Working paper: Supporting tertiary education, enhancing economic development

The crucial function of higher education in the knowledge economy has been the object of various empirical demonstrations that succeeded in showing a strong correlation between higher education and GDP growth, through human capital development and technology diffusion. Nevertheless, a large number of factors can influence and limit higher education benefits such as countries’ macro-economic structure, the given function of higher education in national poverty reduction strategies, the degree of universities independence and their responsiveness to local needs. In Sub-Saharan Africa a variety of inter- national donors support tertiary education, emphasising or neglecting certain aspects depending on their nature and ultimate goals. In spite of their attempt of redefining cooperation paradigms, strengthening partnerships and improving projects sustainability, the issues of academic freedom, shared value definition or actions coordination and cohesiveness are still far to be achieved and sometimes addressed. This paper argues that international donors need to take the risk of exploring new solutions, following the paths that are being tracked by African scholars.

Promosso da ISPI and Fondazione Edu

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