Higher Education as an Emerging Field of Scientific Inquiry in Africa: Prospects and Challenges

Moderator:
Prof. Patrício Langa
Panellists:
Dr Chux Daniels
Dr Emnet Woldegiorgis
Dr Francis Ansah
Dr Mikateko Höppener
Dr Nelson Nkhoma
Dr Patrick Swanzy
Dr Suzan Kilonzo
Ms Linda Lumbasi

Dr Chux Daniels

Dr Chux Daniels is a Research Fellow in Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) at the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU), University of Sussex. His research connects STI and public policies in fostering transformative change that contributes to addressing development challenges. His areas of interests include STI, public policies, evaluation, inclusion in STI, capabilities for policymaking, entrepreneurship, indicators and metrics for STI. He is a member of the African Union Commission M&E Committee on STISA-2024. His recent research, policy, and consultancy projects include various African countries, the Caribbean, the United Nations ESCAP and UNCTAD, and several private sector entities such as GSMA and KPMG. He holds a PhD in Science and Technology Policy Studies from SPRU.

Dr Emnet Woldegiorgis

Dr. Emnet Tadesse Woldegiorgis (PhD) joined Addis Ababa University where he graduated with a B.A in Political Science and International Relations in 2003. Since then, he has been working as a lecturer in Mekelle University located in the Northern part of Ethiopia. He holds a M.A. in higher education from the University of Oslo since 2008. Upon completing my study, I was offered a position as Head of Quality Assurance Office at the College of Law and Governance in Mekelle University. HE also worked as head of the department of Civics and Ethical studies, in the University. He obtained his PhD at the Bayreuth International Graduate School of African Studies (BIGSAS). His research interest is on the African higher education reform issues. He has published considerably on African Higher education regionalisation and harmonisation.

Dr Francis Ansah

Dr. Francis Ansah (PhD) currently works at the Institute for Educational Planning & Administration (I.E.P.A), University of Cape Coast. Francis does research in Higher Education Quality Assurance, Educational Assessment, Educational Policy and Educational Management. Their current project is ‘Balancing the focus of quality assurance in African higher education institutions – A case study from Ghana.’

Dr Mikateko Höppener

Dr. Mikateko Höppener (nee Mathebula) holds an MSc in Business Psychology from Universität Bremen (Germany) and a PhD in Development Studies from the University of the Free State (South Africa). She is the author of the monograph: Engineering Education for Sustainable Development: A capabilities approach, which was recently published by Routledge. Mikateko is a senior researcher on the ESRC-DFID funded ‘Miratho’; a project on inclusive higher education learning outcomes for rural and township youth in South Africa. She also works on an ESRC-NRF funded project which investigates pathways to personal and public good by focusing on access to, student experiences of, and outcomes from South African undergraduate higher education.

Dr Nelson Nkhoma

Dr. Nelson M. Nkhoma originates from Malawi. He has lived and worked in several countries including Malawi, Tanzania, South Africa, Kenya and USA. Nelson holds a PhD in Comparative International Development Education which he obtained in 2015 at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. For the past two years, Nelson worked as a research fellow with SAChair in Higher Education and Human Development (HEHD) at the University of the Free State. He was also a research fellow for five years under the University of Minnesota partnership with the MasterCard Learn, Earn and Save Initiative. As a lead fellow, Nelson led the evaluations and research teams. His current research interests include and advances higher educational planning, university industry linkages, universities and innovation and universities and community engagement in Africa.  He has several publications and is working on a book manuscript on public universities and community engagement in Malawi, Africa.

Dr Patrick Swanzy

Dr. Patrick Swanzy is a Ghanaian. He earned his PhD in Education from the University of Adelaide, Australia specialising in quality assurance in higher education, Patrick also holds a Master of Education (Administration) and a Bachelor of Education (Social Science) from the University of Cape Coast, Ghana. He has worked in the field of education in Ghana and South Africa. Patrick has taught at every level from primary to tertiary level. He has also been involved in education administration and research supervision. Prior to his doctoral studies, Patrick was the Head of the Practical Training Office at the Bolgatanga Polytechnic, Ghana. His current research project focuses on reconceptualising quality assurance in African higher education. Patrick has published in Higher Education Journals.

Dr Suzan Kilonzo

Dr. Suzan Kilonzo (PhD) Susan’s research interest Higher Education. Her research has yielded publications in form of book chapters and journal articles. Her research findings appear in Blackwell Publishing Ltd, Brill, CODESRIA, OSSREA, UDIUNC & SEPHIS, Routledge, among others. Susan is a research methodology specialist, and has trained professionals from across African countries on the same. She recently developed Gender Training Modules (on Gender and Social Vulnerability) for Higher Institutions in sub-Saharan Africa for OSSREA.

Ms Linda Lumbasi

Ms. Linda Lumbasi (MSc)currently the acting Coordinator of the Trinity International Development Initiative and the Fieldwork Coordinator for the Masters in Development Practice (MDP) at Trinity College Dublin. She holds a MSc. in Development Practice from Trinity College Dublin/University College Dublin, an MA in Higher Education Studies from Makerere University, Uganda, and a B.Ed degree in English Language and Literature from Moi University, Kenya. She has extensive experience in programme design, implementation and management; knowledge management, financial management and fundraising. She has managed and implemented higher education, leadership and development projects involving multiple stakeholders and countries in the global North and South. Linda is passionate about both international development and higher education, and leverages her experience in these areas in promoting international development research and teaching.

Prof. Patrício Langa

Prof.  Patrício Langa, a Sociologist and Associate Professor of Higher Education at the Institute for Post School Studies (IPSS), of the University of the Western Cape and Eduardo Mondlane University (UEM) (Mozambique) is the coordinator of DPHES. Prof Langa holds an Honors degree in Sociology from Eduardo Mondlane University, a Master degree in Higher Education Studies from the University of Cape Town, and also a PhD in Sociology and Education with a major in Higher Education Studies from the University of Cape Town. He advises the Rector of UEM on Strategic planning and is a visiting professor of higher education studies at the Danube University Krems in Austria. He served as the first Executive Director for External Evaluation in the National Council on Higher Education Quality Assurance and Accreditation in Mozambique (CNAQ) and currently serves on the board of Non-Executive Directors. Prof Langa founded and served as Director of the Centre for Higher Education Studies and Development (CESD), in Mozambique. He is also the founding member and Current President of the Mozambican Sociological Association (A.M.S). Prof Langa’s research interest are located in the intersection of sociology and higher education studies in Africa. He has published in both Sociology and higher education Journals.

Higher education as a field of study and scientific inquiry is emerging in Africa. The panel examines the (pre)conditions under which higher education is becoming a scientific field of research following its development in the USA, Europe and Asia. The panel will discuss the existing infra-structure for the establishment of higher education as new scientific field, including: (i) research centres, (ii) academic programs, (iii) journal publications, (iv) professional and (v) academic associations. The panel will raise some critical points and will certainly provoke continued conversation among scholars and practitioners in African higher education. Such a dialogue should address the historical trend of higher education policy driven research on the continent and research agenda setting outside academia. Who establishes higher education as an object of study in Africa? Should they be academic programmes, with standardized curriculum, accreditation panels and gatekeepers of a common knowledge base? Other fields of study have certainly established norms, values, principles and guidelines which render their object of study as an autonomous field of scientific inquiry. Higher education as a field of study has never relied on a single discipline. Some argue that it is never going to evolve into a discipline with clearly defined object, methods, as some disciplines have done and it may never enjoy the legitimacy that others fields do. Nevertheless, the number of higher education researchers, academic and research centres, chairs, funding, degree programmes is slowly increasing in Africa. What challenges and prospects one can envisage for higher education as a field of scientific inquiry in Africa? Now, as more people pursue degrees in our field, more programmes are being established, including postgraduate training (Masters and PhDs) we should be asking critical questions about the past, present and future of higher education as a field of studies and scientific inquiry in Africa. The South African Science Forum is the right place to undertake this task as it gathers scientists and various publics to discuss the future of science and society on the continent and globally.

2018-11-14T17:42:05+00:00