The Association of African Universities (AAU) is holding an intensive training course on Basic University Teaching Skills, in Accra, to equip lecturers with the foundations for effective teaching.

The five-day quality assurance workshop is being attended by 30 participants from Ghana, Nigeria and Ethiopia.

It is focusing on topics such as Educational Psychology, Educational Philosophy, Educational Sociology, Bloom's Tacitly, Teaching Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), Quality Education, as well as assessment and valuation.

The overall aim of the workshop is to impart knowledge and skills related to teaching and learning in higher education to lecturers who have interest in updating themselves to new modes of teaching and knowledge dissemination in higher education.

Professor Etienne Ehouan Ehile, the Secretary-General of the AAU, in a speech read on his behalf by Professor Clement K. Dzidonu, the President of the Accra Institute of Technology, said: "Virtually all development players now concur that for any meaningful and sustainable economic growth to be realised and sustained, tertiary education must be centrally placed in development agenda of nations".

"Both developed and developing countries including those of Africa are striving to build their higher education sector to drive their development agenda in the emerging information and knowledge based economy and society,' Prof Ehile added.

He said lessons from the newly emergent economies like those of South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, as well as India, Brazil and recently China, points to the fact that these countries are strategically investing in and developing their higher education system to generate the requisite and critical skills, human capital and expertise, as well as the needed innovation systems and products to drive and fuel the development of their economies to transform them into high-income information and knowledge economies.

Prof Ehile said one area identified for close attention to enable the higher education sector to play its development role related to the capacity building of the faculty and administrators of African tertiary institutions.

He said in the framework of its mandate, aimed at improving African higher education, the AAU was in the forefront of implementing a number of critical initiatives aimed at contributing to an efficient "reorientation of Africa's education and training systems to meet the knowledge, competencies, skills, innovation and creativity required to nurture African core values and promote sustainable development at national, sub-regional and continental levels".

"Over the years, the Association has been championing innovations in collaboration with its member institutions since 1967," Prof Ehile stated.

Dr Violet Makuku, an AAU Project Officer, Harmonisation of African Higher Education Quality Assurance and Accreditation Initiative, said the quality assurance short course, which the AAU had started in Accra would gradually spread to other African countries.

She said the training series sought to fulfil three of the Continental Education Strategy for Africa's (CESA) 12 strategic objectives.

These include revitalising the teaching profession to ensure quality and relevance at all levels of education and harnessing the capacity of ICT to improve access, quality and management of education training systems.

The others are revitalising and expanding tertiary education, research and innovation to address continental challenges and promote global competitiveness.

She urged African universities to develop the capacities of the human resources of their quality assurance directorates. GNA