by: Njuguna Ng'ethe, George Subotzky, George Afeti
This paper explores an area of tertiary education that is currently
understudied—the extent and nature of differentiation and
articulation in African tertiary education systems. The overall finding
of the study is that a binary system is dominant, characterized by
universities and polytechnics as distinct types of institutions.
Differentiation is clearly evident in Africa, though mostly horizontal
as opposed to vertical. Articulation, on the other hand, seems to be in
its infancy, as some universities, in their admission requirements, do
not recognize polytechnic qualifications, and mobility between similar
institution types is rare. National policy, market forces,
institutional reforms, industry, and regional initiatives drive
differentiation. Resource constraints, isomorphism, governance and
funding structures, and the absence of debate over size and shape act
as inhibitors. Demand for access appears to be the only driver for
articulation, while national policies, internal governance structures,
and industry/labor market inhibit growth.
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