Home | 2011 Workshop

Working with the Private Sector
August 18, 2009 – 1:30 p.m.

Presenters: Jerry O’Brien, USAID
JoZell Johnson, Intel Inc.
Myra Gordon and Ike Ehie, Kansas State University

Moderator: Gary Bittner, USAID Office of Education

This session discussed higher education development partnerships with the private sector. The intersection between the business sector, USAID, and universities was investigated. Participants agreed that there is usually a disconnect between the training provided by universities and the skills demanded by the market.

Jerry O’Brien described the intersection between businesses, higher education and development. He stressed how partnerships with the private sector can generate a win-win arrangement for all those involved—businesses, universities and USAID. O’Brien summarized the corporate motivation as: (i) having the opportunity to reach out to the next generation of consumers; (ii) institutionalizing the in-country activities by working closely with universities; and (iii) decreasing operational costs by training and hiring locals to fill high responsibility positions. O’Brien also observed the advantages for higher education institutions, as corporations engage people in research, training program staff, specialized skills and market relevance of the skills of graduates.

JoZell Johnson highlighted Intel’s implementation of higher education programs since 1986 in diverse areas such as technology curriculum, entrepreneurship and research. Technology curriculum is offered free of charge to universities in order to foster market innovation. Entrepreneurship looks at helping the universities to start teamwork by creating interdisciplinary programs. In several emerging markets, families have been willing to invest in their children’s education but not in entrepreneurial activities; thus Intel designed a way to provide the former without detriment to the latter. Johnson also emphasized that Intel partners with local governments and universities in order to foster the next generation of research. By partnering and acting locally, Intel gains acceptance.

Myra Gordon and Ike Ehie presented a two-year partnership between University of Lagos, Nigeria and Kansas State that was dubbed a model of private sector improving business management education in Africa. The partnership tackled a main weakness of the University of Lagos education: the students were being trained in skills not demanded by the market. This partnership was also crucial for updating the faculty’s capacity, and an Advisory Council was created in Lagos for reviewing and revising the curriculum. Local teachers were also deeply involved in the process of redesigning courses. The eventual goal is for Kansas State to pass the whole project to University of Lagos as college leadership is critical.

Key take away points from this session included strategies for achieving a win-win outcome in working with the private sector in higher education development programs. From a development perspective, public/private partnerships have the potential to increase human and institutional capacity, new technologies, and competitiveness. Further, these partnerships, especially with local businesses, can explore ways of strengthening in-country demand and building sustainability.

To view the presentations, please click on link below:
Intel, Johnson : Open
Kansas State University, Ehie : Open
USAID, O'Brien : Open

For questions related to the 2009 Education Workshop,
please contact Rebekah Levi at rlevi@jbsinternational.com