A Review of Academic Freedom in African Universities through the Prism of the 1997 ILO/UNESCO Recommendation

By Kwadwo Appiagyei-Atua, Klaus D. Beiter, and Terence Karran

Abstract:

In Europe, Australia, and the United States, the ILO/UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Higher-Education Teaching Personnel has been honored more in the breach than in its observance. Now that Africa has returned to an ethos of democratic culture and refinement of the role of the university in the globalization era, the time has come for it also to be assessed on its level of compliance with the ILO/UNESCO Recommendation. This essay takes up that assessment based on four indicators identified in the ILO/UNESCO Recommendation: institutional autonomy, individual rights and freedoms, institutional self-governance, and tenure. The article concludes that academic freedom has found its way back into African universities after its almost complete annihilation between independence and the collapse of the Berlin Wall. However, reforms undertaken in the globalization era in many African universities have undermined gains made in respect to academic freedom during that time.

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