Higher Education, Science and Innovation in Eastern Africa

Sunday, 10 July 2016: 12:30
Location: Hörsaal 18 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Akiiki BABYESIZA, University of Bayreuth, Germany
The paper focuses on global ideas of higher education, science and innovation and their adaption at universities in Eastern African countries (Rwanda, Kenya, Ethiopia). Theoretically the project draws on the new institutionalist concept of travel of ideas. According to Czarniawska & Joerges (1996) ideas and concepts can become global models, when they are disembedded in one time and space, transformed into objects and reembedded in a different place. The entrepreneurial university (Slaughter & Rhoades 2004, Clark 1998, 2004, Etzkowitz 2008) is such a global idea which is translated into research articles, policy papers and prescriptions and reembedded in higher education systems all over the world. Eastern African higher education policy-makers, university leaders and academic staff have adopted this idea with the goal of spurring income generation, technological innovation and national development. This has led to an increasing commercialisation of teaching and research at Eastern African universities (e.g. Babyesiza 2015, Bisaso 2013, Johnson & Hirt 2011, Mamadani 2007, Wagenge-Ouma 2012). As Czarniawska & Sevon (2005:8) point out:” a thing moved from one place to another cannot emerge unchanged: to set something in a new place is to construct it anew.” I will therefore discuss how the idea of the entrepreneurial university which is embedded in discourses of the knowledge economy and the triple helix is constructed anew, how it changes the self-image of university organizations and how governments, university leaderships and academics define the current and future role of university research in society. The presentation will be based on an analysis of the national development plans of Rwanda, Kenya and Ethiopia, the strategic plans of selected universities in those countries and expert interviews.