Harmonisation of higher education in Africa: 20 years after the Bologna Process

Keywords: Africa, African Union, Bologna process, Europe, European Union, harmonisation, higher education


It has been 20 years since the Bologna Process has been realized, and the present paper examines efforts made to harmonise higher education in Africa. Similar to other continents, the higher education reform in Africa is inspired by the Bologna Process. This is clearly reflected in the African Union strategy for harmonisation of higher education and different reforms and harmonisation initiatives. The reforms in African higher education are directly and indirectly influenced by the European Union which is also the main financer and technical partner in the development and implementation of higher education harmonisation in Africa. There are different factors that affect the institutionalisation and sustainability of harmonisation initiatives in Africa. Some of the major factors include lack of strong and genuine cooperation among African HEIs, lack of nations’ political commitment to higher reforms, and lack of contextualisation in adopting reforms and strategies. Although the effort to harmonise African higher education is commendable, it is important to look for innovative strategies and reforms which are mainly based on the actual challenges that Africa is facing and the ultimate goal it envisions to achieve. Africa also needs to earnestly ‘conainise’ (continentalise, nationalise and institutionalise) reforms and harmonisation strategies adopted from elsewhere.

Received: 18 October 2020
Accepted: 9 September 2021


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Author Biography

Abebaw Yirga Adamu, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia

Associate professor of education at Addis Ababa University. He holds PhD in Education and Society from the University of Tampere, Finland; MA in Lifelong Learning Policy and Management from the University of Aarhus, Denmark and University of Deusto, Spain (Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree); MEd in Multicultural and Multilingual Education from Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia. He was the Director of Ethiopian Institute for Higher Education, Addis Ababa University and the Director of Quality Assurance, Ethiopian Institute of Architecture, Building Construction and City Development, Addis Ababa University. He was NAFSA Global Dialogue Fellow (2019-2020), and UASP-Research Management and Leadership Fellow (2019). He is member of the Comparative and International Education Society, Ethio-Finland Alumni Association, Erasmus Mundus Student and Alumni Association, African Students Alumni Forum, and Advisory Board Member of the Ethiopian Journal of Social Sciences. His research interest includes higher education (policy, diversity, quality, internationalisation, harmonisation, and leadership) and lifelong learning policy and management.


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How to Cite
Adamu, Abebaw Yirga. 2021. “Harmonisation of Higher Education in Africa: 20 Years After the Bologna Process”. Tuning Journal for Higher Education 9 (1), 103-26. https://doi.org/10.18543/tjhe-9(1)-2021pp103-126.