Configurations of progress and the historical trajectory of the future in African higher education

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3 Citations (Scopus)


The role of African higher education institutions has been embedded within the socio-economic and historical contexts of the continent. Understanding the nature of African universities, their roles in African societies, and their place in the global knowledge system demands comprehensive reflection of the historical trajectories of the sector itself. In order to re-imagine the future of African higher education, it is important not only to reconstruct the past by uncovering facts but also to deconstruct it by challenging the nature of established truth on which historical evidences are created. This article challenges and deconstructs dominant narratives on the historical trajectories and configurations of progress in African higher education systems. The article provides a thorough analysis of major trends, developments and challenges that the sector has been facing through time with the intention of reimaging and constructing the notion of a new or alternative future that addresses the recurrent challenges of the sector. The notion of creating the new African university carries a fundamental inquiry asking: ‘What it means to be an African university?’ ‘What role do they play in African societies?’ and ‘How do African institutions manage to strike a balance between the individual, social and corporate responsibilities interacting with their stakeholders?’ This article interrogates the intricate pattern of interactions among African societies and higher education institutions, reflecting on historical trends and critical challenges facing the sector that have been negatively impacting the pace of realising the desired future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1839-1853
Number of pages15
JournalEducational Philosophy and Theory
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • African universities
  • Configurations of progress
  • higher education
  • higher education transformation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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