Globalisation and the internationalisation of higher education in sub-Saharan Africa
In a shrinking world, in which a neo-liberal discourse has permeated sub-Saharan African
higher education, critical reflection is required to assess the merits and demerits of globalisation. Research, intensive discussion and hearings conducted over a two-year period by the Task Force on Higher Education and Society, convened by the World Bank and United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for the purpose of exploring the future of higher education in the developing world, led to the conclusion that without more and better higher education, developing countries would find it increasingly difficult to benefit from the global knowledge economy. A decade later, we argue for a radical change in the traditional discourse on globalisation because of the emergence of countries such as China, South Africa, India, and Brazil as global players in the world economy. These emerging global powers, reframe the political and imperial philosophy at the epicentre of globalisation discourse – an
economic creed, through their mutual consultation and coordination on significant political issues. Their economic and military capabilities enable them to influence the trade regime and thereby strengthen the voice of the developing world as a whole. In relation to this paper’s inquiry, the cooperation of these emerging powers gives the free enfranchised people of the world an opportunity to choose a different path of international relations (internationalisation) formed on more liberal lines, as opposed to the neo-liberal economic rationality of globalisation. This paper therefore examines globalisation and internationalisation of higher education
in sub-Saharan Africa, a field in which increased knowledge production and distribution open up opportunities for users, institutions and societies. Against a background of chronic economic uncertainty we examine the influence of major international institutions on the direction of higher education, in particular teacher education. Drawing on relevant literature
and our own experience, reflexively, we argue that the tendency, towards free market regulation ideologies, privileges neo-liberal global knowledge discourses, such that they impose on higher education a need to respond across a range of fields.
Keywords: commodification, discourse practices, globalisation, global players, higher education, internationalisation, knowledge economies, marketisation, neo-liberalism, regulation ideologies, shrinking world, sub-Saharan Africa, teacher education
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