Africans are called upon to relocate from position of object to subject in order to gain a form of liberation presence, in the world. This was the sentiment of Prof Njabulo Ndebele at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) on Thursday, 3 August 2017.
Prof Ndebele, who is UJ’s Chancellor, was speaking at the launch the Ali Mazrui Centre. The Centre aims to improve the academic and career success of scholars in the competitive 21st-century of a transforming higher education system.
Prof Michael Cross, an education expert within the University’s Faculty of Education stated that the Centre is in line with UJ’s pan-African vision. “We would like this Centre to be a hub for critical intellectual engagement for African scholars in South Africa and across the continent who have a strong interest in the progress, challenges and opportunities facing African higher education,” he said.
The Ali Mazrui Centre will see evidence-based knowledge that contributes to promoting understanding of the role of higher education in social and economic development through scholarly research that is multi-disciplinary and policy relevant.
Prof Cross pointed out that the Centre will also help promote critical reflection on, and advocacy of, higher education issues through facilitating and providing a platform for dialogue among scholars, institutional leaders and policy-makers.
“While we are dedicated to finding suitable solutions to the challenges faced in our institutions and higher education system, we also envisage the day when, through postgraduate scholarships, sabbatical grants, visiting scholars and other scientific fellowships, we will promote mobility and engagement amongst African scholars through large intercontinental, multiple partnered and multi-year scholarship development and research projects,” added Prof Cross.
Prof Cross concluded: “A diversity of approaches to scholarship, such as theoretical, conceptual, applied, policy orientations, will be explored. The Centre has already taken pro-active steps in this regards by introducing a book series on African higher education. The project is intended to attract both authors and readers, internal and external to Africa, all of whom are focused on higher education, including those doing comparative work on Africa with other regions of the world and the global South in particular.”