Regionalization of Higher Education in Africa and the Operationalization of the African Union Higher Education Harmonization Strategy


Dr. Emnet Tadesse Woldegiorgis

Research Area:


There is increasing realisation globally of the importance of close cooperation between countries through sharing of resources and technologies, addressing common problems, and facilitating the free movement of people for effective and efficient development endeavours. With the force of globalisation propelling higher education, the main priority of higher education at this juncture is to strive towards quality and excellence in research and academic programmes. Focus on higher education in Africa has waned since the 1980s and the last two decades have seen a rapid rise in student enrolments, continued brain drain, less interconnectedness in terms of intellectual orientation, limited autonomy of higher educational institutions, a shortage of experienced academic staff, declining educational quality, financial weaknesses, and low levels of research output. The result is that most higher education institutions experience difficulty competing in the global market for knowledge creation and production. Various forums have acknowledged that Africa should utilise the Bologna Process as a model to harmonise higher education in the continent, thereby bringing together issues such as quality assurance, student mobility and recognition of degrees, diplomas and certificates. This dissertation will put into perspective how harmonisation efforts through the African Union can address the current challenges of the higher education sector in Africa. Moreover, it will focus on providing a context for understanding the harmonisation of higher education systems in Africa through a comparative analysis of the European Union. It will also expand on issues such as the critical “adoption dilemma” as well as key “success factors” of the Bologna process, which may contribute to “bridging the gap” between plans and implementation efforts in Africa.