African higher education has recorded phenomenal growth in the last decades creating opportunities for millions of students—and in the process, building capacities for national, social and economic advancement. The sector, which is currently estimated to enroll some 20 million students however still needs to scale up, as the enrollment rate for the sector continue to remain in single digits in many countries.
The expansion however brought about numerous nagging issues pertaining particularly to quality and excellence. Despite massive financial injection, the sector remains one of the most, if not the most financially challenged in the world with implications for every facet of the higher education landscape.
Consequently, the narrative on African higher education has been disproportionately exhibited in a deficit mode, typically highlighting it in a crisis and defective mode—permanently. This phenomenon has relentlessly pushed the debates and dialogues to focus on challenges and problems, instead of focusing on what has been achieved so far and dampening the opportunities for success and excellence.
Despite the challenges and issues that have confronted the sector, some pockets of excellence—typically at institutional or departmental levels—have been well recorded. Some meagre body of knowledge, experience and perspectives on how these entities have overcome—and even thrived exists, creating an opportunity for a more nuanced narrative in advancing African higher education.
Accepted full papers will be published as AAU proceedings, following a presentation and feedback, as an outcome of the conference in 2023. Select papers will be published, after further review, as a special issue of the International Journal of African Higher Education—a South African based, peer-reviewed and accredited journal, listed on African Journals Online.