Culture Matters: The “Oga” Factor in African Higher Education

Jacob U' Mofe Gordon


Much has been written and reported, especially by the media about African Leadership and governance. A major coverage has focused on corruption and the lack of transparency; both issues emerging from the media within Africa and the West. The related literature suggests that the African people and the international community have levied the blame on African political leadership and Governance. Equally important is a growing public concern about African higher education. For example, the 2015 University Times Ranking has identified the top ten “best” universities: eight in South Africa and two in Egypt. The current lack of sustainable development; poverty, ignorance and disease; inadequate energy and water supply; and poor infrastructure constitute a major threat to peace and security in Africa. Thus, it may be concluded that African political leadership has failed the African people.  And, based on available indicators African higher education has also failed to deliver on the promise of post-Independence Africa, especially to its youth. This paper probes the role of the African academy in sustainable development and the improvement of African quality of Life (AQOL). In this context the paper examines the impact of culture in African higher education; it argues that the “Oga” factor within the African cultural milieu has exacerbated the situation. Based on its findings the paper proposes far-reaching recommendations for consideration and implementation by African educators, policymakers and relevant international organizations.


Culture, Oga, Leadership, Education.

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