Publisher: African Studies Association

Comments On “Challenges Facing African Universities”

William Saint
KEYWORDS: Comments on “Challenges Facing African Universities”


In tackling the topic of current challenges to African universities, Akilagpa Sawyerr has chosen to paint with a broad brush. While giving appropriate acknowledgment to the diversity and complexity of prevailing circumstances in each country, he has elected to focus on a limited number of important issues that he believes constitute, in varying degrees, common challenges to universities across the continent. In electing this approach, he shows a preference for illuminating the dynamic interrelationships among these challenges, and for situating them with regard to some of the larger economic and political forces that have shaped African history in the latter part of the twentieth century. In consequence, he necessarily foregoes in-depth analysis of specific issues. To provide such analysis would require a book, which I sincerely hope Prof. Sawyerr will undertake in the near future.What is valuable about this article? I would like to underscore three aspects.First, it provides a clear overview of the main challenges that have confronted African higher education, especially during the past decade, together with helpful interpretations of the causes and consequences of these events. It also incorporates much of the very recent explosion of research on this topic, particularly by African scholars. The bibliography itself is a valuable resource for those interested in the subject.

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