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Author Archives: Jonathan Harle
Young people have a vital role to play in development, and universities are important sites to nurture their skills and to harness that energy for social change (as I blogged about last week). But there is work to do to realize this potential. In East Africa, the rapid growth of universities (there are now 45 universities in Uganda – and many smaller training institutions, compared to just one university 50 years ago at Independence). A huge expansion in student places – coming after many years of under-investment in infrastructure, learning resources and in academic staff – has had a serious impact on quality. In neighbouring Kenya, a recent audit by the Commission for University Education has revealed the extent of the problem. The content of many courses is out of date, the styles of teaching reflect the ‘chalk and talk’ mode of lecturing, and in many institutions there are few incentives … Continue reading
Young people have a vital role to play in their countries’ development. There are now 1.8 billion young people (between the ages of 10 and 24, 2014 UN figures) — out of a global population of 7.3 billion — and nine out of 10 of them live in developing countries. This makes youth a vital dimension of development policy and practice, and more and more, the role of young people is being recognized. In a speech last year, the UN Deputy Secretary General put it clearly: “Young people must be recognized for who they are: agents of change whose contributions will bring benefits both to themselves and to society”. A set of institutions that have long known the potential of young people are universities. It’s through university study that young people can develop the knowledge, skills, ideas and attitudes that will enable them to contribute to their societies and economies, and also through … Continue reading
We won’t achieve the Sustainable Development Goals if developing country researchers can’t play their part
We have a problem. We desperately need to bring research and knowledge to bear on the world’s most pressing problems. But researchers in the countries where much of that knowledge is needed are often the least able to respond. Research will only offer new solutions if it is generated in the countries that need it most, by researchers best placed to understand local contexts, and by collaborative efforts between researchers, policymakers and practitioners. Tackling global challenges From entrenched poverty and hunger, to poor health and education systems, to a steadily warming planet, our world faces some huge challenges. We need to find new sources of clean and affordable energy, and connect the 1.1 billion who still don’t have electricity. We need to take better care of our oceans and forests — vital parts of the earth’s complex ecosystem and the source of livelihoods for billions of people. And we need to tackle … Continue reading
‘The worst of times and the best of opportunities’
This piece was previously published on Jon Harle’s Medium blog site, republished here with his permission.
We hear many stories about the decline of African universities so it was great to hear a story of regeneration and renewal last Friday.
And it was particularly inspiring that this story came from a county better known in recent years for crisis and tragedy — Sierra Leone. Continue reading “Re-imagining higher education in Sierra Leone” »
This piece was previously published on Jon Harle’s Medium blog site, republished here with his permission. To what extent is research on development issues done by researchers in developing countries? To what extent do those researchers actually decide what research needs doing and what questions need asking? And if developing country researchers do decide, to what extent do they do so in collaboration with the people who might ultimately have a use for that knowledge ? These aren’t new questions, but they re-emerged for me recently in a series of studies we commissioned of research and knowledge systems in Somalia and Somaliland, Liberia and South Sudan. And they’re echoed in a series of essays on the ethics and politics of knowledge production in fragile states. It’s a well-worn maxim that appropriate solutions require local knowledge. Yet although this is well recognized, it often seems to be missing when research is commissioned … Continue reading
Local ownership is a concept that is fundamental to our work at INASP- in fact it’s more than a concept, it’s a principle that informs everything we do, and that we strive to ensure every day. I was reminded of this during recent discussions at our 28 June Publishers for Development meeting in Oxford. Here I want to suggest one way we can bring an appreciation of ownership to bear on our work in supporting access to research. Why? Because as innumerable examples have shown, solutions which are not owned, which are developed from outside and then imposed on a country rarely work in the long term. They may enjoy some early success, but often crumble – either because they don’t work, or because no-one is invested in them even if they could. From ambitious public sector reform programmes, designed by World Bank experts, which tried to make African governments … Continue reading