In a recent review of The Delusion of Knowledge Transfer, Mark Paterson expertly summed up of the role of donor funding, capacity development and governments in African Higher education:
Indeed, as a new study published by African Minds has revealed, broken, inadequate relationships between national governments and their local academic communities can undermine independent, democratic policy-making, leaving states prey to the agendas of foreign powers
In worst-case scenarios, foreign donors — despite their proclaimed intentions — can effectively take over national policymaking in young democracies such as South Africa and Tanzania, say German social scientists Susanne Koch and Peter Weingart. In their exploration of how the technocrats who are tied to foreign aid packages can influence government plans, they found that, without sufficient financial clout, administrative capacity and the support of a strong local academic community, governments can be rendered quite helpless in the face of imported policy prescriptions, with disastrous results. read more
“Overall this is an excellent publication, one that most people will want to read. It shows why the knowledge production functions were not developed historically in sub-Saharan Africa, and lays out what needs to be done to get them moving, with data based on evidence. It presents especially rich and very relevant material which I have found extremely useful, as will others. As someone who has done a great deal of quantitative analysis, including survey research, and has worked on the international collection of university data, I know how very difficult it is to collect accurate and useful data of this kind. The HERANA group and CHET are to be congratulated on the care and time they took in preparing this study, gathering and checking the data, and presenting it in this book. The study breaks new ground, is a major contribution to our understanding of higher education in sub-Saharan Africa and will significantly reward the reader’s attention.” Fred Hayward, South African Journal of Science 111(9/10). http://dx.doi. org/10.17159/sajs.2015/a0120
A review of Student Politics in Africa: Representation and Activism in the journal PERIPHERIE: Politik – Ökonomie – Kultur commends the volume for the array of themes relevant to contemporary debates in African higher education. According to the reviewer, Anna Deutschmann, Student Politics in Africa is a valuable contribution to the field, and lays the groundwork for further studies.
Read the review (in German).
In a review published in the journal Africa (86/2), Jonathan Harle writes of Knowledge Production and Contradictory Functions in African Higher Education:
[Its] commitment to painstaking data gathering (working to improve university data collection systems as the project proceeded) […] marks out both this collection and the eight years of work by the Higher Education Research and Advocacy Network in Africa (HERANA) that underpin it. […] The book’s examination of the different ways in which universities can and do play a developmental role is its particular strength. read more
A new title by African Minds, North-South Knowledge Networks: Towards Equitable Collaboration Between Academics, Donors and Universities, was launched on 9 February 2017 at a seminar of the same name held at the University of Cape Town. Presentations from contributors to the book were delivered by John Higgins on the absence of curiousity-driven research in South African higher education policy, by Suren Pillay on the role of funders and funding in supporting research in the humanities and the social sciences in Africa, and by Tor Halvorsen on the impact of neoliberal policies on knowledge creation. Supplementary presentations by Ole Olsen, Chris Tapscott, Francois van Schalkwyk and Mary Ralphs all contributed to lively discussions on how to promote equitable cooperation in research. read more
Knowledge Production and Contradictory Functions in African Higher Education one of HESA’s Books of the Year
In an article on the best books related to higher education published in 2016, Alex Usher, President of Higher Education Strategy Associates (HESA) and Editor-in-Chief of Global Higher Education Strategy Monitor, praised Knowledge Production and Contradictory Functions in African Higher Education for being a “quite excellent work which almost no one in North America has read or will read”. He goes on to say that it is “best book to come out of any ‘developing country’ on higher education in the last five years”. As always, we’re pleased to work with authors and editors producing such great scholarship. read more