The Higher Education Research and Advocacy Network in Africa, HERANA, has completed one of the most comprehensive studies of African universities ever undertaken. For the past four years the initiative, coordinated by the Centre for Higher Education Transformation in South Africa, has conducted research into tertiary systems and premier universities in eight African countries focusing on the roles of higher education in economic development and democracy, as well as a comparative study of three OECD countries.
HERANA has produced some 20 reports including its culminating volume Universities and Economic Development in Africa. In exploring the complex relationships between higher education and economic development, the research uncovered three urgent needs – for a social ‘pact’ on the key role of higher education in emerging knowledge economies, strengthening the ‘academic core’ in universities, and greater coordination among higher education stakeholders including governments, universities, the private sector and society.
A seminar held in Stellenbosch, South Africa, late last month closed the chapter on the first phase of the HERANA research and opened the chapter on the second phase. In this special edition of University World News, academics involved in the project and others outside of it take a look at the research – how it was conceived and conducted, what it found, how it might be used and its implications for the wider world of higher education, especially in other developing regions.
The University World News Africa Edition has been a partner in the HERANA expertise network since the start, and at the end of this edition there are links to earlier articles we have published summarising the project’s research and the issues it has raised.
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