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Higher Education

, Volume 47, Issue 1, pp 21–50 | Cite as

African higher education: Challenges for the 21st century

  • Damtew Teferra
  • Philip G. Altbachl
Article

Abstract

African higher education, atthe beginning of the new millennium, facesunprecedented challenges. Not only is thedemand for access unstoppable, especially inthe context of Africa's traditionally lowpostsecondary attendance levels, but highereducation is recognized as a key force formodernization and development. Africa'sacademic institutions face obstacles inproviding the education, research, and serviceneeded if the continent is to advance.Generalizing about a continent as large anddiverse as Africa is difficult. Yet there aresome common elements – and there are certainlysome common challenges. In our discussion, weare not generally optimistic either inanalyzing the current reality in much of Africaor in pointing to future prospects. The fact isthat African universities currently function invery difficult circumstances, both in terms ofthe social, economic, and political problemsfacing the continent and in the context ofglobalization, and the road to future successwill not be an easy one.

Based on Africa-wide research, this articlediscusses such topics as access to highereducation, the challenges of funding, thegrowing role of private higher educationinstitutions in Africa, governance andautonomy, management challenges, gender(including the access of women to highereducation and the problems faced by womenstudents and academic staff), the role ofresearch and the problems of scholarlycommunication, language issues, and the braindrain. These issues are at the heart ofAfrica's future academic development.

academic freedom access Africa brain drain funding and finance gender language private higher education student acivism 

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Damtew Teferra
    • 1
  • Philip G. Altbachl
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for International Higher Education, Campion HallBoston CollegeUSA

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