IIE Networker - Fall 2008 - (Page 14)

Feature The International Dimens Status, Challenges, and Prospects in Africa By Damtew Teferra Higher education in Africa is an international enterprise. Even the most parochial higher education institutions exhibit their international dimension in the language of instruction; by the books, journals and other published resources they utilize; by the methodologies they pursue; and/or by the resources they deploy. African higher education is part of the larger global higher education system, albeit a much smaller player. as excess. While the Bank had an influential hand, impacting higher education by excessive involvement in defining the policy, most other bilateral and multilateral development partners refrained from promoting the subsector, impacting it by omission. The international development partners led by the Bank now contend that they favor higher education development on the continent and pledge to build the neglected institutions and the systems. However, we are yet to witness that shift reinforced by more tangible resources commensurate with the damage. The Scope of Funding The international dimension of higher education development in Africa is not only policy-oriented. Resources generated in the North for core higher education activities are considerable. The development of modern higher education in Africa has always depended on external assistance; and in the post-independence period, foreign governments, multilateral development agencies, and foreign scholarly societies became central funding agents (Lulat, 2003). On a global scale, higher education is increasingly perceived as a private rather than a public good, and financially strapped governments are gradually shifting some of the higher education costs to students and their guardians. This trend has also surfaced in African institutions, many of which are implementing cost sharing and cost augmentation exercises through the support of external agencies (Johnstone & Teferra, 2004). But drawing massive resources from an assortment of sources is not without consequence. The implications of relying heavily Damtew Teferra meets with a Masai-Kenyan alumni of the Ford Foundation International Fellowships Program. Global Policy Scene To say that African higher education policy continues to be influenced by the global policy environment and major international institutions is an understatement. The World Bank stands out as the most influential multilateral agency shaping the policies of higher education on the continent. Many policy positions have been articulated through numerous policy documents largely originating from the bank and including such influential publications as Education Policies for Sub-Saharan Africa: Adjustment, Revitalization and Expansion (World Bank, 1988), Higher Education: The Lessons of Experience (World Bank, 1994), Higher Education in Developing Countries: Peril and Promise (World Bank & UNESCO, 2000), Constructing Knowledge Societies (World Bank, 2002), and other sector policy studies (Teferra, 2005). Specifically, an infamous study on the rate of return had a tremendous impact on higher education development in Africa. The study, which now has been officially renounced (World Bank, 2002), claimed that higher education is a poor investment and advised countries to divest themselves of it. This study impacted on higher education development on the continent in three ways. It (a) directly affected lending institutions, (b) constrained other bilateral development partners, and (c) prevented individual countries from supporting their own institutions and systems (Teferra, 2005). The international dimension of higher education development on the continent could be felt both through omission as well

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of IIE Networker - Fall 2008

IIE Networker - Fall 2008
Message from Allan E. Goodman
Up Front: The International Education Diary
The International Dimension of Higher Education: Status, Challenges, and Prospects in Africa
Internationalization in Africa In Relation to Other World Regions
Measuring International Student Mobility Trends: In and Out of Africa
IIENetworker University President’s Interview Series A Conversation with President Mohammad H. Qayoumi, California State University, East Bay
Country Profile: Nigeria
Scholars & Research
Africa-U.S. Higher Education Initiative
Joint Degree Programs
Advising Students
Study Abroad
The Browser: Index of Advertisers

IIE Networker - Fall 2008