Prof. Liezel Frick reviews Going to University in the Journal of Student Affairs in Africa (JSAA): “Going to University: The influence of Higher Education on the lives of young South Africans (Case, Marshall, McKenna & Mogashana, 2017) provides a much-needed reason for hope and respite amidst the turmoil. […] The contribution of Going to University forces the reader to (re-)consider the current university sector’s potential to nurture the creative potential of students, which requires time, resources and space for more flexible programme structures, improved student support structures, an investment in developing creative higher education pedagogies, as well as research that may not have an immediate and applied impact.”
Read the full review here.
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
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
African university libraries and presses (‘knowledge disseminators’) need to rethink the ways in which they communicate and share resources in the digital age. In the face of declining government funding and donor fatigue, it is critical that knowledge disseminators work together to adapt and to find creative solutions to a rapidly changing environment.
This was the message delivered to delegates at the Reinventing African Libraries conference, held at the University of Johannesburg from 20-21 September. Using anonymised data from African Minds communications, Dr Warren reported that it was exceptionally difficult to establish contact with African knowledge disseminators, and that a new communications network would contribute to increased resource sharing and skills building. read more