Tag Archives: Higher education

Research and knowledge systems in difficult places part 2: Liberia
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In April, we published a blog post featuring South Sudan, introducing the first of a series of new papers on research and knowledge systems in “difficult places”. Around 4000 miles west of Juba, hugging the Atlantic coast of the continent is Liberia, which is the subject of our next post. While South Sudan is the world’s newest state, Liberia is Africa’s oldest republic, independent since 1847. But when we chose Liberia we weren’t tracing a simple conflict or crisis theme. Instead, with strong partnerships in Ghana, and new projects in Sierra Leone, it was a logical next step for INASP to consider working in Liberia. Common threads Of course, as countries which have both suffered many years of violence, there are some obvious, if superficial, similarities between Liberia and South Sudan – both are slowly rebuilding basic infrastructure and developing new institutions, and both lost many people during these crises, … Continue reading

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Building capacity of Africa’s library consortia
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Jon Harle reports on the recent library consortia meeting in Addis Ababa about building strong foundations for research to deliver African Union’s ‘Agenda 2063’ Last week’s workshop in Ethiopia wasn’t about libraries. It was about taking a vision of research and higher education – a vision of enabling development, tackling critical problems, improving the delivery of basic and much-needed services, preparing Africa for a changing world – and pulling that down to the detail of skills, of organizational processes and structures, of defining and addressing priorities through the incremental, day-to-day steps through which capacity is developed, services improved and progress made. One of my frustrations after the Senegal African Higher Education Summit in March was that we weren’t discussing the ‘how’ – and realising these ambitions for research and higher education will depend on taking high-level goals and translating them to real and sustained improvements in myriad areas, so that … Continue reading

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Meeting supports publishers and libraries to strengthen Southern academia
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INASP and the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) work in partnership on the Publishers for Development (PfD) initiative. The annual PfD conference is a forum bringing together key scholarly publishers with developing-country researchers, librarians and academics. PfD encourages dialogue between these parties, promoting a greater understanding of the unique challenges they face, while encouraging mutually beneficial, cooperative working relationships and practices. In this blog post Neil Johnson from the ACU talks about the organization’s new Research, Knowledge and Information Community, and how the ACU’s work in fostering cooperative relationships forms the basis for its involvement in PfD. The university library is a vital part of every academic institution. This central repository of academic work, research outputs and data, and published information is essential to ongoing research. Without access to this knowledge the academic process would be impossible. Despite this, the library is often misunderstood, overlooked, and undervalued – often considered … Continue reading

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World class universities – or world class systems?
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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

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Universities must think about improving all stages of the research cycle
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This post was originally published on the ACU’s ‘The world beyond 2015 – Is higher education ready?’  campaign website on 19 November. The campaign aims to raise awareness of how higher education can and should respond to global development challenges ahead of the Millennium Development Goals expiring in 2015.  Visit the site to get involved and contribute your thoughts. This post was written by Jonathan Harle and Sue Corbett. ‘Putting research knowledge at the heart of development’ is the aim of everything we do at INASP, and will be critical if the world is to respond to the challenges of a post-2015 world. Our focus is on the use of information and the generation of knowledge. If the countries with which we work – currently 21 in Africa, Asia and Latin America – are to take control of their own development, and to generate the ideas and the policies that they need to … Continue reading

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ICT infrastructure for education is as much about people as technology
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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.

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