Volume 7 Issue 2 (2018)

Reflections on the Historical Antecedents to Revitalize Higher Education Research in Africa

pp. 123-139  |  Published Online: June 2018  |  DOI: 10.22521/edupij.2018.72.3

Daniel Sidney Fussy


A vibrant higher education sector is a cornerstone to the production and application of cutting-edge knowledge and human resources relevant to spearheading socioeconomic development. While this is true, Africa has a discouraging performance in research, as compared with other world regions. In raising its research performance, Africa is now receiving considerable attention to revitalize its higher education sector from both global and local forces. In a bid to enhance success of different local and global interventions that Africa is currently receiving, it is imperative to revisit the past to comprehend what has made Africa’s higher education research be where it is today. Informed by the postcolonial theory, this paper seeks to establish the historical antecedents that have undermined the development of research in Africa. Several antecedents are established including the role of colonial higher education policies, incompatible supranational donor policies, unstable political landscape, interrupted academic freedom and autonomy, and unfamiliar language of academic, research and scholarly communication. The paper argues that any initiative that aimed at revitalizing research in Africa should place the present higher education research doldrums in its wider sociohistorical context where Africa’s higher education sector had been hindered for decades by challenges, as discussed in this paper.

Keywords: knowledge production, higher education, supranational organizations, postcolonial theory, African universities


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