Tertiary education institutions in Africa: Cloudy with a chance of GISc education in some countries

Serena Coetzee, Sanet Eksteen


The world is facing many global challenges: climate change, food security, sustainable development and humanitarian assistance after disasters, to name a few. For Africa with its many natural resources, fast increasing population and accelerating economic development, the need for spatial planning and management is vital. Geographic information science (GISc) knowledge and skills are required to facilitate this spatial planning and management, but does Africa have the required tertiary GISc education capacity? In this article, we present and analyse the results of a survey of just over 600 websites of African tertiary education institutions. We searched for modules and degree programmes in geographic information systems (GIS), GISc, surveying, geomatics and remote sensing. To our knowledge, a similar study has not been undertaken. The findings show a number of concerning trends on the continent. GISc is presented at very few tertiary education institutions, and where it is presented, it is often integrated as a module in a degree programme of a related discipline, such as environmental science or geology. There are degree programmes that specialise in GISc, surveying or geomatics, but we could not find any that specialise in remote sensing. The findings also show that the situation with GISc education at tertiary institutions in Africa is ‘cloudy’ because dysfunctional websites make it difficult to find information.

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