When I shared this first JEFCAS Working Paper on Monday I did not get the opportunity to explain more about it.
JEFCAS has the strategic aim of building long-term partnerships with a small number of African Universities and this paper is a literature review which explores the role that North-South University partnerships might play in building capacity. Rapid expansion of Higher Education is a global challenge and partnerships in research and teaching are one way to build capacity. Our partnership with Mzumbe University (Tanzania) now has almost 200 students enrolled on Masters programmes designed and accredited by the University Bradford but delivered by Mzumbe University. Students and Staff of Mzumbe now have access to electronic library resources that were previously unavailable.
Arguably one of the greatest functions of Universities is the creation and sharing of knowledge but this remains very unequally resourced across the Globe. Most Universities in Africa have limited library resources and poor access to electronic journals (the production and access to these being controlled by a combination of academic ‘gatekeeping’ and large publishing companies- George Monbiot goes as far as to call this a ‘racket’ and an unethical way of using public money).
In JEFCAS we plan to start in a small way sharing research and evolving ideas directly via this blog through the production of briefing and working papers. It is argued that academic convention and snobbery must transform using the possibilities that on-line publishing have to offer. We will still put our outputs through a process of peer review (where comments are invited from experts in the field prior to publication) but will also make emerging ideas available to a wider body of academics, students and anyone one else with any interest in what we have to say. We want and welcome feedback, critique, comment and argument.