A recent study by the Consortium for Advanced Research Training in Africa (CARTA) paints a gloomy picture of the state of alumni and career tracking in Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria and Malawi. CARTA aims to build a vibrant, productive African academy and a critical mass of effective researchers.
Our study found that universities in these countries have a dearth of consistent, systematic mechanisms for tracking their graduates. They don’t know where their graduates go, what they’re doing or how they’re using their training and skills. Nor do they know what advice their alumni might have to improve their alma maters. They have limited knowledge about who might be a position to fund raise or mobilise others to donate.
These findings, and feedback from African universities that are tracking their graduates, suggest that there’s an important gap to be filled. If universities create large, comprehensive alumni databases, these could be mined to improve individual institutions’ work and decision making. It could also feed into higher education policies at national level.