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Concept Note: Private higher education



Concept Note

The Continental Education Strategy for Africa: Higher Education Series

Private higher education

Book Series Editor/Coordinator:
Professor Damtew Teferra


About the African Higher Education Series

The Continental Education Strategy for Africa (CESA) 2016-25 Higher Education Series is a strategic intervention in the advancement of higher education in Africa in keeping with the framework of CESA’s Higher Education Cluster. The Series is intended to systematically produce evidence-based knowledge in the thematic areas of the Higher Education Cluster through a rigorous process of collective academic and professional engagement with direct implications for policy, discourse and actions from continental perspectives guided by the African Union’s blueprint compass, Agenda 2063. The initiative is further intended to contribute to building the next generation of academics, researchers and policy makers in higher education.

The CESA Higher Education Series will publish thematic issues in a series along the established sub-cluster themes of the Higher Education Cluster. Each theme will be assigned a lead editor who will work closely with the coordinator of the Series.

The following five themes are identified to start the Series: (1) Harmonization, quality assurance and accreditation; (2) Research and graduate education; (3) Private higher education; (4) Scholarly publishing and knowledge dissemination; and (5) Curriculum, teaching and learning.


The Private Provision of Higher Education in Africa

Volume Editors:

Wondwosen Tamrat and Damtew Teferra


Brief Overview of the Volume

Private higher education is a recent phenomenon in many African countries, although a few institutions (especially religious ones) have a long history of existence in the continent. Recent reports indicate that private institutions across the continent outnumber their public counterparts, although their overall enrolment which stands at 18 percent remains far below the global average of 33 percent. Multiple developments including favourable policies have spurred the growth of PHE over the past four decades. The manifestations of a growing variety of institutional configurations and practices in different countries have, as a consequence, become a source of curiosity, interest and investigation for researchers, practitioners, and policymakers in the higher education sector and beyond. However, despite the growing importance of the concept and the practice, robust studies and publications are still lacking. There is certainly a serious need to produce much more knowledge and understanding about this emerging phenomenon.

This book is hence geared towards documenting, mapping and analysing key trends and contemporary themes in the private higher education sector in Africa. It intends to robustly feature historical developments, processes, trends, policy and regulatory frameworks on the development and expansion of private higher education and changes in the private higher education sector.

The book is anticipated to provide in-depth knowledge, rich perspectives and robust analyses on the subject through rigorous study and research by experts and leading authorities in the field from across the continent. In doing so, it will serve as a viable platform for conceptualizing, analysing, deliberating and disseminating knowledge in continental developments in PHE in Africa. Anticipated contributions from all the sub-regions of the continent blended with thematic issues, will not only bridge a critical knowledge gap in the field but also shape the discourse—one key objective of the African Higher Education Series. While the book solely focuses on Africa, the discussions and analyses should be undertaken in the context of global perspectives.


Chapter Outline/Contents

Each country case study is expected to cover the following contents which are given as a guideline. This does not, however, mean that all sections need to be addressed in the order given as this is left to individual authors who should decide how to address the points and organise their sections. Any relevant content which the author considers to be important can be added so long as the article remains within the word limits given. A rough estimation of the number of words expected for each section has been given to  indicate the balance needed in terms of focus, size and emphasis between the different sections of the chapter.


Proposed Sections

  1. Brief Country Profile-Demographic profile, economy, education status with emphasis on higher education (HE). (roughly 150 words)
  2. Establishment history (Brief background about how private higher education (PHE) began in light of the history of public higher education in the country; reasons that account for the emergence) (400- 500 words)
  3. Public policy for PHE (Policies on establishment of private institutions, ownership patterns, financing, accreditation, government support schemes, etc)- (up to 1500 words)
  4. Types of PHEIs and their interface (Types and size of private higher education institutions; Profile of students and staff vis a vis the public sector: number and gender of students, academic staff, etc; Types of PHEIs and their dynamics: the for- profit/not- for profit interface; Elite and semi-elite PHE; Proprietary/family owned PHEIs) (up to 2000 words)
  5. Teaching- Learning, Research and community service at PHEIs- Programs of study and courses offered; assessment schemes employed; experiences and realities in terms of how PHEIs are viewed and perform in teaching/learning, research and community service; PHE contributions and peculiar nature as compared to the public sector in all these and related functions (up to 2000 words)
  6. Issues of quality and quality assurance, partnerships, international linkages- the level of quality the PHE sector has achieved so far; graduate employability; the manners in which quality is assured/ accreditation is provided in the context of PHE; possible partnership schemes locally and at international level. (up to 2000 words)
  7. Sectoral weakness and strength, gaps and Challenges- An overview of sectoral weakness and strengths, lessons to be learnt and weaknesses to be addressed (1000- 1500 words)
  8. Conclusion, way forward (300-500 words)


Author Guidelines:


A written consent for participation is expected from chapter contributors in the first 3-5 days of receiving an email invitation from the editor/s.

Abstract Submission: An abstract of 150-200 words (with 3-4 keywords) indicating how chapter contributors intend to execute the task. It should be accompanied by a brief bio-data of contributors in not more than 60 words.

Full chapter word limit: 8000- 10,000

Referencing Style: APA (latest)


The peer review process

The peer review process mainly involves book editors. It may, however, include contributors who may be asked to review at least one other paper in addition to producing their own if this is considered to be useful in improving the quality of contributions.


Time Line

Abstract Submission: March 15, 2021

First Draft Submission: May 30, 2021.

Response from reviewers: June 15, 2021.

Final Submission: June 30, 2021

Submission to Publisher: July, 2021

Publication date: Nov, 2021



The African Higher Education Series is supported by the joint initiative of the Commissions of the African and European Union for higher education development within HAQAA2 Framework coordinated by OBREAL, in Spain. Each selected contributor will be paid a modest, pre-determined honorarium at the submission of the final and edited version of the manuscript, ready for typesetting.



Wondwosen Tamrat is associate professor and founding President of St. Mary’s University in Ethiopia. He is an affiliate scholar of the Program for Research on Private Higher Education (PROPHE) headquartered at the State University of New York at Albany, US. He coordinates the Sub-Cluster for Private Higher Education in Africa under the African Union’s Higher Education Cluster of the Continental Education Strategy for Africa, CESA 2016-25.



The Higher Education Series will be headed and coordinated by Prof. Damtew Teferra. Teferra is professor of higher education studies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. He is the Founding Director of the International Network for Higher Education in Africa at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and the co-coordinator of the CESA Higher Education Cluster, and book series editor of The Higher Education Series. For more details see: http://www.inhea.org/the-african-higher-education-series/



Wondwosen Tamrat, Lead Editor; Associate Professor of Higher Education. St. Mary’s University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Email: preswond@smuc.edu.et/  wondwosentamrat@gmail.com

Prof. Damtew Teferra, Book Series Editor; Professor of Higher Education, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa.  Email: teferra@bc.edu