The delivery of focused and practical education is vital for Africa’s economy to receive the needed boost, according to Project Management Institute (PMI). The PMI’s position comes as the world commemorates the United Nations‘ international day of education with the theme, ‘Changing course, transforming education’.
“Education, as pointed out by the UN, is a key element required for achieving sustainable development goals. We are proud that our efforts at PMI accord with at least three of these goals and that we are part of the vanguard of organisations taking tangible steps to help Africa achieve the greatness and place in global affairs that it truly deserves,” said George Asamani, business development leader for Africa at PMI.
According to Asamani, Africa is facing a future in which it is expected that the continent will produce some 30 million graduates a year by 2050. Therefore, education, its delivery, and effectiveness will become focal points. “At the forefront of those that must adapt are institutes of higher learning,” he stated.
Asamani observed that one of the areas that COVID-19 heavily impacted and is likely to carry long-term consequences is access to education and the enhancement of skills where the focus is on developing professionals who can deliver complex projects in an increasingly distributed environment.
Furthermore, it has also been the dominant force in creating a new work ecosystem in which project management and power skills have become vital. This has compelled businesses and society to respond by adopting digital transformation and embracing a project-based approach to their deliverables.
“The emphasis, as identified by McKinsey and other global authorities, is that four out of five companies surveyed are looking for people who are leaders, critical thinkers and decision-makers, and value continuous learning. These are the skills espoused by PMI and valuable for those preparing themselves for the competitive workplace,” said Asamani.
According to Asamani, the PMI response has included offering free curricula and resources to universities designed on a ‘faculty by faculty’ basis geared to meeting global accreditation (GAC) standards. The second leg of its academic resources is a research funding project that offers USD50, 000 to selected recipients.
Giving a practical slant to its involvement is the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certification offered to students to enable participation in the project management industry and connect with professionals already active in the sphere.
He disclosed further that projects are already underway with Mount Kenya University in Kenya and the University of Pretoria in South Africa, where PMI global professional volunteers from the US, Mexico, India, Nigeria, Senegal and South Africa are mentoring first-year Bachelor of commerce (BCom) students.
“One of our prime focuses through the PMI Education Foundation and chapter volunteers is providing skills training and mentoring to colleges and universities. It is at these institutions where there has been sustained demand for courses and degree programmes in project management to be offered,” Asamani stated.