There is an ongoing discussion in Africa about university autonomy and academic freedom. However, so far nothing has been written or heard about the accountability of African universities. How can universities have rights without accountability?
The reason may be that public accountability is linked to the image of democracy, transparency and honesty that are more closely associated with political representatives and their representatives than with ivory towers.
Public accountability refers to the obligation of public institutions and their agents to respond to the public, to make explanations or approvals, or to perform accounts of their performance. And so it is an important part of the public administration. Often, accountability and responsibility are at odds. But they are separate and distinct obligations.
The main purpose of public accountability of government officials and their representatives is to allow citizens to make informed decisions about the safety, fairness, or reasonableness of these officials.
In fact, when citizens are fully aware of the functioning of government institutions, they may criticize, criticize, condemn, or praise the efforts of these institutions. Citizens can also mobilize public opinion and action to stop or change these plans if they are dissatisfied with government plans.
The importance of facts and figures
In Africa, state-run universities are an extension of other public institutions and are accountable to the public for fulfilling their obligations. African public universities have been fulfilling their accountability obligations by submitting semi-annual or annual reports to relevant government officials and opening up their facilities and procedures for government inspections.
However, only government officials know the university’s annual reports and inspection documents. Fragments of these files and documents can usually be made public in the event of a major crisis. Otherwise, the public will be left in the dark about the functioning of their public universities. However, African public universities have a responsibility to hold them accountable.
The University of Energy and Natural Resources (UNR) in Sunini, Ghana, was established in December 2011 to conduct management, management and research on energy and natural resources. Since its inception, UNR has been providing annual general reports on the university.
The report details the departments, colleges and centers within the university, as well as their faculty and qualifications, research needs and achievements. The report provides important statistics about student enrollment, new enrollment, and graduation. The university’s next academic year plan and challenges are also discussed.
The University of Rwanda was established in 1963 as the National University of Rwanda (NUR). A.D. In 2013, NUR merged with six other institutions of higher learning to establish the University of Rwanda (UR) in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda.
Since then, the UR has published a general annual report for public consumption, entitled ‘Facts and Figures’. Enrollment in one college, total enrollment and number of graduates, list of graduates in bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree courses, educational and professional qualifications for administrative and support staff; And print number and fields.
The “Facts and Figures” report is always published with detailed statistics graphs, charts and charts.
Reports from those two universities show that they are fulfilling their public responsibility. That is, they continue to define and approve their work in the field of manpower and research, the nature and quality of community participation and communication programs, and in terms of business and – or industry services (knowledge assessment and dissemination).
However, those reports can be seen as tools to build and maintain relationships with the public. These reports will be presented to the public in a rational way about the functioning of the universities and how they are contributing to the development efforts of their countries. From those reports, any concerned citizen can write their questions and submit them directly to those universities or their political representatives.
Respect for the value of transparency
The publication of these reports is a significant way to increase transparency in university operations. Both universities respect honesty and leadership.
For example, UENR values “honesty, commitment, and transparency,” values leadership and service, both of which require a strong foundation in transparency. Indeed, transparency builds public trust and confidence in institutions and universities.
The main purpose of producing the reports is not to promote those universities. However, they indirectly promote their institutions. No other document or brochure produced by these universities provides more detailed information about the institutions.
The institute is a great opportunity to showcase the research results and the educational needs of the teachers. And it is a way of informing and educating the public about these institutions. Future students who need an in-depth understanding of both institutions should read these reports.
The annual report of these two institutions is an excellent model for all African universities to implement. Beyond its voluntary nature, it is an excellent example of democratic values, and serves as a model for the public to see what is going on in the caves of the ivory towers.
African universities must be committed to holding accountable faculty members, staff, students, and the community by providing relevant and relevant information.
Dr. Eric Freddua: Quarting is a Canadian educator and policy expert.