The paradox of internationalising higher education through Ubuntu philosophy
The promotion of African value systems such as Ubuntu within South Africa’s higher education and universities in particular, has been founded on the philosophy of acknowledging that these value systems exist within an internationalising higher education that features African and non-African value systems and epistemologies. Such an approach further acknowledges the historically entrenched disadvantages that define the institutional identities of some South African universities, especially those located in former homelands. Some higher education institutions have engaged in initiatives aimed at adapting international values into local spaces and processes through programmes that have included sending out South African students and academics whilst at the same time playing host to them. For South African universities, the hope has been to promote and preserve the South African identity whilst embracing epistemologies from other countries in Africa and beyond. The advent of internationalisation, particularly in higher education has however been marred by contradictions as the embracing of other epistemologies, students and academics has resulted in mixed sentiments within the South African students, academics and communities in general. It is these contradictions and the associated paradoxes that this explores.
Keywords: Ubuntu philosophy, indigenous values, African value systems, internationalising higher education, South African academic, non-South African academics.