HERANA - Towards the Establishment of a Higher Education Research and Advocacy Network in Africa (completed)

This projects focus is on some of the complex links between higher education and economic development in Africa, with explicit aims to also provide information and establish networks for both researchers and policy-makers in Africa.


  1. A better understanding of the specific links between higher education and economic development in a country context. This will also shed light on how such links are differently institutionalised, or not.
  2. Evidence‐based information about the effects of higher education on attitudes towards democracy and a greater understanding of how this works in the higher education sector.
  3. A strategy, and pilot implementation, for a network of more coordinated information delivery modes (electronic, briefs, forums) of policy‐relevant information to decision‐makers.
  4. For the first time across a number of countries in higher education studies in Africa, a planned link between research, data and advocacy.
  5. Shared inter‐disciplinary higher education studies capacity‐building in a network of senior and junior researchers across a number of countries.
  6. A network of African higher education experts more closely linked to other international groupings.


The following are emerging at the moment as unique features of HERANA:

  1. Compare to an African context the principles – not copying practices – of three systems from OECD regions that have successfully connected higher education to development.
  2. A framework – the ‘development triangle’ – that explores the dynamics between the national, the institutional and the funders.
  3. Linking the idea of a pact to notions of development, at government and institutional levels.
  4. Investigating the strengthening of the academic core in the institutionalisation of development projects.
  5. The most comprehensive and systematic data set on a group of Sub‐Saharan African universities ever compiled.
  6. Established a working relationship with 8 universities in Africa with a ‘dedicated’ senior collaborating person in each university, and a contact in at least one government department.
  7. Established a linked, research‐based Masters in Higher Education Studies with 20 students from 8 different African countries and linked to the Erasmus Mundus Masters in Higher Education in Europe.
  8. Unprecedented concurrent research information dissemination – institution/government seminars, University World News, HERANA Gateway.
  9.  Results simultaneously useful to researchers, government, institutions and funders.


Relationship between HE and development

  • Higher education and economic development in Africa: Macro and micro perspectives (project led by Dr Pundy Pillay (Consultant) and Prof Peter Maassen (University
    of Oslo). Other members of the core research team include Dr Nico Cloete (CHET), Tracy Bailey (CHET), Dr Gerald Ouma (University of the Western Cape) and Romulo Pinheiro (PhD student / HEDDA / UiO)
  • Investigating some of the complex links between higher education and poverty reduction in Africa (led by Dr James Nkata (Makerere University) and includes the core
    team members of the economic development project)
  • Democratic citizenship and African legislatures projects (Under the leadership of Prof Robert Mattes, two research projects exploring the relationship
    between higher education and democracy are being undertaken by a research team from the Democracy in Africa Research Unit (DARU) at the University of Cape Town): Higher education and democratic citizenship and Higher education and national legislative institutions. A third project within the Higher Education and Democracy component of HERANA is investigating the relationship between student governance and democracy in three African universities (Nairobi, Dar es Salaam and Cape Town). The project is being co‐ordinated by Dr Thierry Luescher (University of the Western Cape). Other team members include Angolwisye Mwollo‐Ntallima (HEMA Masters student from Tanzania), Prof Njuguna Ng’ethe and Samuel Kiiru (University of Nairobi) and Dr David Court (consultant in Nairobi). Robert Mattes is assisting with the design of the survey and the analysis of the data.
  • At arm’s length: The relationship between research and policy in arts and culture (1992‐2007) a case study by Dr Harriet Deacon; The research–policy nexus: Mapping the terrain of the literature by Tracy Bailey.

Performance indicators

The first is a set of Institutional Profiles for all 23 South African universities that can be used by councils and institutional leadership to provide key indicators for governance and planning. The second component is a set of Efficiency Indicators for each of the major institutions in the eight African countries participating in the HERANA project. The final phase is to link the Institutional Profiles and the Efficiency Indicators so that ‘peer’ comparisons between institutions in eight other African countries can be made with relevant institutions in South Africa.

By combining the projects one of the most comprehensive ‘pictures’ of a set of African universities has been compiled, providing a complex understanding of how they ‘work’, both in terms of internal functioning and in linking to development.


  • HERANA Gateway - to contribute to the development of a network of higher education expertise in Africa and to provide a central point for the dissemination of research‐based information on higher education in Africa to relevant experts and decision‐makers.
  • UWN Special Africa edition and fortnightly Africa editions
  • Seminars - The third component of Advocacy is seminars with higher education communities, mainly institutional leadership, academics and government.


  • Ford Foundation (1 June 2007 – 31 May 2009)
  • Carnegie Corporation (1 October 2007 – 30 September 2009)
  • Kresge (1 February 2008 – 31 December 2010)
  • Rockefeller (1 July 2007 – 30 June 2010)


Senior researchers
  • Dr Pundy Pillay (Consultant, South Africa)
  • Prof Peter Maassen (University of Oslo, Norway)
  • Dr Nico Cloete (CHET)
  • Dr Charles Sheppard (NMMU)
  • Dr Gerald Ouma (CHET/University of the Western Cape)
  • Tracy Bailey (CHET)
  • Romulo Pinheiro (University of Oslo, Norway)
Research trainees
  • Patricio Langa (University of Cape Town)
  • Biko Gwendo (University of the Western Cape)
  • Francois van Schalkwyk (University of the Western Cape)
  • Sam Fogwa (University of the Western Cape)
Institutional contacts
  • Prof Esi Sutherland‐Addy & Naana Agyeman (University of Ghana)
  • and facilitators Dr Kishore Baguant (University of Mauritius)
  • Prof Isaac Mazonde (University of Botswana)
  • Dr Florence Nakayiwa‐Mayega (Makerere University)
  • Dr Daniel Mkude (University of Dar es Salaam)
  • Dr Charles Sheppard (Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University)
  • Patricio Langa (Eduardo Mondlane University)
  • Samuel Kiiru (University of Nairobi)
International reviewers
  • Prof David Dill & Dr James Sadler (University of North Carolina at
  • and contributors Chapel Hill)
  • Dr Misug Jin (Korea Research Institute for Vocational Education and
  • Training)
  • Prof Timo Aarrevaara (University of Helsinki)
  • Prof Johan Muller (University of Cape Town)
Published Sep. 20, 2010 1:22 PM - Last modified Mar. 9, 2015 9:21 AM


E-mail: Peter Maassen

Phone: +47-22844122