Magazine article Times Higher Education

Continental Drift towards Global Alliances 'Not in Africa's Interests'

Magazine article Times Higher Education

Continental Drift towards Global Alliances 'Not in Africa's Interests'

Article excerpt

Build bridges closer to home to stop best minds going West, conference is told. Jack Grove reports.

African universities need to cooperate more closely and not rely simply on partnerships with European or US institutions.

That was the view of Olusola Oyewole, professor of food science at the University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, in Nigeria, who told the Going Global conference that African countries were too often "on the receiving end of internationalisation".

It was Western countries that tended to reap the rewards of trans-national partnerships, he said. They gained Africa's brightest minds and contributed little to African universities in terms of improving staff skills or improved management practices.

"It is easy to collaborate with universities in Europe and America, but it is much harder to create networks between Nigerian universities," said Professor Oyewole, a former Association of African Universities expert in quality assurance and academic mobility.

"We need to promote staff exchanges and networking opportunities ... and set up regional centres of excellence. We need universities to see what they can do to promote (their) strengths."

The conference also heard during the 15 March session - titled "Internationalising higher education in Africa: Funding versus impact?" - that only 1 per cent of global research output comes from Africa.

"We need to focus on our young scholars and draw attention to research within African countries," Professor Oyewole said.

James Otieno Jowi, executive director of the African Network for Internationalization of Education, based at Moi University, Kenya, was also wary of the pitfalls of international partnerships between universities. …

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