How Africa’s Academic Diaspora Can Help Revive Higher Education Back Home

Academics in the diaspora can help revive the often outdated curriculum and contribute to the needs of the modern, knowledge economy. GettyImages

The academic world is not as distant from everyday reality as some might think. In the late 1970s, the global commodities crisis reduced export revenue in African countries and institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank intervened to provide loans. The loan conditions included cutting public spending on education.

This resulted in a spike in migration, including thousands of African academics moving to North America, Europe and, to a lesser extent, Asia. They left for better paid jobs and more research funding in the host countries. The loss of well-trained and experienced academics created huge gaps in the higher education sector. But the sector continued to grow.

The shortage of academics adds to other challenges for universities, such as research quality, innovation, endowment and global visibility. Read more…

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