Research in African universities to inform the Sustainable Development Goal for Education: visibility, gaps and future priorities
African research suffers from a crisis of visibility, often overlooked in global and regional policy debates. To redress this historical neglect this paper offers insights from a cross-national study of education research in 48 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. African universities’ research outputs are analysed to identify patterns in publication type, thematic foci and research methods. The extent to which universities are generating knowledge relevant to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) for Education is considered.
Located within a broader project to catalogue education research in sub-Saharan Africa and develop an online database, this paper focuses on the publications of university-based researchers. The dataset comprises social science research outputs relevant to education policy and practice published over the period 2011-2017, which was identified through a structured search of the Scopus academic database and process of expert consultation.
Building on previous national (da Silva & Oliveira 2017) and regional (MacLure 2006; Poirier et al. 2015) inventories of education research in Africa, this study is more comprehensive in scope, and the first to consider the extent to which research outputs are able to inform the SDG for Education. In exploring the degree of alignment, this study addresses the status and role of universities in relation to national, regional and global priorities and identifies strengths and potential gaps within the African research evidence base. It is hoped that this study will contribute to future research planning and policy prioritisation which capitalises on African knowledge and expertise.