The panel focuses on the expanding higher education sectors in African countries which go along with economic, cultural and social change. These developments cannot be observed as isolated phenomena, but instead must be investigated in a transnational perspective.
African countries face an impressive urbanization rate of 3.5%. This trend poses fundamental challenges regarding infrastructures on the social, cultural and economic level. Especially higher education is supposed to tackle this development in many different ways. Therefore, many countries on the continent, like Ethiopia or Tanzania, have recently expanded or plan to expand their higher education system massively in the next few years, to accompany these economic, cultural and social changes in the urban and rural regions. Newly established institutes of higher education are seen as hubs of innovation and flagship universities are supposed to precede in propelling economic growth.
Increasingly important in the expansion of the higher education sector in African countries are entanglements with actors from other countries and regions, ranging from discourses and advice on the policy level over bilateral programs to the opening of foreign colleges and universities on the continent. Furthermore, the migration of students and academic staff in the higher education sector between African countries and countries outside of Africa is increasing at a rapid pace. This trend of transnational exchange and mobility in higher education raises fundamental questions about quality of education, competition for the best talent, and research cultures.
The panel welcomes contributions from different disciplines and interdisciplinary perspectives, with a focus on empirical findings and case studies, but also theoretical implications.