Volume 28, 2008
Philosophy in Africa
Some Reflections on the African University
Some of the African universities were established just over half a century ago, the overwhelming majority of them coming into being after independence. They came into being largely not on the basis of the desire of the African peoples but rather to serve a purpose related to colonialism. Even when this was not the purpose, the way they were established and organized, i. e. irrelevant curricula biased against the local knowledge and culture and an equally biased faculty made higher education in Africa into a white elephant. Lack of resources and irrelevance of curricula did not enable the African university to play the role that is expected of it. The developments since the 1980s show the dependence of African universities. The so‐called reforms of the World Bank and Co. are meant to reduce African universities to vocational schools. Taking these into account the paper argues that the African university must try to recreate itself by overcoming extraversion and restructuring itself in such a way that it is ready to use universal knowledge without undermining indigenous knowledge.