The Trials of Higher Education Funding inAfrica: Effect on University Governance, Academic Programmes and Research
Outline• Introduction: The Challenges facing African Universities• Recent trends and approaches in funding higher education• Some recent responses to the crisis: international capacity-building initiatives• The responses from African public universities• Case study: University of Ghana12/11/2012 2
1. Introduction: The Challenges facing African UniversitiesThe main critical challenges facing African universities can be summarised as follows:• Dwindling public funding for academic resources and research and increasing reliance on development partners and donors for funding• Situation contributes to a growing crisis in academic leadership and a growing inability of many institutions to set their own research agendas (Kamola, 2011; Manuh, 2005; Peltzer and Bless, 1989; WHO, 2004)12/11/2012 3
Challenges (contd)• Political stifling of bold scholarship and academic freedom. In some countries, the content of classroom teaching in areas of regional politics and development, has been subjected to political interference and has led to institutional closure• Poor remuneration of university lecturers and researchers contributes to academics leaving their institutions for lucrative non-academic positions or to academic positions in other African countries, Europe and North America12/11/2012 4
Challenges (contd)• Disenfranchised community of academics with low levels of research productivity, low engagement in global academic discourse and trends, and increased over-dependence on donors and consultancies for financial security• Africa produces an insignificant percentage of scientific publications in a broad range of disciplines (see Table 1).12/11/2012 5
Table 1. Papers in Science Citation Index by Region: 1981-2000Region 1981 1990 2000Americas 158,108 199,347 230,060Europe 163,471 203,598 264,829Asia 45,906 62,217 123,572Africa 5,305 6,539 8,311Source: Mohamedbhai (2009)12/11/2012 6
2. Recent Trends and Approachesin Financing Higher Education• The funding of higher education has experienced many significant changes throughout the world in the last three decades.• The changes in how higher education is financed are mainly responses to increases in higher education costs without a corresponding increase in government revenues in many countries12/11/2012 7
Recent approaches in financing(contd)• Significant increases in enrolment at universities affected the cost per student, attributable to rapid population growth of young people in the university- going age, especially in developing countries.• The need to improve the technology available to universities for teaching and doing research has added significantly to the cost of universities. Higher education institutions require new equipment in order to be competitive.12/11/2012 8
Recent approaches in financing (contd)• There has been a push towards cost recovery by introducing tuition fees in countries where higher education used to be provided for free• As fees have been introduced, the need to consider financing options for students has grown. Student loan schemes are becoming commonplace in many countries.• It is now expected that public universities will generate financial resources by selling their services, mainly consultancy and physical products and patents. But this is very difficult in most developing countries.
3. Recent responses: international capacity-building initiatives• Capacity building and strengthening has become a dominant international response to the crisis of higher education in Africa, with European and American funders and universities spearheading initiatives for institutional and professional development (BA/ACU, 2009; Morley et al, 2009).
Recent responses: Capacity building (contd)• Capacity building initiatives can be placed under three categories. – First, projects have sought to strengthen institutional capacity in order to improve organisational, management and technical processes – Second, projects have focused on postgraduate training, with particular emphasis on PhD training, to address the professional and skills gap created by the brain drain in the 1970s and 1980s
Recent responses: Capacity building (contd)– The final approach has been to develop research networks and centres of research excellence. • Research networks create important disciplinary spaces for intellectual engagement, development and training (e.g. AERC, CODESRIA, UAPS). • Centres of research excellence focus on interdisciplinary research development and implementation, especially in areas of developmental importance (e.g. African Population and Health Research Centre (APHRC)).
Recent responses: Capacity building (contd)• One of the best known initiatives at building capacity has been the Partnership for Higher Education in Africa. – The Partnership for Higher Education in Africa was an unprecedented collaboration between seven major U.S. foundations to support African higher education institutions in building capacity and training the next generation of scholars, public servants and entrepreneurs
Recent responses: Capacity building (contd)• Capacity building initiatives have had varied levels of success – Improving IT access for some universities, training new PhDs who have assumed teaching and administrative positions in their departments, and establishing important regional spaces for scholarly engagement and development (BA/ACU, 2009).• However challenges still exist – First, the investment in capacity building has not been equitable: some countries have been multiple recipients of funding and support, while others have received little attention. – Second, a number of schemes have faced critical challenges in implementation and sustainability
4. The Responses from African Public Universities• In November 2008, UG hosted a University Leaders’ Forum to discuss African university challenges and to chart a way forward• This and other meetings (Nairobi Report) led to three proposed solutions – Building institutional foundations, through improving structures, systems and governance – Building “communities of research excellence”, rather than “centres of excellence”
Responses from African public universities (contd) – Investing in individuals, particularly early career academics through flexible PhD programmes , dedicated mentoring and progressive career structures• The Nairobi Report outlines at least 6 factors essential for effective development of communities of research excellence • Emphasis on inter-institutional collaboration to simultaneously build institutional capacity and link colleagues working across a number of centres within and outside of national borders
Responses from African public universities (contd)– Collaboration based on ‘specific disciplines or subject areas’ or ‘a particular theme or set of issues to bring together an interdisciplinary group’– An organisational and management structure that manages the complex collaborative process, preferably located in one institution with experience and expertise in managing larger- scale research to manage funds on behalf of the community– Local ownership to ensure sustainability; and also to build capacity in experience and expertise in managing larger-scale research– Sharing responsibilities and tasks in relation to the community’s goals, ‘relieving the burden on any one centre or department’– Prioritising issues of trust, openness and participation
Table 4. British funded centres and communities of excellence inAfricaFunders Countries/Partners Focus of centres or communitiesDFID Ghana, Uganda, South Africa, Zambia Mental Health and PovertyBritish Academy Algeria, Benin, Botswana(3), Burkina Faso, Twelve research partnerships Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, covering 13 countries focusing on Senegal(2), South Africa (4), Uganda, Zimbabwe various projects including development intervention, health, post-conflict peacebuilding and the macroeconomics of employment and povertyWellcome Trust Botswana, Chad, Democratic Republic of Seven consortia covering 18 Congo, Ghana (3), Ivory Coast (2), Kenya (3), countries focusing on various Malawi (2), Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria (2), projects including diseases of Rwanda (2), Senegal, SA(3), Sudan, Tanzania poverty, environmental health and (4), Uganda (3), Zambia (2), Zimbabwe postgraduate trainingNote: Some countries have benefitted from multiple funding. Figures in brackets denote the number of fundedresearch network/community a country has secured from one funder. Countries benefitting from more than onefunded project from either one or multiple funders have greater potential for inter-institutional capacity buildingwithin national boundaries.
Responses from African public universities (contd)• A number of initiatives have been developed to train PhD level researchers and academics in universities across the region, including: – The Consortium for Advanced Research Training in Africa (CARTA) is a collaboration between nine universities and four research institutions from West, East, Central, and Southern Africa and selected northern partners. Based in Kenya at the African Population Health Research Centre (APHRC), CARTA aims to train PhDs from universities across the region. – Carnegie Next Generation of Academics in Africa Programme: funds Ghana and three other African countries, one main aim is to support existing faculty without PhDs to obtain their PhDs and build stronger long-term academic careers. – Royal Society/Leverhulme: training basic scientists in Ghana, Tanzania and Ethiopia
Case Study University of Ghana: Dealing with Inadequate Funds• There is growing competition from both public and private universities• Need for cost-recovery and better management of resources• Introduction of fee-paying by some students, less than 10% of enrolment• Visitation panel advising on extensive governance and curricular reforms and research management• Growing use of partnerships to enhance access to human and financial resources• New PhD programmes are to be full fee paying and done in partnership with northern universities
University of Ghana (contd)• Negotiations with government for block grants that allow universities to determine how best to use their resources: very problematic• Use of PPP approach to develop new infrastructure• Increasing borrowing of long term funds for equipment purchase and capital projects• Increasing fund raising activities among alumni and private sector
West Africa Centre For Crop Improvement12/11/2012 26
West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement•Partners: •Cornell University’s Institute for Genomic Diversity •International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Nigeria•PhD Plant Breeding•Individual UG faculty initiative –Joint curriculum development, teaching & supervision12/11/2012 27
Convergence of Sciences PhD programme• Collaboration between: • UG’s College of Agriculture & Consumer Sciences •Royal Tropical Institute, Netherlands •Wageningen University•Inter-disciplinary training aimed atstrengthening agricultural innovation systems •Soil quality, Crop diversity •Integrated pest & weed management12/11/2012
Marine & Fisheries Sciences•University of British Columbia • Staff/Student exchange & collaborative research•Office of Naval Research of the US Navy •Collaborative research•Oregon State University •Fisheries Management Training • Staff/Student exchange12/11/2012 29
Hebei Institute, China University of Cape Town 12/11/2012 30
Conclusion• Dwindling public financial resources have forced many universities to be a lot more creative in how they govern themselves, what programmes they run and what research they do• They can do a lot more if governments gave them the needed space for creativity