CGHE webinar series on HE and geopolitics

The homogenization of African Higher Education: The Association of African Universities (AAU), institutional partnerships and educational governance

Date: Tuesday, 16 July 2024 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Location: All times BST. Zoom, registration required
Speaker(s):
  • David Kyei-Nuamah, East China Normal University, Shanghai

Across Africa, non-governmental organizations are helping define the shape of the continent’s Higher Education (HE) system. This 12 month study of a key voice of African HE explored the role of the Association of African Universities (AAU) and its norms and values in promoting change. The research included in-depth interviews with the Secretary-General and other high-ranking officials of AAU, as well as documentary analysis. A second round of interviews featured 9 Vice and Pro-Vice Chancellors of Universities in East, West, North, and South Africa. The study identified that the AAU’s promotion of ‘sustainable partnerships’ is homogenizing higher education policy provision across Africa despite a commitment to diversity and local innovation. Although the organisation faced funding problems and challenges of covering the continent, this ‘new’ AAU is partnering African Universities with other universities outside the region, creating regional and overseas offices to promote its governance reach, building up the Africa’s researchers’ hub for collaborations, giving visibility to researcher’s work for funding opportunities and consciously creating online and offline training programs for education quality assurance. The interview findings confirm the powerful influence of AAU in promoting partnerships and what the organisation calls a ‘favourable policy environment’, whilst highlighting the challenges of internet bandwidth, funding, and policy reach.

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