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South African Journal of Education

versión On-line ISSN 2076-3433
versión impresa ISSN 0256-0100

S. Afr. j. educ. vol.33 no.3 Pretoria ene. 2013

 

Globalisation and the internationalisation of higher education in sub-Saharan Africa

 

 

Kuzvinetsa Peter DzvimboI; Kholeka Constance MoloiII

ICollege of Education, University of South Africa, dzvimkp@unisa.ac.za
IIFaculty of Human Sciences, Vaal University of Technology, conniem@vut.ac.za

 

 


ABSTRACT

In a shrinking world, in which a neo-liberal discourse has permeated sub-Saharan African higher education, critical reflection is required to assess the merits and demerits of globalisation. Research, intensive discussion and hearings conducted over a two-year period by the Task Force on Higher Education and Society, convened by the World Bank and United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for the purpose of exploring the future of higher education in the developing world, led to the conclusion that without more and better higher education, developing countries would find it increasingly difficult to benefit from the global knowledge economy. A decade later, we argue for a radical change in the traditional discourse on globalisation because of the emergence of countries such as China, South Africa, India, and Brazil as global players in the world economy. These emerging global powers, reframe the political and imperial philosophy at the epicentre of globalisation discourse - an economic creed, through their mutual consultation and coordination on significant political issues. Their economic and military capabilities enable them to influence the trade regime and thereby strengthen the voice of the developing world as a whole. In relation to this paper's inquiry, the cooperation of these emerging powers gives the free enfranchised people of the world an opportunity to choose a different path of international relations (internationalisation) formed on more liberal lines, as opposed to the neo-liberal economic rationality of globalisation. This paper therefore examines globalisation and internationalisation of higher education in sub-Saharan Africa, a field in which increased knowledge production and distribution open up opportunities for users, institutions and societies. Against a background of chronic economic uncertainty we examine the influence of major international institutions on the direction of higher education, in particular teacher education. Drawing on relevant literature and our own experience, reflexively, we argue that the tendency, towards free market regulation ideologies, privileges neo-liberal global knowledge discourses, such that they impose on higher education a need to respond across a range of fields.

Keywords: commodification, discourse practices, globalisation, global players, higher education, internationalisation, knowledge economies, marketisation, neo-liberalism, regulation ideologies, shrinking world, sub-Saharan Africa, teacher education


 

 

Introduction

According to both the exponents and critics of globalisation, the major international institutions that govern flows of international finance capital and that are at the centre of globalisation are the World Bank (WB), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the World Trade Organisation (WTO), all of which push macro-economic policies that favour international finance capital and the removal of barriers to international trade, thus strengthening and deepening inequalities between the rich and the poor. As international banks come under increasing political pressure to reassess their procedures, their hitherto pivotal role in the process of rampant capital accumulation should also be closely scrutinised as one of the global forces impacting on education in developing nations. Kell (2005:247) has argued that the cluster of political, economic and cultural projects, under the umbrella rhetoric of "globalisation and modernisation", has subjected public education to corporate and market forces, a decentralised industrial relations agenda, and heightened levels of management control through accountability regimes for public sector workers, including teachers.

To advance the main arguments of this paper we raise the following questions: (i) What constitutes meaningful activity in research, and transformation of teaching and learning in the era of globalisation and internationalisation of higher education? (ii) Can technology be manipulated as a neutral tool? (iii) What distinguishes activity from mere functioning as students engage in social networking? (iv) How do we reintroduce our ability to retain reflexivity, our power for liberation and an oppositional discourse and critical pedagogy of hope in teacher education? (v) How do we negate the objecti-fication of the subject embedded in our uncritical acceptance of the utility of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in teacher education? (vi) Is the human being an object of manipulation, adjustable by technical and rational thinking as we reform teacher education to introduce ICTs (Cooper, 2002)?

In this paper, we argue that sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) has for too long been pressurised by neo-liberal market economics and government policies into serving their interests before its own. In particular, the provision of higher education for the 'clients', the students, has been implicitly geared to furthering the process of globalisation. To this end, Joshee (2008:36) argues that in education the neoliberal agenda stresses: "global competitiveness, the reduction of the publicly financed costs of education, and of social reproduction in general, the necessity for greater market choice and accountability and the hierarchically conditioned, globally oriented state subjects - i.e. individuals oriented to excel in ever transforming situations of global competition, either as workers, managers or entrepreneurs." Carnoy (2005) has argued that today's massive movement of capital depends on information communication and knowledge in the global markets, and because knowledge is portable it lends itself easily to globalisation. For the developing world, the university is central to the process of knowledge production and dissemination. However, it has adopted a social re-constructivist model in which teacher education is now the sole mandate of universities, including those in South Africa. Unfortunately, there is a shortage of teachers qualified and competent to teach specific subjects: mathematics, sciences and technology education (MSTE), arts and culture, economic management, and languages (Integrated Strategic

Planning for Teacher Education and Development in South Africa [ISPTEDSA], 2011). Responding to this inability of universities to educate and train a sufficient number of teachers, South Africa's Minister of Higher Education, Blade Nzimande, allocated funds to help improve graduate output and foundation programmes to improve the success rates of students from disadvantaged educational backgrounds (Bua-News, 2012). Our argument is that higher education and teacher education as a commodity is implicated in global and regional trade networks (Giddens, 2003). It is therefore essential that we tackle conceptual issues pertaining to globalisation and internationalisation.

Conceptual issues of globalisation and internationalisation

This paper is built around the two key concepts of globalisation and internationa-lisation, for which an upfront understanding of subsequent discussions is crucial. De Wit (2011) argues that both globalisation and internationalisation are complex phenomena with many strands, and the distinction between internationalisation and globalisation although suggestive, cannot be regarded as categorised. They overlap and are intertwined in all kind of ways. Beginning with globalisation, it is an economic phenomenon that has discernible political and social connotations and is intrinsically bound to western cultural imperialism and advanced by an alliance between the world's largest corporations and the most powerful governments (Korten, 2001). This alliance is backed by the power of money and its defining project is to integrate the world's national economies into a single, borderless global economy in which mega-corporations are free to move goods and money anywhere in the worlds that affords an opportunity for profit without governmental interference (Brandenburg & De Wit, 2011).

Singh, Kenway and Apple (2005) conceptualise globalisation as a widely contested concept that has many and varied implications for educational policies, pedagogies, and politics of nation states. They categorise the literature into two sets, namely, "globalisation from above" (Singh et al., 2005:1) and "globalisation from below" (Singh et al., 2005:1). According to these scholars, the former has globalising tendencies, such as internationalisation, marketisation, universalisation, westernisation and deteriorisation, which entrench a top-down perspective. They assert that the top constitutes the top multinational corporations and multi- or supra-national political organisations. The master narrative in this regard is neo-liberal economics, with its calls for state legislated and protected trade and structural adjustment in national economies. "Globalisation from below" (Singh et al., 2005:1), they contend, is sensitive to the unevenness and disjunctions in the practices and consequences of neo-liberal globalism. They point out that those who have interest in "globalisation from below" (Singh et al., 2005:1) are also interested in deteriorisation, flows, mesh-works, speed, time/space reorganisation, virtuality, the fluid, the flexible, and the new.

Arshad-Ayaz (2008) defines globalisation as a phenomenon that subsumes into itself political, economic, social and cultural dynamics of the contemporary world. These dynamics, she asserts, include the post-Cold War uni-polarity marked by the emergence of the United States as the sole political and military super power; the ascendancy of the neo-liberal economic agenda and forces; an increased cultural contact on a global scale facilitated by ICTs, as well as cultural fragmentation manifested in the emergence of local identities and nationalism. Of concern to Singh et al. (2005) are the complex and contradictory experiences of diverse people whose lives are made poorer and marginalised by the trade and investment patterns of economic globalisation, particularly in the developing world or the south. According to Altbach, Reisberg and Rumbley (2009) globalisation is a key reality in the 21st century and has profoundly influenced higher education. Indeed, education is a crucial arena in which globalising processes modulate material and territorial place, space, cultures, identities, and relationships (Singh et al., 2005). Our concern is how higher education in SSA is used to serve the needs of economic globalisation.

Internationalisation, in contrast, is a philosophical ideology that is not economic in genesis but political and social in intent. It is defined as the variety of policies and programmes that universities and governments implement to respond to globalisation (Altbach et al., 2009). It is inherently a left-of-centre political ideology with a heavy emphasis on economic cooperation. It is an ideology that is similarly geared towards a decrease of international barriers but with the aim of the economic betterment of the planet, not the perpetuation of power and privilege in the hands of the western dominated economies we see at work with the forces responsible for globalisation (Brandenburg & De Wit, 2011). Internationalism denounces the dominance of western ideology over non-western societies, which makes it the ideological antithesis of globalisation. Globalisation contains no such humanitarian concerns; it is an economic creed dedicated towards modernisation and capitalism. Therefore, internationalism is the inspiration behind the establishment of many political parties and organisations around the world.

Contextualising teacher education policy in sub-Saharan Africa Arshad-Ayaz (2008) asserts that the major defining educational policies worldwide are the state, market and international agencies such as the World Bank and IMF. She argues that globalisation has had a direct impact on education in the developing countries through finance-driven reforms. The main force behind these reforms is the World Bank, which has made its ideology of globalisation central to its statements on educational policy (Korten, 2001). The higher education and teacher education landscape, particularly in SSA, is complex and varies from one country to another and within each country. As Mamdani (2007:132) states: "there is no part of Africa that is the same as anywhere else because every part has its specificity". However, due to globalisation and the rise of the new economy, we note the "blurring of boundaries among markets, state and higher education" (Slaughter & Rhoades, 2004:24) in which teacher education is located. As a contested terrain, teacher education discourse in SSA is dominated by a positivistic paradigm that is implicated in the dictates of neo-liberal economic policies and ideologies germane to the new economy. Countries in SSA are therefore like nations in other regional blocks that have committed themselves to the achievement of UNESCO's Education for All (EFA) goals and the United Nation's Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which include the achievement of completion of primary education by all learners (Universal Primary Education [UPE]) by 2015 (Anamuah-Mensah, Buckler, Moon, Ricketts, Sankale, Wolfenden & Pon-tefract, 2008). For example, UNESCO's ten-year Teacher Training Initiative for sub-Saharan Africa (TTISSA, 2006-2015) advocates a holistic approach to meeting both the quantitative and qualitative challenges associated with teacher development.

Four outputs have been identified: (i) improvement of the status and working conditions of teachers; (ii) improvement of teacher management and administration structures; (iii) the development of appropriate teacher policies; and (iv) the enhancement of quality and coherence of teacher professional development (UNESCO, 2007). The programme was launched in 17 countries in 2006 and would progressively incorporate all 52 SSA countries. Support to the development of teacher policies is a key dimension of TTISSA and addresses the need identified by member states for feasible, evidence-based, costed policies which respond to the current and evolving challenges.

A study by Anamuah-Mensah et al. (2008), on building an effective Open Education Resource (OER) environment for teacher education in SSA, shows that the dire need for qualified teachers in the region is exacerbated by the presence of a high percentage of untrained primary teachers in more than half of SSA. Worse is the negative effect on teacher supply of Human Immunosuppresive Virus (HIV)/Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) and the migration of trained teachers to other countries and jobs inside their countries. All these factors play a contributory role in the low levels of pupil achievement and low rates for completion of primary schooling. If SSA is to meet its teacher need, currently estimated to be 4 million, it must adopt innovative and sustainable models of teacher development that include use of new forms of ICTs, such as the TTISSA and the Teacher Education for Sub-Saharan Africa (TESSA) models. While not downplaying the merits of such initiatives, we argue, following Stromquist (2002:63), that this is how "the local reacts to the global by creating specific, if not unique responses" to challenges in teacher education and education in general. Indeed, for the purposes of reciprocation we further argue for the globalisation of local innovations or initiatives from Africa generally and SSA in particular, in order to sustain a fair global alliance and coexistence.

The quality of educational delivery remains a challenge in many of the SSA education systems, leading to high repetition and dropout rates, with many millions of children not completing primary schooling. The repetition rate at the primary level remains the highest among all regions of the world, even though it decreased from 17.4% to 13.1% between 1999 and 2006. The primary cohort completion rate of 67% in SSA for the school year ending 2005 is still very low (UNESCO, 2008). The demographic and practical realities facing teacher supply and demand accentuates the need for more qualified teachers, especially in MSTE, and local languages. The pupil enrolment has engendered pupil-teacher ratios in SSA increasing from 41:1 to 45:1 since 1999, and may increase to 58:1 if all 35 million primary-age children not in school are enrolled (UNESCO, 2009). The situation is more serious in some countries in conflict or post-conflict positions. In Mozambique and Rwanda, for example, it is 67:1 and 66:1, respectively (UNESCO, 2009), and in Congo 83:1 (Anamuah-Mensah et al., 2008).

Globalisation and internationalisation: The underpinning thoughts on higher education In the context of the six research questions, we turn to a discussion of globalisation and internationalisation. De Wit (2011) argues that the international dimension of higher education has become more central on the agenda of international organisations and national governments, institutions of higher education and their representative bodies, student organisations and accreditation agencies. According to Arshad-Ayaz (2008), the neoliberal economic rationality of globalisation has framed the restructuring of education in such a manner that its function has changed from production of knowledge, to production of management of wealth (economic management). In this regard, Banya (2008) points out that globalisation has shifted the values of higher education in SSA towards a capitalist political economy. He reasons that the common language of globalisation emphasises concepts such as "outputs" (Banya, 2008:231), "outcomes" (Banya, 2008:231), quality, accountability, value for money, efficiency, and managers. He argues further that globalisation has at least four far-reaching implications for higher education in SSA: (i) the constriction of monies available for discretionary activities; (ii) the growing importance of technoscience and fields closely involved with markets, particularly international markets; (iii) the tightening relationship between multinational corporations and state agencies concerned with product development and innovation; and (iv) the increased focus of multinationals on global intellectual property rights. The implication, according to Banya (2008), is that higher education has shifted more to supporting an economy that is knowledge-intensive at a global level.

Chinnammai (2005) points out, through globalisation of higher education and in particular teacher education, knowledge transfer from the western countries into developing countries is intended to improve the skills and capabilities of the people receiving it, but may also shape the behaviour, outlooks and values of the recipients. Thus, a key feature of globalisation is the permeability of borders not only for goods, services and capital, but also for knowledge, popular culture and people. In this global era, teacher education reform initiatives such as TESSA and TTISSA can be seen as "global practices that produce systems of inclusion and exclusion" (Popkewitz, 2000:158).

Marketisation and commoditisation of higher education

In examining the marketisation of higher education the researchers look at its impact on the restructuring of higher education, of which teacher education is a component, in order to suit the needs of an economic growth project being pushed by a neo-liberal economic agenda. This includes the dictates of international finance capital for new markets, skilled personnel and cheap labour. These global imperatives have a deleterious impact on a few areas such as curriculum reform, teaching and learning, research and renewal in the SSA academy. For example, in much of SSA higher education, research has been accorded priority over teaching, with traditional rewards for faculties engaged in research for individual accomplishment (Highfield & Lawton, 2010). Guemide and Mehdani (2010) reason that the growth of research funding and private higher education has been faster than that of public funding in some areas, although higher education is still largely funded by the public purse. When government funding supports research, it understandably targets projects that have a bearing on national development (Chinnammai, 2005). An associated effect also linked to globalisation is a research presence that tends to be more applied than theoretical and in some cases benefits international and local capital, directly or indirectly.

Such imperatives have led to the "commodification, consumerism and marketi-sation" (Brown, 2005:174) of teacher education germane to a neo-liberal global agenda in higher education. In the context of commodification of education, democracy within higher education is becoming increasingly replaced by the concept of service provision, with the consequence that it is market mechanisms rather than democratic structures that characterise the steering of universities (Garret, 2000). For the training of teachers, the lack of a democratic agenda and values education impacts negatively on schooling in general. This fails to reflect the complex role of education, both in societal and individual terms (Giroux, 2008). Our agendas for access, equity and transformation in the academy are being thwarted by efforts to ensure that the academy aligns its vision and mission to a global economic agenda (Errante, 2008). Thus, we see privatisation of higher education making inroads into the academy, as we are all now concerned with cost units and viability of programmes through their exchange value on the market (Giroux, 2008). There is a threat to education and other humanities and social sciences in particular, because we fail to justify the utilitarian value of education and teacher education in particular. We need to understand that the very discourse of globalisation and internationalisation in higher education is always produced in connection with power relations (Fischer, 2009) which impact on the epistemologies and philosophies we adopt in teacher education. We further believe that due to greater focus on the larger picture, the processes of globalisation and interna-tionalisation, if not properly managed, can gloss over some valuable needs unique to a particular nation or region.

Globalisation and internationalisation of higher education

As can be deduced from our postulation of the nature of globalisation, theoretically, the researchers are informed by critical theory and the work of postcolonial theorists such as Fanon (1963) and Bhabha (1994). Critical theory enables a "disciplined questioning of the ways in which power works through the discursive practices of performances" (Popkewitz & Brennan, 1998:287), including those ofhigher education, with SSA at the receiving end of its vicissitudes as it impacts on the daily lives of those who work and live in the academy and civil society (Mills, 2002). As a theoretical framework, critical theory, "consistently maintains a dialectical view of society, claiming that social phenomena must always be viewed in their historical perspectives" (Mills, 2002:24). Its power, as espoused by the Frankfurt School of Thought, lies in its articulation of "societal conditions [being] historically created and heavily influenced by asymmetries of power and special interests, and [their being] made subjects of social change" (Alvessono & Skoldberg, 2009:145).

In trying to conceptually link globalisation and teacher education, we need to understand the dialectical relationship between the state, international capital, and the production and distribution of knowledge in a global economy. In the SSA academy it is easier for us to see how the dimensions of globalisation impact on the provision and trajectory of higher education, especially with the advent of ICTs in blended modes of teaching and learning. Hatch & Cunliffe (2006) and Badat (2010) argue that technology is an integral part of the discourse of power and social control and consequently the destruction of human social bonds. They argue that post-industrial capitalism, and in particular its associated technology, has shifted social values from those of truth and justice to efficiency, that is, attaining optimal performance by minimising the amount of energy expended to achieve maximum output. Korten (2001) argues that because of the imperative to replicate money, the system treats people as a source of inefficiency. He points out that the first industrial revolution reduced dependence on human muscle and now the information revolution is reducing dependence on our eyes, ears, and brains. The consequence of this, according to Korten (2001), is that the redundant now end up as victims of starvation and violence, homeless beggars, welfare recipients, or residents of refugee camps. Finally, he believes that continuing on our present course will almost certainly lead to accelerating social and environmental disintegration. Thus, social control is exercised when decisions about the value of a person, department or institution are based primarily on their ability to contribute to the efficiency of the system. For Guemide & Mehdani (2010), the application of economic standards as benchmarks has led to an international tendency to over-emphasise the practical, technical value of higher education. Such a tendency, they argue, causes tensions between the more profitable, applied subjects of science and technology, and those of basic theoretical enquiry, particularly in the humanities.

Ohmae (2005) argues that technology has linked societies with global information and it makes it possible for capital to shift instantly across borders. It has also allowed managers to become more flexible and respond more quickly to consumer preferences.

He goes on to say that technological change has sped up the internationalisation of production and the dispersion of manufacturing to newly industrialised countries, increased capital mobility, and cheaper transnational communications. Furthermore, producers can supply markets with new products, and process lifetimes have shortened. Conversely, as costs of research and development (R&D) have risen, firms have been forced to expand internationally, cross-border capital flows have increased, and markets have been liberalised. Industrialisation has raised living standards, and people have become better educated. With these structural changes, competition has intensified among states and firms for world market share. However, Wade (2002) argues that information and communication technologies are being oversold as a solution to higher efficiency of corporate and public organisations and to stronger responsiveness of government to citizen-customers. Wade (2002) posits that efforts to bridge the digital divide may cause developing countries to depend on the west. Less developed countries need more representation in the standard-setting bodies. Additionally, current attempts do not address issues of sustainability, such as computer servicing and training.

Wade (2002) addresses several common beliefs regarding information and communication technologies. First, the digital divide is a major unequalizing force in the world economy. Second, supplying more information and communication technologies to developing countries will solve the unequalization. Third, information and communication technologies will overcome infrastructural obstacles of developing countries. Fourth, normal cost/benefit analysis cannot be applied to information and communication technologies. Fifth, the high failure rate of information and communication technologies projects is a reflection of the need for more training. Wade (2002) disagrees with these beliefs, positing that the digital divide is actually a reflection of the income division. He also disagrees that the spread of computers will cause efficiency gains in firms and public administrations, or lower transaction costs. Wade (2002) believes that organisation inefficiencies will override potential benefits. Furthermore, the addition of ICTs in developing countries that do not have the capacity to maintain them will create a new "e-dependence" Wade (2002:444) on developed countries. Developing countries receive incentives from the World Bank to introduce new information and communication technologies, but this then ties them to open-ended commitments to suppliers for continued support. According to Wade (2002), less developed countries are disadvantaged by lack of income, skills, infrastructure, and in terms of standards and rules that are part of the international system. As a result of this, western suppliers have a disproportionate advantage.

The dimensions of globalisation and their impact on higher education Economic globalisation and higher education

Apple, Kenway and Singh (2005:3) have argued that neo-liberal "economics calls for state legislated and protected trade, structural adjustment in national economies" and the liberalisation of trade. As noted by Woods (2000) and Errante (2008:5), globa- lisation engenders gross inequalities within and among states and erodes the capacity of traditional multilateral institutions such as the WB, the IMF and the WTO to manage new threats brought about by it. As academics, we need to understand that the neo-liberal discourse of economic development is framed by "traditional economic theory, maximising behaviour in market settings, price theory, and the so-called allocative efficiency" (Caporaso & Levine, 1992:127), human resource development, costings, and private funding, all of which point to the dominant rationale for higher education being economic.

Political globalisation and higher education

We have an obligation to engage with the discourse about globalisation as a political production and its impact on higher education in terms of teaching, learning, research and academic citizenship. We are now witnessing a "restructuring" (Steans, 2000:455) and a re-ordering of the relationships between nations and "the increasing influence of transnational corporations, the complex global division of labour, and the intimate relationship between debt, development and environmental degradation, which are integral parts of the ongoing interconnectedness characteristic of globalisation" (Steans, 2000:455). For example, Mills (2002:25) argues that SSA's opportunities lie in international markets, even though these are far more competitive than local ones. Higher education is increasingly pressured by government to meet market standards set in international forums and bilateral or multi-lateral organisations such as UNESCO, thus restricting the scope and extent of their activity (Chinnammai, 2005:2). As Orr (1999:166) aptly states, "graduates of tomorrow will be trained above all, to keep the wheels of the global economy and international capital turning".

As governments require more compliance and productivity from higher education, these concerns have given rise to the role of external consultants to assist academics and university managers in change management and restructuring of the academy so that we are viable during this era of shrinking financial resources (Brown, 2005). There is great concern in the academy that globalisation is a process that surpasses national and local legislative and regulatory mechanisms, and presents new challenges in the regulation and provision of higher education as the latter is increasingly becoming an international enterprise (Chinnammai, 2005). This is the source of a corporatist style of management and the development of the entrepreneurial university with emphasis on quality education, quality assurance systems, and different modes of accountability models that are at the heart of performance appraisal in higher education. In teacher education we begin to see the adoption of models of initial professional education of teachers (IPET) and continuous professional development (CPD) that have been developed outside the continent being imported under the guise of universal knowledge. With reference to the key questions, we further argue that the benefits of concentrating value-adding activities in a few countries include gaining economies of scale and leveraging the special skills or strengths of particular countries.

Cultural globalisation and higher education

Pieterse (2004:25) has asked whether cultures around the world are eternally different, converging or creating new "hybrid" forms out of the unique combination of global and local ones. The students in particular are shaped into "global citizens" (Chinna-mmai, 2005:1), reflecting the effect of globalisation on culture and bringing about a new form of cultural imperialism. Guemide and Mehdani (2010) have argued that cultural imperialism is a threat to traditional cultures because the process of modernisation changes societies. For Bhabha (1994:251), "the post-colonial perspective forces us to rethink the profound limitations of a consensual and collusive liberal sense of culture community. It insists that cultural and political identity is constructed through a process of alterity." Education and teacher education in particular is part of this sphere. For us, this process is further compounded by unclear notions of learner-centred approaches to teaching and learning that are brought about by prepackaged curricula through the use of re-usable learning objects or OERs. The introduction of OERs, while it is a move in the right direction in terms of reducing costs to educational materials, is also justified by universities and teacher education programmes nationwide for achieving economies of scale.

Globalisation and technological advancements are delivering increasing access to the world and subsequently subjects should reflect this global outlook. Rifkin, in The Age of Access: The New Culture of Hypercapitalism where All of Life is a Paid-for Experience (2000:218), poses the question differently: "While property dealt with the narrow material question of what is mine and thine, access deals with the broader cultural question of who controls lived experience itself. As such, for Lyotard (1984), increasingly, the central question is becoming who will have access in this new postmodern world. The question for us is how should SSA higher education in this era of globalisation respond to these imperatives? We proffer a position that argues for the re-contextualisation of educational models and reforms such as OERs. As far as OERs in teacher education are concerned our suggestion is that African institutions should play a critical role in the production, storage and dissemination of such materials for the use by students and teachers. Emphasis should definitely be on mathematics, science, language and technology.

Social Globalisation and higher education

Social life facets are affected by globalisation, which has increased interconnectedness among the world's populations, whether economically, politically, socially or culturally (Guemide & Mehdani, 2010). However, Carnoy (2005) argues that globalisation is changing the very fundamentals of human relations and social life. If higher education is to assist the poor in SSA gain access to knowledge and development then it should contribute to these kinds of capital. In South Africa, social inequalities persist and in the past they were embedded and reflected in all spheres of life, including higher education, as a systematic exclusion of Blacks and women under colonialism and apartheid. The social exclusion of some categories of people continues (HansPeter & Schumann, 1997) but we should learn from critical theorists such as Foucault and begin to see multiple power relations embedded in globalisation and the inter-nationalisation of higher education in SSA. For the researchers, what is important is the construction of an African organic intellectual identity in the era of globalisation and how race, class, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and power relations are implicated in the process (Gramsci, 1977:35).

How do African intellectuals transcend the two-tiered racialised institutional structure prevalent in most SSA universities and how do we learn from the wider Africa on this point? Mamdani (2007) states that the African intellectual is central to the process of political, cultural and academic identity formation through decolonisation and deracialisation of civic democracy, at the individual, institutional and processual level, the latter being the hardest and the slowest of all. These intellectuals can push the decolonisation and democratisation of civic democracy, through a combination of a change in institutional power, deracialised institutions and intellectual freedom. They require fruitful, intellectual and democratic debates which are key to advancing the frontiers of knowledge in SSA. Such an approach is a responsive resource that strikes into the future. Mamdani (2007:132) alludes to this project being an intellectual rebirth, a reawakening of the mind and a change in consciousness. It calls for a rethinking and rewriting of history, thereby creating a sense of self-worth and a renewed sense of agency.

These issues need to be inserted into discourse practices of teacher education and education in general. The starting point is the school curriculum, to be followed by the re-writing of school textbooks. The way we train teachers is also essential in the development of practitioners who will eventually mould the minds of our children. We are therefore arguing for the education of a teacher who will be committed as a professional and reflective practitioner, grounded in subject matter and pedagogical content knowledge. Such a teacher should also be exposed to critical pedagogies and educational epistemologies that are based on an oppositional discourse that is not an apologia for a positivistic stance in teacher education.

 

Conclusion

The arguments in this paper focused on aspects of globalisation and internationa-lisation of higher education in SSA, arguing that free market regulation ideologies privilege neo-liberal global knowledge economies that impose on higher education institutions their curricula, pedagogies, research goals, discourses, funding practices, performance-related budgets and orientations. We pointed out that the different processes of globalisation and internationalisation reflect and result from a political tendency to perceive the self-regulation of the market as a universal instrument to reach the triad of innovation, economic progress and competitiveness of societies. We make the point that the challenges brought about by globalisation and interna- tionalisation of higher education will require interdisciplinary groups to solve them through gathering and sharing of knowledge across disciplines, institutions and other institutions on a global scale. We have to be guided by our socio-economic context for us to be able to expose our students to an engaging learning environment in which they can eventually be critical workers located in the needs of the SSA, yet able to understand hermeneutically what globalisation means in terms of its close interests with international capital. We need to lead the struggles against the processes in which globalisation through culture, capital, technology and the media affects the daily lives of knowing people in SSA. This can only be possible if we decentre the subject so that we collectively subvert how globalisation directs the conscience of the knowing subject in SSA and the academy.

We agree with critical theorists that we have to reconstruct the subject through reimagining and reworking education to become responsive by constructing transformative policies, pedagogies and politics that enable intergenerational engagements with changing global/national imperatives (Singh et al., 2005:114). In this way, the curriculum is orientated around transformative engagements through transformative education that enables public and private institutions, as well as citizens, to engage in a whole-of-society transformation, in continuity with values of community wellbeing enacted through global/national cultural flows of risks, power, knowledge, capital, people, technology and information. In the process we free the subject from power that subdues and subjects and the prevailing power relations that fuel globalisation of higher education. Finally, as the global system itself comes under strain, the need for the developing world to re-examine the relationship between higher education, in particular teacher education, in sub-Saharan Africa and the west, becomes more, not less, urgent.

 

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