Transmission and transformation in higher education: Indigenisation, internationalisation and transculturality

Kai Horsthemke


There have been various approaches to the transmission and transformation of systems, practices, knowledge and concepts in higher education in recent decades, chief among which are drives towards indigenisation, on the one hand, and towards internationalisation, on the other. After briefly discussing and dispensing with radical versions of these, theories that reject any claim to validity or legitimacy by the rival approach, this article examines more nuanced accounts that deserve appropriately serious consideration. Thus, in the former instance, there is an emphasis on the local that nonetheless acknowledges a debt to the global, whereas conversely the emphasis on the global is seen as compatible with an acknowledgement of diversity, difference and particularity. What is gained and what is lost in these various approaches to educational transmission and transformation? After reflecting, in this regard, on lessons from both Africa and Europe – in particular, on the debates in South Africa around Africanisation and decolonisation, and in Germany around global interdependence – I cautiously endorse the idea of ‘transculturality’ (as contrasted with ‘multiculturality’ and ‘interculturality’) as a promising philosophical perspective on transmission of knowledge and practices, and as conceptualising transformation of higher education. The role of philosophy, in particular, consists in part in counteracting the hegemony of both traditional and homogenising (‘colonising’) authority.


Africanisation; indigenisation; interculturality; internationalisation; multiculturality; transculturality; transformation

Full Text:



Submitted: 05 August 2016
Published: 24 April 2017

Comments on this article

View all comments

African Online Scientific Information Systems (Pty) Ltd t/a AOSIS
Reg No: 2002/002017/07
RSA Tel: 086 1000 381
International Tel: +27 21 975 2602
15 Oxford Street, Durbanville, Cape Town, 7550, South Africa
publishing(AT) replace (AT) with @

All articles published in this journal are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) license, unless otherwise stated.
Website design & content: ©2018 AOSIS (Pty) Ltd. All rights reserved. No unauthorised duplication allowed.
By continuing to use this website, you agree to our Privacy Policy.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Get specific, domain-collection newsletters detailing the latest CPD courses, scholarly research and call-for-papers in your field.


Transformation in Higher Education    |    ISSN: 2415-0991 (PRINT)    |    ISSN: 2519-5638 (ONLINE)