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Challenges facing African universities: selected issues

Sawyerr, Akilagpa

African universities have shared fully in the substantial ferment to which the world of higher education has been subject over the past two decades and more. The causes of this ferment lie in transformations in political economy at both the global and local levels, in factors shaping the world of knowledge generation and application more particularly, as well as in specific economic and social demands of the national and local communities in which universities are situated. This account of the challenges facing Africa’s universities will, therefore, be approached from the perspective that as they, like others the world over, struggle to reposition themselves in the changing conditions the strategies they adopt must take full account of these multiple transformations. Thus, a brief review of the relevant global and local factors will set the scene for a survey of some of the key challenges confronting the university sector on the continent, and the approaches adopted for dealing with them. From the years immediately following the attainment of political independence in most African countries, the typically young and small university sector was invested with high national aspirations and supported from public resources. The situation is a good deal more problematic today, with reduced levels of public funding for a hugely expanded and diversified sector, and a questioning of the mission and mandate, the character, and the proper place of the sector, its institutions and their products in society. The author includes tables and figures which indicate levels of student enrolment and adult literacy rates against the onset of political independence.   

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Document Title: Challenges facing African universities: selected issues
Journal: African Studies Review
Volume: 47
Issue: 1
No. of Pages: 1-59

Document Type:Journal Article (Peer Reviewed)
Subject Area:National Systems and Comparative Studies
Country:African Continent
Keywords:Universities, Survey, Transformation,Challenges, Political Economy, Knowledge Production, Knowledge Management, Globalisation and Higher Education, Social Development, Information & Communication Technology ICT, Higher Education and the State, Access to Higher Education, Private Higher Education, Public Good

File Size:386 KB
Date Added:05 February 2007

Sawyerr, Akilagpa (2004). Challenges facing African universities: selected issues, African Studies Review,47( 1 ): 1-59