22.- 25.9
2020

P 52

African Universities or Universities in Africa

Dr. Akiiki Babyesiza, Higher Education Research & Consulting, Berlin
Dr. Susanne Ress, Lehrstuhl für Allgemeine Pädagogik, Universität Bamberg

Short abstract:

In this panel we ask whether universities in Africa are actually challenging western notions of higher education or whether western interventions challenge the notion of African universities. We invite papers that discuss consequences and challenges of these external influences on higher education in Africa.

Long abstract:

Since the inception of universities in Europe, scholars have perceived universities as global institutions, dedicated to universal knowledge, with one language of scholars and the mobility of faculty and students. But it was only during colonialism and the massive expansion of the higher education system in the postcolonial era, that the Euro-American university turned into the global model for organizing knowledge production and advanced training. The university in a globalised world is an institution embedded in its immediate and global environment. It has to respond to local and global expectations at the same time. In African countries the global expectations of external actors are not only connected to normative, but also financial power. This poses problems when the expectations and demands of local society and global actors diverge. So the question arises whether universities in African countries are challenging western notions of higher education or whether external western actors, their interventions and influences challenge or hinder the development of African universities that speak to the needs and demands of the societies they are supposed to serve. Furthermore: “What is the purpose of universities? What role should they play in national and international development strategies, and whom should they serve?” Competing higher education policy imperatives, or “management fads in higher education”, trouble notions of nationally-constituted, nationally-funded, and nationally-regulated universities, and call for an exploration of de-nationalized higher education models. What kinds of politics should a public university pursue, and what kinds of knowledge should count? Universities have long been and continue to be key sites of social change in Sub-Saharan African countries. The panel invites papers that discuss the above mentioned questions against the backdrop of a possible African higher education model.

 

 

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