The Context: Universities and their Developmental Role
Unlike most developed countries, the informal sector in developing countries, has not shrunk or vanished due to economic growth. Promoting socially inclusive development is high on the agenda of most governments and donors in the region. Universities have conventionally been seen as important actors in shaping the national systems of innovation.
The continued absence, or diminishing, engagement by universities with a large percentage of society, often referred to as the informal sector remains an important concern. There is a need to look beyond current teaching and research roles of the universities to examine its developmental role more closely. There has been a rich discussion on the role of ‘developmental universities’ as well as the need for universities to respond to changing contexts. These have been articulated in terms of a rethinking on the very idea of the university, thoughts on ‘re-imagining universities’, experiments on ‘multiversity’, ‘decolonising our universities’ and building a ‘global autonomous university’. Few of these debates however have fed into discussions on university reforms. How best can universities respond to these challenges and remain active partners in furthering knowledge and development?
Innovation for Inclusive development, IDRC perspective.