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On-line version ISSN 2413-3086
Print version ISSN 1561-4018


VERHAREN, Charles Coulter. African universities' ethical responsibilities to their supporting communities. Phronimon [online]. 2015, vol.16, n.2, pp.21-41. ISSN 2413-3086.

If universities are supported by the communities in which they are embedded, then solving their communities' problems must be a critical university ethical goal. The essay's first part examines philosophy's roles in directing university research in such disciplines as the natural and social sciences, history, art and mathematics. Of particular interest are the roles that information and communication technology (ICT) might play in the dissemination of research results in universities' supporting communities. The Pan-African thinker W.E.B. Du Bois believed that virtually all humans are capable of profiting from a university education. ICT must be critical to African universities' discharge of their ethical responsibilities to their communities. The first part's conclusion suggests three ways whereby African universities may advance toward Du Bois's goal. The essay's second part proposes a curriculum for Fort Hare University in Alice and East London in South Africa's Eastern Cape Province. As both an urban and rural university, Fort Hare presents a unique opportunity for examining university-community relationships. The essay's conclusion argues that African universities must play a critical role in constructing African self-knowledge. Critical to university and alumni contributions to re-thinking African identity, will be the inclusion of curricular material specific to the cultures of communities selected for university outreach. Portions of paper adapted from Verharen, Gutema, Tharakan, Bugarin, Fortunak, Kadoda, Liu, Middendorf (2014a).

Keywords : African universities; ethics; W.E.B. Du Bois; ICT & MOOCs; service learning; Fort Hare curriculum.

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