Tag Archives: universities

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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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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