Higher Education

, Volume 77, Issue 2, pp 323–342 | Cite as

Negotiating the marketization of higher education in East Africa: a comparative analysis of Tanzania and Kenya

  • Olivier ProviniEmail author


Since the 2000s, the literature on the ongoing higher education reforms in Africa has been increasing. The scientific discussion converges in an implicit and recurrent argument about the drivers of these policies. Given the involvement of international experts in the policy design, university reforms are often described as the output of the incentives of international stakeholders and the representatives of international organizations. The aim of this paper is to add a new variable to understand higher education reforms in East Africa, which has been neglected by scholars. In fact, the article sheds light on the determining role of domestic actors in the (re)negotiation of policy processes in Tanzania and Kenya, especially administrative and academic staff and students. Rather than evaluating the success or the failure of the reforms, this paper aims to highlight the power plays between a various set of domestic actors who reshape the outcomes of higher education policies. The paper crosses the experiences from the reform processes of the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania and the University of Nairobi in Kenya.


Higher education Policy analysis Domestic actors Tanzania Postsocialism Kenya Neopatrimonialism 



I would like to thank Sina Schlimmer who provided very important scientific feedback, constructive comments, and advices during the writing process. I would also like to express my gratitude to the insightful and constructive comments of the reviewers.

Funding information

This research was financially supported by the IFRA (French Institute for Research in Africa, Nairobi) from 2011 to 2013.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of La ReunionSaint-Denis Cedex 9France

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