their school fees,” Oyewole explained. Professor José Frantz, the University of the Western Cape’s deputy vice-chancellor for research and innovation, told University World News that she agreed with Oyewole’s portrayal.
“Burnout is a genuine phenomena for African teachers, and it should not be overlooked,” she added, explaining that they are always functioning in a turbulent, unpredictable, complex, and confusing context.