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Challenges of Institutional Reform in African Higher Education: the Case of Three Public Universities in East Africa

PL Sanga


While globalisation has traditionally been associated with networks of commercial and political interests, today it is a challenge with which all sectors of society, including higher education, must contend. In higher education, one of its manifestations is the rapid development of borderless higher education markets. In East Africa, this has seen universities in more developed countries strategically promote their services in the region through, inter alia, for profit universities, corporate universities and distance education programmes. A direct consequence of this has been the creation of ‘global students’, who are not bound by the dictates of the countries in which they reside. This accelerated mobility of knowledge and skills is the impetus for the migration of skilled workers hence brain waste and brain gain. In order to examine this phenomenon more closely, three purposely-selected East African public universities perceived as more suitable examples for internationalisation and institutional reform activities were studied. These are the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, Makerere University in Uganda and University of Nairobi in Kenya. The study concluded that, despite the myriad of challenges that the universities face, they have numerous opportunities. If efficiently utilised, these opportunities can help the universities to overcome their challenges. The study argues that efforts to adopt an international outlook should not derail the universities from their mandate to serve their countries.

Keywords: Institutional reform; Internationalisation; East Africa

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2707-6113
print ISSN: 1816-6822