n South African Journal of Higher Education - On learning and cosmopolitanism in Higher Education

Volume 23, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1011-3487



In this article we argue for a conception of learning to be connected to the achievement of cosmopolitan norms and virtues which need to influence the way we understand and undertake learning and teaching in higher education in Africa. Our contention is that learning in universities on the African continent can more appropriately respond to some of the societal and political challenges Africa faces if it were to be connected to the appropriation of virtues such as democratic iterations, hospitality and collegiality. Making a case for learning and cosmopolitanism, we are mindful of the idea that African higher education systems are characterized by a history of colonisations and the fight for liberation / independence. Both these influences have resulted in remodelling and reconfiguring higher education rather than transforming it. In contrast, this article indicates a way forward by proposing a cosmopolitan approach as one that is best suited to moving higher education to greater heights.

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