29 September 2011

Enshrined Higher Education

Education is the cornerstone for progress. It is pivotal to advance. All agree. But what to be educated in, and how, that is an other matter.

In contrast with current practices, a Higher Education based upon social constructs applicable to the continent of Africa can provide answers for current dichotomies between local relevance and vogue knowledge, disciplinary skills segmentation and holistic needs, and the incorporation of humanity.

My take? Independent thinking, un-copying of 'one size fits all' disciplinary (Western) approach, and reorientation towards enshrined education, sensitive to calling, context and culture.

How would this look for Africa?

African higher education provides thought leadership in the relational world, for instance in Community Science and Sustainability Science, by incorporating locally enshrined indigenous knowledge. Its universities are organised in a unique and appropriate way. In practice this means that the Vision for African Higher Education incorporates:
  • thinking in terms of “Inclusiveness”;
  • structuring in terms of “Hybrids”;
  • outcome in terms of “Cooperation”;
  • valuing in terms of “Engendering in Humans”.
In the day-to-day activities one experiences:
  • curriculum centering around postdiciplinary, inspirational learning;
  • integration of higher education with society;
  • assessment of values and ethics, to guide understanding of responsibilities of membership of the human race.
In such vision, the World-of-Things provides the physical tools to facilitate unlocking the potential of all people on earth. It connects us all, everywhere, everything, all the time, with any information. Of course communications channels provide for the time/place-independent connection with wellsprings of education.

African students, no doubt, will also be part of a world wide and distributed university, spending much time virtually present somewhere else, in individual strives to gain further knowledge, especially in the fields of communications skills (including reading, writing, and mathematics). However, students' prime time is spend in appropriate communities, honing skills of reasoning and cultural alignment.

Thus focussed and equipped, African Higher Education plays its unique and important role in scientific research, can lead multidisciplinary teams assuring universal acceptable approaches, engendering of communities of practice, incorporation of overarching checks and balances, targets benefiting all, assuring human measures, responsible execution, incorporation of complex mental and ethical traits, preservation of humanity, long term stability, resource balances, multi-path communications, authorized leadership, multifaceted embeddings, and incorporation of paradoxes. In short, assuring trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and global citizenship.

Based upon its context and culture, African higher education has a unique opportunity and responsibility to assure incorporation of good qualities into our collective existence to be able to respond human, regardless of circumstances.