Original Research - Special Collection: COVID-19

The construction of a post-academic university: Opportunity or status quo?

Ida H.J. Sabelis
Transformation in Higher Education | Vol 5 | a94 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/the.v5i0.94 | © 2020 Ida H.J. Sabelis | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 08 September 2020 | Published: 27 November 2020

About the author(s)

Ida H.J. Sabelis, Department of Organization Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, the Netherlands


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Abstract

Background: Over the last two decades it has become increasingly urgent to rethink current hurdles and opportunities for higher education, not just in the Global North, but in the effects of Northern policies globally.

Aim: For the last 6 years a team of European scholars worked on a book entitled, Academia in Crisis (Donskis et al. 2019), AiC as it will be referred to in the article, inspired by the works of our late colleagues Zygmunt Bauman and Leonidas Donskis.

Setting: Tamara Shefer from the University of the West Cape (UWC) was invited to provide a foreword to AiC, providing a perspective from the Global South.

Method: This served to question underlying dimensions of mutual influence: neo-coloniality in times where the demand for decolonization from South African colleagues is strong and justified.

Results: It seems urgent, in the light of recent cooperation and mutual support between these two parts of the world, to reflect on recent developments in and around higher education. What currently ‘neo-colonises’ higher education? More or less parallel to AiC, Rob Pattman and Ronelle Carolissen produced Transforming Transformation in 2018 with the promising subtitle ‘South African offerings’.

Conclusion: Combining insights from those two works leads to renewed inspiration, at least in terms of new debates and questions about the present and future of higher education, especially following the current pandemic with all the effects it has had on collegial cooperation, locking down of universities, and perhaps some thinking time over managerialisms and other power processes in academic work.


Keywords

Europe; South Africa; higher education; post-academic university; neoliberal systems; decolonial; alternatives; transformation; post-pandemic university.

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