n South African Journal of Higher Education - 'Becoming like us' : global discourses, local knowledge and social struggle in comparative African higher education

Volume 19, Issue 5
  • ISSN : 1011-3487



The article critically reviews global discourses in the academic writing on comparative education dealing with the crises in African higher education. Several analyses explain how the struggling education systems can overcome obstacles and join the modern world in accordance with Western developmental models. One of the most common methodologies used to analyse comparative higher education employs the nation state as the main analytic unit. We might learn about how government policies influence reform at tertiary institutions, or how the university structure of one country compares with another; but little about the problematic impact of globalisation on the patterns observed at the national levels. Informed by writing on postcolonialism, the article proposes alternatives to the current literature: it advocates the development of critical knowledge systems and independent institutions, rooted in local societies and social struggles.

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