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Universities and economic development in Africa.

Centre for Higher Education Transfromation (CHET) 2011 – Authors: Nico Cloete, Tracy Bailey, Pundy Pillay, Ian Bunting and Peter Maassen

During the post-independence period, every African country has struggled with the vexing issue of the role of higher education in development. While many studies on higher education in Africa deal with this problematic indirectly, very few have actually taken it on directly. It took a consultation and discussion period of almost three years between the Centre for Higher Education Transformation (CHET), senior researchers and the US Partnership for Higher Education in Africa to establish the Higher Education Research and Advocacy Network in Africa (HERANA).

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Accelerating Catch-up. Tertiary Education for Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa.

World Bank 2008

This report argues that if a growth surge is to evolve into a virtuous spiral that stimulates even higher and sustained growth rates in a substantial number of African countries, a significant increase in investment in physical and human capital is needed over an extended period.  See More + This report stresses that there is an urgent need for countries in Sub-Sahara Africa to acquire the capabilities that will spawn new industries that create more productive jobs, multiple linkages, and a wider range of exports. This volume lucidly spells out the case for more knowledge-intensive growth, which demands increasing attention to secondary and, most important, postsecondary education. Despite rising enrollment in tertiary-level institutions, the numbers of students graduating are pitifully small. And despite reform efforts, the quality remains well below par. However, change for the better is in the air, and improved economic prospects provide both the resources and the opportunity to forge ahead. The need for urgency, the pathways to skills-based development, and the policies that African countries can marshal in order to generate tertiary-level skills are all given their due in this thoughtful and timely book. Against a backdrop of changed circumstances, the World Bank recognizes the need to update its understanding of tertiary education in Africa, defines its current views on this matter, and offers technical support on this topic to its collaborating governments and development partners. The present study seeks to fulfill this purpose. It provides a justification for African and donor investments in tertiary education within the context of a globally competitive knowledge economy, and suggests likely focus areas for this financing. But it does not pretend to offer a comprehensive assessment of tertiary education in Africa, an overall agenda for its reform, or a new policy statement by the Bank itself. Rather, the study strives to share contemporary insights and experience regarding the relationship between human resource development and economic growth.

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Trends in Global Higher Education: Tracking an Academic Revolution.

UNESCO 2009 World Conference on Higher Education – Authors: Philip G. Altbach, Liz Reisberg, Laura E. Rumbley

An academic revolution has taken place in higher education in the past half century marked by transformations unprecedented in scope and diversity. Comprehending this ongoing and dynamic process while being in the midst of it is not an easy task. The academic changes of the late 20th and early 21st centuries are more extensive due to their global nature and the number of institutions and people they affect. This report is especially devoted to examining the changes that have taken place since the 1998 UNESCO World Conference on Higher Education. Much of this report is concerned with the ways in which higher education has responded to the challenge of massification. The “logic” of massification is inevitable and includes greater social mobility for a growing segment of the population, new patterns of funding higher education, increasingly diversified higher education systems in most countries, generally an overall lowering of academic standards, and other tendencies.

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Funding higher education: the contribution of economic thinking to debate and policy development.

World Bank 2007 – Author: Woodhall Maureen

A major challenge faced by governments everywhere is the reform of finance of higher education (HE) in response to pressures of rising private demand for HE and heavily constrained public budgets. Recent experience in industrialized, transition and developing economies shows a world-wide trend towards greater reliance on tuition fees and student loans to finance the expansion of HE. This paper examines the influence of economic thinking in the last 20 years on debate and policy on HE finance in selected Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries (including Australia, Sweden, the U.K. and U.S.), transition economies (Hungary) and developing countries (Ethiopia and South Africa). The influence of three economic concepts is discussed in detail: (i) education as a social and private investment (including estimates of rates of return), (ii) cost sharing, and (iii) income-contingent student loans. Economic reasoning, using these three concepts, has had a significant impact on debate and policy on HE finance, but other influences, including politics, administrative and legal issues have also been important in determining outcomes. The paper concludes that economic thinking has made a significant contribution to the formulation and implementation of policy on HE finance, but the influence of politics, administrative, legal, and social policy issues should not be underestimated.

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Differentiation and articulation in tertiary education systems : a study of twelve African countries.

World Bank 2008 – Authors: Njuguna Ng’ethe, George Subotzky, George Afeti

This study strives to sketch an initial map of the extent and nature of institutional and program differentiation within African systems of tertiary education. In doing so, it also seeks to chart the patterns of articulation that have emerged or been consciously put in place between the different institutional types (such as public universities, private universities, polytechnics, training colleges). The analysis of tertiary education differentiation and articulation is based on field visits to a dozen selected African countries. Its purpose is to improve general understanding of this under-researched but strategically important technical aspect of African higher education at a time when it is becoming an important aspect of education policy. African countries display far more differentiation than articulation within their tertiary education systems. Their systems are quite diverse and can be classified as unitary, binary, trinary, semi-differentiated or fully differentiated, depending upon the number of different institutional types that comprise the tertiary system. In general, the polytechnic subsystems appear relatively undifferentiated in comparison to the university sub-systems.

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Costs and financing of higher education in Francophone Africa.

World Bank 2008 – Author: Brossard Mathieu, Foko Borel

This study is a follow-up to the Higher Education for Francophone Africa’s Development Conference, held from June 13 to 15, 2006 in Ouagadougou at the initiative of the World Bank in collaboration with the Government of Burkina Faso, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie. It continues and expands upon discussions that took place during that event. This study includes two sections. The first analyzes the expenditure for the higher education in the countries of French-speaking Africa by adopting a dual comparison approach: (i) chronologically, for the last 15 years, and (ii) inter alia, in particular juxtaposing French-speaking Africa compared to other developing regions. The second part presents financial simulation models in regard to national higher education development plans for the countries of French-speaking Africa.

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Africa-Europe higher education cooperation for development: Meeting regional and global challenges.

European University Association 2010

EUA is part of an international consortium of African and European higher education organisations that has published a White Paper this week outlining a series of recommendations for strengthening higher education cooperation between the two continents, both as a response to global challenges and to contribute to African development.

The publication was launched at the Belgian Senate with an event gathering around 150 European and African education and development stakeholders. It tackles a number of key issues relating to the future of Europe-Africa cooperation in higher education, including the need to develop more sustainable and efficient university partnerships and research collaborations (for example through joint research programmes). It also recommends concrete measures to increase the mobility of European students and staff to Africa, and for reducing ‘brain drain’.

The paper is based on the outcomes and findings of a major two-year (EC-funded) project “Access to Success – Fostering Trust and Exchange between Europe and Africa” which has been led by EUA and the Association of African Universities, with the Flemish Inter-University Council for Development Cooperation, the Norwegian Association of Higher Education Institutions, the European Access Network, and the European Students’ Union.

In an ‘agenda for future action’, it outlines a series of key recommendations for different groups of stakeholders, including governments, universities, development agencies, and the European and African Unions’ respective Commissions.

These recommendations will be timely, given the upcoming 3rd Africa-EU Summit (taking place on 29-30 November 2010 in Libya) and the various initiatives launched in the framework of the Africa-EU strategic partnership.

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