Universities of Relevance: The Case of the African Universities

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter reviews the relevant discourse among Sub-Saharan African universities, particularly the connection between the universities and society. Drawing from (Reading’s typology, 1996), this chapter proposes that African universities, similarly to their global counterparts, have entered a phase where the University of Culture and the University of Excellence are unified through the knowledge economy discourse. Manifested in a renewed interest in social relevance and responsibility, universities have entered the age of Relevance: a relevance that is broadly conceived, striding economic, social, political, environmental, and cultural concerns. This relevance discourse has also permeated all pillars of university functions—teaching, research and service—as well as management styles and ethos. This chapter proposes that this broad notion of relevance is particularly appropriate for this context, aligning with the continent’s deep roots in a collective culture.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHigher Education in Sub-Saharan Africa in the 21st Century
Subtitle of host publicationPedagogy, Research and Community-Engagement
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9789819932122
ISBN (Print)9789819932115
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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