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Tag Archives: Higher education
The idea of ‘world class universities’ grips the higher education sector, driven by several big international rankings. It’s an idea that is no less popular when it comes to many of the countries in which INASP works. But when it comes to research and higher education for development, is it world class universities that we should be pursuing? Different institutions to do different things Goolam Mohamedbhai argues that what African higher education needs is ‘mission differentiation’, namely a range of institutions doing different things. Rather than focusing on creating new universities, governments should instead be supporting existing institutions in different ways – some to become more research-focused, and some to concentrate more on undergraduate education. ‘It would be impossible, and unnecessary, for most staff in all tertiary institutions on the continent to have a PhD’ he argues. In a similar vein, Lynn Meek argues that our emphasis should be on … Continue reading
Much has been made of the digital divide limiting progress in developing countries. In the world of research and higher education, this divide becomes particularly pertinent. Where countries in the developed world are rapidly transforming into information societies and knowledge economies, the ability for researchers in developing countries to access and contribute to the wealth of knowledge that is available through the internet can be the key to the relevance, dissemination and impact of their research.
I was lucky enough to spend a week in Sierra Leone at the beginning of September, and it was a great opportunity to reflect on what we do – and what we could do – in the context of an entirely new country. INASP hasn’t worked in Sierra Leone before, but with a new body of programme work, we’re now in a position to think about introducing our work to a few new countries. But this post isn’t about that new work, but about some broader impressions – of Sierra Leone and its development needs, and why our work matters. In the fourteen years that I’ve travelled in, worked in, and briefly lived in parts of the continent, I’ve been privileged to explore many countries, and to have had my thinking repeatedly challenged. But in recent years I’ve come to spend much of my time in relatively comfortable hotels and … Continue reading
While Kirsty Newman has now moved on from INASP, she is still telling us what we need to hear. ‘Fighting the RCT bogeyman’ is a recent post on her blog Kirstyevidence. This discusses the often unproductive debate around randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and the possible (desirable) combination of rigorous quantitative methodologies and qualitative observation. The blog is one to watch. Speaking of which, it seems the Guardian has been making a frequent appearance in this little round up recently. Although this week’s is something of an ‘oldie but a goodie’. Jonathan Tanner’s ‘Talk Point: Should we change the way we talk about development?’ urges us to dump the development jargon and speak more plainly. There are some good points and interesting comments. Pete Guest’s article in Wired, ‘In search of Africa’s Einstein’, looks at Neil Turok’s plan to invest in higher education institutions in Africa. Also worth checking out is the … Continue reading