Africa University establishes College of Engineering and Applied Sciences to build critical mass of STEM experts to boost Africa’s tech driven future

Africa University has established a fourth College in Engineering and Applied Sciences (CEAS) adding to its already robust and game changing list of academic offerings. The CEAS joins the College of Business, Peace, Leadership and Governance, the College of Social Sciences, Theology, Humanities and Education, the College of Health, Agriculture and Natural Sciences and the School of Law. The recently appointed Dean of the CEAS, Dr. Yogesh Awasthi from India, sat down for an interview detailing the vision of the college, its development and how it shall contribute to the shaping of Africa’s future.

What inspired the establishment of the CEAS and what is its mission, vision and mandate in the broader context of addressing the critical skills needs of Africa ?

The inspiration for establishing a College of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Africa University was to firstly address societal needs. Engineering and applied sciences play a crucial role in addressing the pressing challenges faced by societies, such as infrastructure development, technological advancement, energy solutions, environmental sustainability, and more. By establishing a dedicated college, Africa University plans to contribute to meeting the needs of the continent and its communities.

Secondly, we are looking to  promote economic development by educating and training engineering professionals who will go on to  develop home grown  industries, innovate , and become entrepreneurs , leading to job creation and improved economic opportunities for individuals and the region.

Thirdly, we want to enhance technological capacity in Africa. By developing a strong engineering and applied sciences program, we can help Africa foster technological advancements and enhance the continent’s overall technical capacity. By nurturing skilled engineers, the college can contribute to the development, adoption, and adaptation of new technologies, promoting sustainable development and competitiveness.

Finally, we are also looking to the future where there is a considerable demand for such skills and capacity in this area. The long term goal is to train, retain and innovate on African soil.

Speaking to our mission, it is simple, to provide a comprehensive and innovative educational experience that prepares students to become competent and ethical engineers, scientists, and leaders in their fields, encouraging collaboration and instilling a culture of life- long learning. Our vision is to be a globally recognized center of excellence in engineering and applied science education, research, and innovation. We aim to be at the forefront of technological advancements, shaping the future through our commitment to excellence, creativity, and societal impact. I  envision a college that nurtures a diverse community of students, faculty, and staff who are passionate about engineering and applied science. Our graduates will be highly sought-after professionals and leaders, known for their technical proficiency, innovative thinking, and ethical decision-making.

Why is STEM considered the future and of special importance to Africa and its development?

STEM fields drive innovation, economic growth, and job creation. By investing in STEM education and fostering a skilled STEM workforce, African countries can attract industries, promote entrepreneurship, and participate in the global knowledge economy. STEM-related industries, such as information technology, engineering, biomedical , biotechnology and Artificial Intelligence have the potential to create high-paying jobs and contribute to sustainable development.

Further to this, Africa University as a continental brand develops its programmes bearing in mind we live in an  interconnected and technologically driven world where STEM provides a common language for global collaboration and partnerships . As such, STEM skills are essential for countries to remain competitive. By equipping our populations with strong STEM education and skills, African nations can participate in global research and development, attract foreign investment, and position themselves as hubs for innovation and technological advancements. Additionally, the current digital revolution has the potential to leapfrog traditional development pathways and accelerate progress in Africa. 

What makes this College so unique and different ?

What makes the CEAS unique is our intentional and specialized focus on addressing the specific needs and challenges of the African continent. We also have a highly contextualized curriculum that is tailored to the African context and is geared towards contributing positively to the realization of Education 5.0. Our partnerships with industry and Government also make us stand out providing  real-world exposure to our students and enhancing the relevance and applicability of their education.

We also place a high value on diversity with the understanding that each student brings their own experiences, contexts and ways of analyzing problems that all work for the mental enrichment and growth of our young minds. We also strongly believe in community engagement , development and outreach to ensure relevant solutions that place the people whose lives they are meant to improve at the forefront.  The integration of the principles of ethics, integrity, and environmental stewardship into our curricula also  ensures that graduates possess a holistic understanding of their professional responsibilities.

Where do you see the CEAS in the next 5 years?

I see the college continuously focusing  on providing high-quality education, developing innovative academic programs, and building strong partnerships with industry. I see it also focusing on increasing research and development initiatives, attracting and becoming a hub for talented faculty and students to reach their full potential, and expanding our academic offerings to meet the needs of the industry and society.

With a strong commitment to excellence and innovation, the College of Engineering and Applied Science at Africa University will  make a positive impact on the region and beyond.

About Dr. Yogesh Awasthi

Dr. Yogesh Awasthi, the Dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Science, is a visionary leader in the field of computer sciences with  over 21 years’ experience. With  two master’s degrees in Computer Science Engineering and a Doctorate in Computer Science and Information Technology from India. Dr. Awasthi is committed to fostering a culture of excellence, innovation, and inclusivity . Under his stewardship, the College is poised for continued growth and success in the years to come and he will be a true inspiration to students, faculty, and staff alike.