Built environment education and research in West Africa
Laryea, S. (2011) Built environment education and research in West Africa. In: Laryea, S., Leiringer, R. T. F. and Hughes, W. (eds.) Proceedings of the West Africa Built Environment Research (WABER) Conference 2011. West Africa Built Environment Research (WABER) Conference, pp. 203-214. ISBN 9780956606020
Built environment programmes in West African universities; and research contributions from West Africa in six leading international journals and proceedings of the WABER conference are explored. At least 20 universities in the region offer degree programmes in Architecture (86% out of 23 universities); Building (57%); Civil Engineering (67%); Estate Management (52%); Quantity Surveying (52%); Surveying and Geoinformatics (55%); Urban and Regional Planning (67%). The lecturer-student ratio on programmes is around 1:25 compared to the 1:10 benchmark for excellence. Academics who teach on the programmes are clearly research active with some having published papers in leading international journals. There is, however, plenty of scope for improvement particularly at the highest international level. Out of more than 5000 papers published in six leading international peer-reviewed journals since each of them was established, only 23 of the papers have come from West Africa. The 23 papers are published by 28 academics based in 13 universities. Although some academics may publish their work in the plethora of journals that have proliferated in recent years, new generation researchers are encouraged to publish in more established journals. The analyses of 187 publications in the WABER conference proceedings revealed 18 research-active universities. Factors like quality of teaching, research and lecturer-student ratio, etc count in the ranking of universities. The findings lay bare some of the areas that should be addressed to improve the landscape of higher education in West Africa.