Recently, the Board of Executive Directors of the World Bank Group approved a US$19 million grant and a US$14 million credit to enhance the quality of some specific programmes and the general management of higher education all over Mali. The funding for the Mali Higher Education Support Project incorporates different activities which aim to better the management of higher education institutions and design new programmes which are consistent with the demands of the labor market, boosting the probability of graduates for getting lucrative jobs.
Pierre Joseph Kamano, World Bank Task Team Leader for the Project, said “It is expected that the project will directly benefit about 20,000 students and, indirectly, all of the 110,000 students currently enrolled in higher education. It is also expected to modernise education work environments, and improve the skills and experience for more than 1,000 academic staff and administrators to make them more competitive in the sub-region’s labor market.”
Many programmes in selected higher education institutes are set to be developed to meet the labor market demand and include better governance of management and finances. This will also help in improving the higher education system for the purpose of efficiently planning and executing reforms, observe the relevance and quality of programmes, as well as offer reliable statistics for policy decisions.
Need For Facing Challenges
The sensitive economy of Mali is getting harmed by structural hindrances to development, like a unimpressive investment scenario, poor infrastructure and insufficient skills, especially among young professionals. One of the biggest challenges is focussing on the issue of low qualifications of the workforce in the emerging labor market in Mali.
Paul Noumba um, Country Director at World Bank in Mali “Around 65 percent of Malians have no education and the average schooling among adults is 2.4 years. The status quo does not adequately address the needs of existing employers in the formal sector who complain of persistent difficulties in recruiting appropriately skilled workers. It also undermines the county’s potential for growth and economic diversification while hindering poverty reduction.”
The skills shortage has resulted due to the effects of growing demand for specialised professionals from different industries that are facing fast growth and rising job vacancies. Poor levels of worker productivity are weakening the economic conduct of the informal sector. The disparity between the number of workers looking for jobs and level of skills required by the growing labor market has been further aggravated after the last crisis.
Focusing On Higher Education
Higher education is also opposed with mismatch in the governance. Shortage in supply and poor tools are symbolic of ineffective utilisation of resources. Most of the education budget is allotted to the additional teaching hours and students’ welfare. It is only by developing the financing system for higher education, these institutions can effectively apportion their own academic budgets and help in the improvement of teaching, learning and innovation.
Moreover, the higher education in Mali, like other parts of Africa, has poor performance standards in almost all schools and colleges. If we wish to better the management of colleges, universities and other institutes, we need to improve institutional autonomy with enhanced accountability. This will result in creation of conditions that will lead to alternative revenue sources.
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