In June 2016, the Norwegian Programme for Capacity Development in Higher Education and Research for Development (Norhed) hosted a conference on the theme of ‘knowledge for development’ in an attempt to shift the focus of the programme towards its academic content. This book follows up on that event.
The conference highlighted the usefulness of presenting the value of Norhed’s different projects to the world, showing how they improve knowledge and expand access to it through co-operation. A wish for more meta-knowledge was also expressed and this gives rise to the following questions:
- Is this way of co-operating contributing to the growth of independent post-colonial knowledge production in the South, based on analyses of local data and experiences in ways that are relevant to our shared future?
- Does the growth of academic independence, as well as greater equality, and the ability to develop theories different to those imposed by the better-off parts of the world, give rise to deeper understandings and better explanations?
- Does it, at least, spread the ability to translate existing methodologies in ways that add meaning to observations of local context and data, and thus enhance the relevance and influence of the academic profession locally and internationally?
This book, in its varied contributions, does not provide definite answers to these questions but it does show that Norhed is a step in the right direction. Norhed is an attempt to fund collaboration within and between higher education institutions. We know that both the uniqueness of this programme, and ideas of how to better utilise the learning and experience emerging from it, call for more elaboration and broader dissemination before we can offer further guidance on how to do things better. This book is a first attempt.