Day three – Friday 29 July

Ministerial panel discussion


The Hon Dr Becky R K Ndjoze-Ojo MP, Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Training and Innovation, Namibia

Coming soon

The Hon Dr Rebecca Kapitire Ndjoze-Ojo has been a member of Namibia's National Assembly and Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Training and Innovation since 2005. An educator by profession, she was a high school teacher in Windhoek, Namibia, prior to studying and teaching at Ahmadu Bello University, Nigeria. She returned to Namibia in 1996 and began working for the University of Namibia's language department, which is her specialisation. An expert on language policy, she has promoted the use of Namibia's indigenous languages in education.

The Hon Dr Fred Okeng'o Matiang'i, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Kenya

Coming soon

The Hon Dr Fred Okeng'o Matiang'i was appointed Cabinet Secretary for Education in Kenya in 2015. Prior to his appointment, he was the SUNY (State University of New York) Centre for International Development Liaison in East Africa, and held research and programme implementation positions in various civil society organisations in Kenya. He has conducted research and training for the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, the Parliaments of Ethiopia and Uganda, and the East African Legislative Assembly.

The Hon Prof Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang, Minister for Education, Ghana

Naana Jane Opoku-Agyeman

The Hon Prof Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang was appointed Ghana's Minister for Education in 2013. She was previously Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cape Coast – the first female head of a state university in Ghana. She spent her academic career at Cape Coast and held various academic positions, including Head of the Department of English, Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Dean of the Board of Graduate Studies, and founding Dean of the School of Graduate Studies and Research. She is a Member of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences.

The Rt Hon Patricia Scotland QC, Secretary-General, Commonwealth

Baroness Scotland

The Rt Hon Patricia Scotland QC became the sixth Commonwealth Secretary-General in April 2016. She was born in Dominica and grew up in the UK. She trained as a lawyer, and was the first black woman and the youngest woman to be appointed a Queen's Counsel in 1991. She joined the UK House of Lords in 1997, going on to serve as a minister in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Home Office, and Lord Chancellor's Department. Baroness Scotland was appointed Attorney General for England and Wales in 2007, and Prime Ministerial Trade Envoy to South Africa in 2012. Her other offices include Chancellor of the University of Greenwich, and Patron of the Corporate Alliance Against Domestic Violence and the Caribbean Science Foundation.

The ACU: report and future agenda


Dr John Kirkland

John KirklandDr John Kirkland OBE is Deputy Secretary General of the Association of Commonwealth Universities. He also serves as Executive Secretary of the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the UK, the Marshall Aid Commemoration Commission, and the Chevening Secretariat – the UK government’s three main international scholarship schemes. John has 25 years’ experience of higher education management at a senior level, in both developed and developing country contexts. His particular interests include universities and international development, the management of university research, capacity building, and staff and student mobility.

Conference debate


'This house believes that society expects too much of higher education'

Continuing a tradition established at the ACU Centenary Conference in 2013, the 2016 ACU Conference of University Leaders will conclude with a 'grand debate'. The debate will give those attending the opportunity to discuss one of the major topics facing universities globally: how can institutions meet increasing expectations from key stakeholder groups?

Rising expectations can be seen as a sign of confidence in the potential of universities to change lives, but they also bring challenges. Higher education has expanded rapidly in many countries, but new generations of students expect it to deliver increased career opportunities. The range of bodies that fund university research is increasing, but so is donors' interest in the impact of their investment. At the same time, governments expect universities to deliver benefits ranging from increasing social mobility, to countering extremist political views, to ensuring economic growth.

Can universities deliver on these demands – or is the increasing weight of expectation a long-term threat?

Delegates and guests will be invited to address this question in contributions of no longer than three minutes. This limit will be strictly enforced, to ensure the maximum number and diversity of contributions. Proposers and seconders of the motion, and those opposing it, will be allowed periods of eight and five minutes respectively.

Chair: Prof Jan Thomas

Prof Jan Thomas

Prof Jan Thomas is Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Southern Queensland, Australia. Prior to this, she was Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Notre Dame Australia from 2010-2012, and Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Murdoch University, Australia, from 2003-2010. She is Chair of the ACU Council and of the Regional Universities Network, and Chairperson of the State Library Board of Queensland. Prof Thomas is a strong advocate for the transformative role of education, both as a mechanism for social justice and as a key driver for national productivity and innovation.

Co-hosted by

Vice Chancellors' Ghana

Sponsored by


Advanced Secure Technologies

Tailor & Francis

National Research Foundation


University of Ghana

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