Tag: African HE

On the move towards research-led universities – Meeting of the HERANA project discusses institutional change in African flagship universities

This guest entry is written by Jens Jungblut and summarises some of the key activities at a recent HERANA workshop in Cape Town. Jens is currently a post-doctoral researcher at INCHER, University of Kassel. 

From November 20 until November 24 the Center for Higher Education Trust (CHET) organized a workshop in the context of the HERANA research project in Cape Town. During this meeting representatives of seven flagship universities from different Sub-Saharan African countries discussed together with a group of international experts the institutional developments of the different universities on their road to becoming research-led universities.

HERANA workshop participants

The workshop started out with a presentation of the activities of CHET by its director Nico Cloete, which was followed by a short lecture from Peter Maassen, professor of higher education at the Department of Education at the University of Oslo, who presented findings from a research project that investigated the characteristics of research flagship universities in Europe highlighting commonalities but also differences between several successful institutions. Afterwards, Åse Gornitzka, professor of political science at the University of Oslo, discussed organizational change processes in higher education with an emphasis on explanations from organizational theories why change processes can be slow, unpredictable and sometimes even fail. Professor Leo Goedegebuure, director at the LH Martin Institute in Melbourne, presented to the participants recent developments in higher education in South-East Asia and offered some conclusions on institutional factors that allowed some universities in Asia to strengthen their research function and catch up with global developments. His presentation was followed by a reflection from Fred Hayward on his work during the last years for USAID supporting the reform of higher education in Afghanistan in which he also highlighted some common challenges between Africa and Afghanistan.

Call for papers: Higher education partnership trends and policy issues between African and European higher education institutions

bigsasThe Workgroup “Higher Education and Society in Africa” is organising a conference at Bayreuth International Graduate School of African Studies (BIGSAS), University of Bayreuth on 3–4 November 2016. The conference is themed: “Higher Education Partnership Trends and Policy Issues between African and European Higher Education Institutions

Trends in institutional partnership in higher education have shown tremendous growth in the past three decades. The conference aims to stimulate academic discussion on trends and key issues in higher education cooperation between European and African universities pointing to pressing important policy and practical issues. Are there patterns of higher education partnership among African and European universities and how do such patterns evolve overtime? What are the current debates on internationalization strategies between Africa and Europe and the circulation of knowledge in individual and institutional partnerships between the continents? Which insights can be drawn from various case studies of higher education partnerships schemes? Read more about the conference theme here (pdf)

The conference is organised around five themes: 

  • Trends in higher education partnership between African and European universities
  • Policy and practical issues on joint programs, student and staff mobility and research collaboration among African and European universities
  • Strategies in higher education partnership and internationalization
  • Case studies on higher education collaboration among African and European universities
  • Practical challenges and opportunities in higher education collaboration among African and European universities – student mobility, join programs, harmonization strategies etc.

Abstracts deadline: 10th of June 2016. 

Read more about how to submit your abstract and the guideliens here. 

Tuning project in Africa

tuning africaTuning Africa

Tuning Africa was launched as a cooperation project between the EU and African Union. Following the 2007 Joint Strategy, a process was initiated to create more compatible structures and systems of higher education across the African continent.

Phase I had its aims to create a “collaborative, consultative process involving academics working in subject groups with employers and other stakeholders in curriculum development to enhance student competences”. The first phase period was 18 months, and 5 subject areas were in focus.The project has now entered Phase II where additional subject area will be examined, among others also higher education management. In October 2015, the first general meeting as held, collecting participants from over 100 universities in 42 African countries.

The “Tuning” methodology originates from Europe, and was initiated in 2000 as a process to follow up the objectives of the Bologna Process and Lisbon Strategy. The aim is to create cross-national points of reference and common understanding in specific subject area levels.

Developing a post-graduate programme in Higher Education Management

As part of the Tuning and Harmonization of HE Initiative supported by the African Union and European Commission there is a process to develop a Post-Graduate Programme in Higher Education Management. The developers are kindly inviting friends and colleagues in this forum to participate in a survey that involves students, academics, employers and graduates interested/concerned in HE to provide their opinions on the proposed generic and specific competencies for the Programme.

If you wish to contribute to the development of the programme, view the survey here. The survey takes approximately 20 mins. 

Book review: Higher Education in Africa: Crises, Reforms and Transformation

Sintayehu Kassaye Alemu (University of Ljubljana)

Sintayehu Kassaye Alemu
(University of Ljubljana)

This book review is written by Sintayehu Kassaye Alemu, a Hedda master graduate who is currently undertaking his doctoral studies at the Center for Educational Policy Studies (CEPS) at University of Ljubljana as a part of the UNIKE project. Earlier, he has studied history at Addis Abbaba University, and obtained a MA degree in general education at Umea University in Sweden. His PhD project is titled: ‘’A Comparative Analysis of Practices and Impacts of Internationalization of Higher Education on the Academic life in the Centers and Peripheries’. 

In this review, he reviews the book by N’dri T. Assié-Lumumba, titled “Higher Education in Africa: Crises, Reforms and Transformation” (2005). arton962-9f7bc

Significance and organization of the book

This book is imperative for the fact that it deals with the complexities of higher education in the region of Africa. It convenes and confers the historical background of higher learning, the complex problems, their causes, and possible solutions for the African higher education. Chapter one  discusses the origin and mission of African universities, chapter two deals with cultural colonialism and its cultural effects, chapter three explains the crisis of higher education, the consequences of crisis and the need for change, chapter four clarifies the waves of reforms and recent innovation, chapter five is about new challenges with in the global and local objective conditions, and the last chapter elucidates the need for structural changes, transformation, and localisation of higher education. Methodologically, the book is developed on the review of related literature purposely African related.

This book tries to examine the historical development of indigenous higher education in Africa. N’dri T. Assie-Lumumba  describes how this indigenous academic institution had been interrupted and replaced by the colonial higher education systems and institutions. The author critically explains the complexity, diversity, and multi-dimensionality of the African higher education/university crises and its socio-economic, political, and cultural implications, and the need for a positive and constructive reform towards the indigenization and transformation of the higher education institutions in Africa.

Hedda podcast: Doctoral education in Africa and the challenges for scientific growth in the Region

moutonEpisode 46 of our podcast series features Johann Mouton (CREST, Stellenbosch University). In the podcast he talks about doctoral production in Africa and the challenges for the scientific growth of the region, including the role of the Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology and opportunities for PHD positions in Higher Education in South Africa.


Listen without the Flashplayer

Johann Mouton is Professor in and Director of the Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology at Stellenbosch University and the African Doctoral Academy. He is also the Programme Director of five post-graduate programmes in Monitoring and Evaluation Studies and Science and Technology Studies. He is on the editorial board of 6 international journals including the International Journal of Research Methodology, the Journal of Mixed Methods Research, Science and Public Policy, Science, Technology and Society and Minerva. He received two prizes from the Academy for Science and Arts in South Africa including one for his contribution to the promotion of research methodology in South Africa. In 2012 he was elected to the Council of the Academy of Science of South Africa. His main research interests are the philosophy and methodology of the social sciences, higher education knowledge production, sociology of science, scientometrics and science policy studies

Call for Papers: Perspectives on Higher Education and International Collaboration in Africa and beyond

futureafricaThe African Studies Association in Germany (VAD) is holding a conference in June 11-14, 2014 in Bayreuth University in Germany, titled “Future Africa”.

The conference features 46 panels on various issues related to Africa. Amongst these, panel 28 is themed “Global Ideas and Local Strategies for the Future: Perspectives on Higher Education and International Collaboration in Africa and beyond“. The panel is coordinated by Dr. Christine Scherer, Emnet Tadesse Woldegeorgis and Akiiki Babyesiza from Bayreuth International Graduate School of African Studies.

The coordinators outline the main purpose of the panel as: “The panel examines recent developments in higher education in Africa within the context of globalisation and internationalisation. It welcomes papers that offer theoretical perspectives on institutional and national strategies to cope with global reform trends as well as papers that offer ideas and visions for the future, specifically on international collaboration and knowledge transfer in teaching, research and governance between African higher education institutions and with higher education institutions in other parts of the world. Papers should address the question how innovative ideas are used to position African higher education institutions for the future.”

Download the call of papers here (pdf)

Abstract deadline: 17th of November 2013. Read more about how to submit your abstract on the conference website.

All of the students failed university admission exams in Liberia?

Map of Liberia (Source: Oona Räisänen)

Map of Liberia
(Source: Oona Räisänen)

BBC is reporting that in one of the two state run Liberian universities, all (!) of the students failed at the university admission exam.

Current Liberian president, the Nobel prize winning Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has frequently made statements regarding issues in the Liberian educational system. She sees the educational system as a key aspect for the nation’s future wellbeing and success:at the end of the day, if you do not have an educated population, we will be unable to build the national capacities of our young people“, and she has called for a total overhaul of the system.

The BBC correspondent for the current case has observed that “schools lack basic education material and teachers are poorly qualified“. However, one could argue that even in that context, there should be at least some percentage of students who would have the basic capacities to successfully complete the admission exams?

Well, the case of Liberia now – none. According to BBC, the university official said that the students lacked enthusiasm and English language skills, and they have made clear they would not be moved from their decision on this. Furthermore, they also argued that it is the government who now has to do something.

Less clear is what exactly the government can do in this context. After the bloody civil war  that destroyed much of the current educational system, there is still much of the basic infrastructure that needs to be set in place.

Student blogger: Potential pathways towards more diversified funding in Ghana

Palmah A. Howusu

Palmah A. Howusu

This guest entry is written by Palmah A. Howusu who is now a second year Master student at the Hedda Master Programme in Higher Education. Palmah is from Ghana and has earlier worked as a teacher in Ghana for over ten years. Furthermore, she holds a bachelors degree in Psychology. In this entry, she writes about the  problems with current funding system in Ghana and suggest some potential alternative solutions to diversify funding of higher education in Ghana. 

Governments all over the world are finding it difficult to continue funding higher education and Africa is the most affected since the majority of her support is from donor countries. This makes the questions of how to diversify university funding especially important.

In Ghana, higher education consists of eight universities, ten polytechnics and other professional institutions. Admission into higher education institutions is determined by students’ performance at the Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination (SSSCE). Higher education was traditionally free in Ghana and qualified students were entitled to free boarding and lodging. Nevertheless, the trend has changed in the past 30 years as the government has not been able to meet the financial needs of the modern university hence reducing its subsidies. The government considered several steps towards adjusting the financial structure of the higher education system: public-private partnership, increasing the number of public universities, and in 1997, cost sharing was introduced.

Financing of higher education was divided between the Government (70 per cent) and the remaining 30 percent was divided among three sources (university internally generated revenue, students’ tuition fees and private donations). Academic facility user fees of ($60-$220), residential facility user fees and hall dues were $130 and $25 respectively in 2011/2012 academic year. These fees were introduced at a minimal level but are being increased as the years go by. Consequently, students who were living in university housing pay both while those off campuses pay non-residential facility user fees of about $19. Though it is only 10% of the total university cost that was shifted to students and parents, many people were not in favour of cost sharing leading to students’ riots in the 90s. However, by now the fees are seen as a ‘necessary evil’.

NOMA: Emerging scholars on African higher education

Recently, we posted lecture recordings from the NOMA summer school. The NOMA programme is a cooperation project between University Western Cape, University of Oslo, Eduardo Mondlane University and CHET.

However, as a cooperation programme, NOMA has also facilitated the emergence of a new set of young scholars in Africa, a whole continent and context that has previously been underrepresented in research on higher education world wide. In this post, we would like to introduce some of these scholars and their backgrounds:

dr. Gerald Ouma

dr. Gerald Ouma

Gerald Ouma (PhD) has published in Higher Education Studies, the most prestigious journal in higher education studies, he has been appointed Associate Professor at the University of the Western Cape (UWC), and he coordinates the new School (Institute) of Post‐School Studies at UWC (the only such faculty in Africa that will address post‐secondary education). In 2012 he served on the Funding Review Committee, and contributed to the Minster of Higher Education’s Funding Review report that will be released soon.

Dr. Patricio Langa

Dr. Patricio Langa

Patricio Langa (PhD) is publishing a book on Portuguese higher education in Africa, has established the first joint Masters degree in Education at Eduardo (with the University of Oslo and UWC), is the new Deputy‐ Director of the HE Quality Committee of Mozambique and is coordinating the new strategic plan for Eduardo Mondlane University. He is also the Director of the Sociological Association of Mozambique and of an NGO focusing on higher studies in Mozambique. He and Francois have jointly set up a publishing NGO in Mozambique.

Dr. Thierry Luescher-Mamashela

Dr. Thierry Luescher-Mamashela

Thierry Luescher‐Mamashela (PhD) is well represented on the HERANA publication list with several publication including a book, journal articles and articles in the media. Thierry has become part of the Global Research University Network on the Student Experience and has been doing student leadership development across the country.

Guest blogger: From Massification to Quality Assurance in Ethiopia

Ayenachew Aseffa Woldegiyorgis

Ayenachew Aseffa Woldegiyorgis

In this guest entry, Ayenachew Aseffa Woldegiyorgis examines recent change of focus in Ethiopian higher education, where after decades of focusing on expansion, concerns of quality have become high on the agenda.

Ayenachew has studied Management and Masters of Public Administration (MPA). For over eight years he has taught at Unity University and Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia. Currently he is a student of Masters in Research and Innovation in Higher Education (MARIHE) at Danube University (Austria), University of Tampere (Finland), Beijing Normal University (China) and University of Osnabruck (Germany). 

The past fifteen years are marked by a massive expansion in the Ethiopian higher education (HE). The number of public universities increased from just two by the end of 1990s to 32 in 2013. Total enrollment has increased from 42,132 in 1996/97 to 319,217 in 2010/11 and it is targeted to reach 467,445 by 2014/15 (MOE, 2005; 2010a). Yet, as much as it is hailed for its success in the massification, the government has been equally criticized for immensely neglecting quality. Recently the government has admitted to this  problem and declared that it has redirected its attention from expansion to quality assurance.

Ethiopia’s quality endeavor is now faced with a complicated set of challenges and requires a well thought out, comprehensive strategy and strong commitment. On one hand, the issue of quality has been long neglected implying that the problem has accrued over the years and the reform effort has to begin from almost zero. On the other hand, the very nature of quality assurance in HE is complex and demands multidimensional and concurrent attention on the various determinants. The overall strategy for quality should focus on (but not be limited to) the following major and interdependent challenges, each one of which can be further analyzed in greater detail.