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Title: The influence of knowledge-based economy imaginary on higher education policies and practices in Tanzania
Author: Kahangwa, George Leonard
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2013
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This dissertation reports on a study that critically examines the influence of Knowledge - Based Economy (KEE) discourses on Higher Education (HE) in Tanzania. Its main contribution is empirical evidence from a low-income country (LIC); that the construction of a KBE has shaped HE policies and practices in ways that align with global political and economic trends, rather than with Tanzania's social and economic development concerns. In the late 1990s, multilateral organisations and international institutions, such as the World Bank, challenged countries to use HE to construct a KBE in order to more competitively participate in the global market economy. The World Bank argued that countries should have an efficient innovation system and workforce, developed through HE, that equips them with the knowledge and skills for a modem economy. Existing literature has highlighted different approaches and contested ideas on how a KBE can be constructed, and the extent to which KBE can be of benefit to a country's development in the global economy. To date, however, little research has been undertaken on the ways in which the Bank's particular imaginary of a KBE shapes the nature, form and outcomes of HE policies and practices in low-income countries (LICs). The aim of the present study is to explore the influence of KBE discourses on HE policies and practices in Tanzania. The study focused mainly on the World Bank's model of KEE, but also reviewed the perspectives presented in other models. To achieve the aim, the study adopted a Critical Cultural Political Economy of Education (CCPEE) theoretical framework to examine the articulation of KBE discourses in the policies and their influence on practices of selected higher education institutions (HEIs). The study employed a multi-site case study design; the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training (MoEVT) headquarters and two universities - The University of Dar-es-Salaam (UDSM) and Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA). This enabled the review of both national and institutional policies as well as practices in the respective universities. The participants of the study were education policymakers in Tanzania, University administrative officials, and Academics from the two universities. Three methods of data collection were employed, namely, documents review, indepth interviews, and group discussions (arranged as workshops). The data that were collected were analysed using Critical Discourse Analysis and Thematic Analysis. The main findings of the study are that the Bank's KBE imaginary has continued to link HE to foreign agendas and interests. HE policies have been influenced to largely serve the interests embedded in neo-liberalism which conflict with the wider social, politi,?al and economic interests of Tanzanians. Furthermore, KBE has transformed universities into business institutions. It has encouraged academics to act in a more commercial and competitive rather than collegial manner, and encouraged them to acquire business-like identities. In this way KBE has turned academics into subordinate agents of an exploitative economic system, workers for other institutions rather than their employers, and exhausted 'jacks of all trades', rather than disinterested specialised intellectuals. These can be traced back to the model of a KBE adopted in Tanzania. It is argued that LICs would be better served if they designed and implemented their own models of KBE that were more relevant for the countries' context. The study also sets out recommendations and areas for further research that it is hoped will assist the Tanzanian government and HEIs in Tanzania to begin to articulate an alternative vision of a KBE appropriate for Tanzanian development needs.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available