Understanding Academic Freedom in Addis Ababa University: The Views of the Academics
AbstractOne of the academic debates about academic freedom has been the extent to which academic freedom has been exercised by academics by using some normative and quantitative approaches. Often times studies on academic freedom deal with the extent to which institutions comply with norms in terms of the rights of the academics on some international standards. This paper takes its departure by making an empirical investigation of how academics understand academic freedom by employing a qualitative approach. It presents an empirical investigation of the different conceptions of academic freedom among instructors of social sciences in Addis Ababa University. The study was undertaken from a phenomenographic point of view and four qualitatively different ways of understanding academic freedom, based on the distance between the self and perceived threats to academic freedom, were identified. The relationship between the different ways of viewing academic freedom suggests that a more pragmatic provisions for academic freedom and policy debates need to begin with and accommodative of academics’ views on the subject before making any meaningful point.
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