Prof. Yambayamba: Time for HEIs to adopt PBL

The Chair of PBL-BioAfrica’s Board, delivered a keynote address on operationalising PBL at RUFORUM’s Triennial Conference in Benin. The ideas behind PBL-BioAfrica raised enthusiasm and support among Deans and Principles across Africa.


Text Professor Kavwanga E.S. Yambayamba, PhD


I attended the Seventh African Higher Education Week and RUFORUM Triennial Conference, 5th to 10th December 2021, under the theme Operationalising Higher Education for Innovation, Industrialization, Inclusion and Sustainable Economic Development in Africa: A Call for Action. On 5th December 2021, I delivered a keynote address to more than 50 Deans and Principals on Operationalising Problem-Based Learning (PBL) in Agricultural Education and Training. The Deans and Principals came from different universities across the African continent.


The principal message in my address was that the conventional teacher-centred approach in universities concentrates on the input of the lecturer rather than on the outcomes on the part of the learner. Consequently, a graduate produced from such a system is mainly a job seeker rather than a job creator. Such a graduate does not possess critical thinking and hence, his contribution to the economy is minimal. Given this scenario, it is time for higher learning institutions to adopt the problem-based learning approach in which the learners are active participants in the learning process. Such an approach would produce a competent graduate who possesses the knowledge, skill and the right attitude.


Following the presentation, there was a lot of enthusiasm and good discussion. It was evident that there was buy-in from the Deans and Principals. An ad hoc committee was appointed to reformulate RUFORUM’s “Theory of Change” among other things. My presentation and the project PBL-BioAfrica were considered favourably in the Committee’s discussion.