This project has benefited from the generous funding of the European Union (EU) through the Marie Curie International Incoming Fellowship granted the beneficiary, Dr Kwadwo Appiagyei-Atua to enable him undertake the Building Academic Freedom and Democracy in Africa (BAFADIA) project.
The purpose of the BAFADIA project is to assess and improve the protection for, and health of, academic freedom in universities of the nations of Africa. The project examines the constitutional and legal protection for academic freedom in the African nations, and then uses surveys to gather data from university staff concerning the effectiveness of institutional procedures designed to protect academic freedom, and the cultural and collegial commitment to academic freedom at departmental level within universities.
The BAFADIA project has Dr Kwadwo Appiagyei-Atua, from the School of Law, the University of Ghana, Legon, Accra, Ghana; and Professor Terence Karran, from the School of Education at the University of Lincoln in the U.K as it’s principal investigators. It involved the relocation of Dr. Appiagyei-Atua to the University of Lincoln for the two years as a Marie Curie International Incoming Fellow. The third year or return phase project involves dissemination of the project findings from Ghana.
The assessment was based on four indicators identified in the Recommendation – institutional autonomy, institutional governance, individual rights and freedoms and tenure.
Information – covering three to five of the indicators – was found for 44 countries, representing 80% of the total number of African countries.
The tally is broken into ‘free’ (for the countries that garnered between 75% to 100%), ‘partly free’ (50%-74%) and ‘not free’ (0%-49%).
The survey found nine countries (20.5%) to be ‘free’: Cape Verde, Ghana and South Africa (100%); Kenya (90%); Uganda (85%); Equatorial Guinea, Namibia and Seychelles (80%); and Rwanda (75%).
The largest conglomerate is found in the ‘partly free’ category – 20 countries, making up 45.5% of the total.
This is followed by the ‘not free’ category which is made up of 15 countries – Cameroon and Mauritania (45% each); with a score of 40% were Benin, Burundi, Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Lesotho and Niger; with 30% were Botswana, Congo (Brazzaville), the Democratic Republic of Congo and Gabon; followed by Zambia (25%), Gambia (20%) and Eritrea on zero.
The findings will be used for advocacy campaign to promote respect for academic freedom in higher education institutions in Africa.