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In what ways does access to undergraduate education have a transformative impact on people and societies? What conditions are required for this impact to occur? What are the pathways from an undergraduate education to the public good, including inclusive economic development? These questions have particular resonance in the South African higher education context, which is attempting to tackle the challenges of widening access and improving completion rates in in a system in which the segregations of the apartheid years are still apparent.
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This accessible book brings together the rich life stories of 73 young people, six years after they began their university studies. It traces how going to university influences not only their employment options, but also nurtures the agency needed to chart their own way and to engage critically with the world around them. The book offers deep insights into the ways in which public higher education is both a private and public good, and it provides significant conclusions pertinent to anyone who works in – and cares about – universities.
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The second volume of the African Higher Education Dynamics Series brings together the research of an international network of higher education scholars with interest in higher education and student politics in Africa. Most authors are early career academics who teach and conduct research in universities across the continent and came together for a research project, and related workshops and a symposium on student representation in African higher education governance.
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Currently, Africa has more than half of the 20 fastest-growing economies in the world, which has contributed to what has been called the era of ‘Africa Rising’ or a ‘New Africa’. In order to further strengthen socio-economic development, African universities need to improve their ability to produce and apply knowledge in effective and relevant ways. In OECD countries there are several public and private sites for knowledge production, but in Africa the university is the only knowledge institution, and hardly any knowledge is produced outside of the university.