Panelists at the 2nd Ghana Business Summit have called on academic institutions to focus on developing students that will drive entrepreneurship instead of focusing on increasing enrollment.
They argued that the current trend of increasing enrollment without focusing on the quality and how students can drive entrepreneurship would only contribute further to increasing graduate unemployment in the country.
Sharing perspective on how to drive corporate entrepreneurship, the President of the Noble International Business School (NIBS), Professor Kweku Atuahene-Gima, explained that it was time to evaluate the universities based on their output and not their input or enrollment numbers.
“If we want to have corporate entrepreneurship supported by both academia and companies, then I believe strongly that we have to change the funding system and performance criteria for universities.
Currently, I believe the basis on which government funds the universities is based on the number of students you have so the tendency is for us to recruit more students. We have to shift our focus from the input to the output,” he said.
He said it was important to find out how many companies have been set up after graduation or during graduation by the students from the university, signaling the need to change the performance criteria of universities.
“Elsewhere, universities are evaluated on what their students do and not how many students come in. If we don’t change this Key Performance Indicator (KPI), then the university will not have any incentive to do research that is relevant to companies,” he said.
He also noted that it was important to have a tripartite cooperation comprising academia, students and companies to solve problems adding that universities must be ready to cooperate with industry recognising the value of their experience to solve problems in society.
He said universities and companies must engage in demand driven projects allowing students and lecturers to do research on corporate problems that have already been identified by companies.
“After the solutions have been uncovered, the universities, the companies and the students come together to market the solution. I think this is lacking in our jurisdiction. We need the tripartite cooperation to solve problems,” he noted.
Companies solve problems
Prof Atuahene- Gima also noted that companies were solving problems in the society, hence the need for stronger collaboration to help achieve this.
“Companies value academic expertise rather than thinking that they are all theoretical people. If they are able to solve more of these problems, then the collaboration will be effective,” he said.
The Founder, Institute of Small Business Development and Entrepreneurship, Mr Joshua Kwei Mensah who also shared the same perspective said if universities continued to focus on enrollment, they would not be solving any problems in Ghana.
Ghana Business Summit
Organised by Globe Productions, the second edition of the summit brought together business leaders, academia and industry to discuss how to deepen the collaboration between industry and academia through entrepreneurship.
It was on the theme, “driving corporate entrepreneurship via industry academia partnership.”