University teaching and citizenship education in Ghana and Nigeria: International scholarship alumni perceived contributions to African higher education and governance
(Middlebury Institute of International Studies)
Erin Kelly-Weber (Middlebury Institute of International Studies)
Paper short abstract:
African graduates of international graduate education view university teaching and citizenship education as crucial for sustainable development in Ghana and Nigeria, yet barriers exist to be involved in higher education.
Paper long abstract:
Outcomes of international higher education scholarship programmes are often measured by grantees' contributions or "give back" to their home societies. This qualitative study explores the ways that Ghanaian and Nigerian alumni of an international scholarship perceive their efforts to influence their home countries. Data is provided from interviews with 20 alumni (10 from each country) who pursued graduate education in Africa, Europe, or North America, and who finished their studies five to 13 years ago; secondary data is provided by scholarship programme archival research. Findings indicate that scholarship alumni interviewees—the majority who studied in the fields of international or sustainable development—advocated for education a key mechanism to influence social change and sustainable development in Ghana and Nigeria. Specifically, alumni stated two ways that they perceive their contributions to be most effective: 1) university teaching and 2) citizenship, voter, and human rights education. These two types of education were deemed valuable for both the immediate and long-term effects, with a view they would ultimately lead to stronger institutions and better governance. However, alumni noted significant barriers to enter related careers, especially in higher education, raising concerns of how they would "apply" their knowledge. In sum, this study aims to contribute to greater understanding of how Ghanaians and Nigerians with foreign education view and promote education as a tool for development. It also provides critical and timely evidence to question Sustainable Development Goal Target 4b, which promotes vocational and higher education in STEM via international scholarships for African students.
A new political economy in African higher education