Higher Education Reform: Looking Back – Looking Forward

Second Revised Edition

by Pavel Zgaga (Volume editor) Ulrich Teichler (Volume editor) Hans G. Schuetze (Volume editor) Andrä Wolter (Volume editor)
©2019 Edited Collection 468 Pages


The central focus of this book is the concept of higher education reform in the light of an international and global comparative perspective. After decades of far-reaching reform, higher education around the world has profoundly changed and now has to face the challenges of the present. This volume takes a close look at these changes, the drivers of change, their effects and possible future scenarios. In their contributions the authors discuss a variety of basic concepts: learning and teaching in higher education; financing and quality assurance; governance change; massification vs. equity and equality; internationalization and mobility, the implementation of lifelong structures in higher education.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title Page
  • Copyright Page
  • About the editors
  • About the book
  • Citability of the eBook
  • Contents
  • Acknowledgments
  • Forword to the second edition
  • Reforming Higher Education for a Changing World
  • Section A Changing Contexts and Directions
  • The Future of Higher Education: Views from Higher Education Research
  • Mass to Market Higher Education Systems: New Transitions or False Dawn?
  • How to Gain Global Connectivity While Retaining Respect for Local Variations?
  • Section B Changing Environments and Missions of Higher Education
  • Introductory Note
  • Reforming European Universities:
  • Higher Education Reform: Why Did It Start and Has It Ended? An Analysis of the Japanese Case
  • Trends in Chinese Higher Education:
  • Massification and Diversity:
  • Section C Academic Freedom: A Story Whose Ending is Uncertain
  • Introductory Note
  • Academic Freedom under Pressure: From Collegial Governance to New Managerialism
  • Academic Values and English Higher Education
  • Five Defences of Academic Freedom in North American Higher Education
  • Section D Globalization, Privatization and the Future of Public Higher Education
  • Introductory Note
  • Trends in Private Higher Education in Mexico
  • Can Reform Policies Be Reformed?
  • Private Higher Education in Canada and the United States: Development, Reform, and Likely Futures
  • Section E Higher Education and Lifelong Learning
  • Introductory Note
  • Towards a Quaternary Education and Lifelong Learning System: A Perennial Declamation or an Imminent Future for Higher Education?
  • Higher Education and Lifelong Learning in the 21st Century: Policies and the Current State of Realization in Europe
  • Intergenerational Equality and Higher Education: Towards an Age-Friendly Higher Education?
  • Opening up Higher Education for New Target Groups in Germany: A Case Study for the Development of University Lifelong Learning
  • MOOCs: Unbundling in Higher Education
  • Editors
  • Contributors
  • Index


Each book is a result of the efforts and contributions of many individuals and institutions. All of these efforts can’t be always determined on basis of information on editors and contributors. Therefore, we would like to specifically thank those who have the most merits, but who remain ‘behind the curtain’.

First of all, we would like to thank the Hans-Böckler-Stiftung in Düsseldorf, Germany, which made a financial contribution to the publication of this book. We also thank the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia for its support, both financial and moral, of the organization of the 10th International Workshop on Higher Education Reform, the main source of the contribution to this volume.

Furthermore, two other authors have also contributed significantly to the editing: In their capacity as assistant editors, William A. Bruneau and Germán Álvarez Mendiola have edited Part 3 and 4 of this book. Further on, Fanny Isensee from Humboldt University in Berlin has contributed greatly in the editing of Part 5.

Last but not least, Sina Westa and Sintayehu K. Alemu, early stage researchers from University of Ljubljana, assisted in the overall review of the manuscript and prepared Index.

August 2015


Forword to the second edition

The publisher’s message that the first edition of this monograph was favorably received in public and that it was sold out was certainly welcome news for editors and authors of chapters. We gladly accepted the invitation to prepare a new revised edition. Higher education reforms are a dynamic phenomenon and, therefore, updates were provided for almost all chapters regarding both substance and references. The last chapter (McClure) was written practically anew. In addition, the contributors’ CVs were updated, and a few remaining typos were corrected.

The Index has been checked and updated by Nika Šušterič, early stage researcher from University of Ljubljana.

We hope that this new edition will also be of interest to the readers.

July 2018


Pavel Zgaga, Ulrich Teichler, Hans G. Schuetze and Andrä Wolter

Reforming Higher Education for a Changing World

After four or five decades of far-reaching reform, higher education around the world has seen profound changes. This history, combined with the challenges of the present, gives an opportunity to look at the bigger picture of these changes, the drivers of change, their effects as well as possible future scenarios. Some drivers of future change are already manifest, whereas others might still be obscure. Those that are manifest include the massive growth in participation in higher education and the increasing differentiation of higher education systems, the revolution of information and communication technologies and the emergence of new social media, along with the impact of globalisation and international competition.

Related to this latter development are the expanding marketisation and privatisation of higher education, the international rankings of ‘world class universities’, altering forms of university governance and the changing role of the academic profession. Especially noticeable and profound are changes in the role of students from ‘learners’ to ‘consumers’, enhanced in many countries by steep increases in tuition fees as the financial crisis and ensuing cuts in public budgets have forced higher education institutions, particularly universities, to look for additional resources from students and their families. Besides the ‘internal privatisation’ of public universities, i.e. the adoption of management techniques and cost-benefit calculations developed and used by private corporations, the private sector of higher education has also grown, mainly to absorb demand that cannot be met by the public sector. Even in continental European countries where virtually all higher education used to be public (with the exception of some non-academic post-secondary training institutions), there are now private higher education institutions and their number and enrolment levels have been steadily rising.

It can be safely predicted that online learning and individual study will have a significant impact on traditional, campus- and classroom-based higher education. Although still in their infancy, the rise of massive open online courses (MOOC) is already attracting much attention. In one possible future, campus-based university education would be reserved for a few students whereas the majority would learn mostly or exclusively on-line, independently or in virtual ←13 | 14→classrooms (networks). Many of these developments and trends put in question the traditional role of universities as places for independent research and teaching and thus the established notions of institutional autonomy and academic freedom.

On the agenda of studies of higher education worldwide, these issues are at the forefront of interest of the authors of the present monograph. They analyse and debate a variety of basic concepts: learning and teaching in higher education; financing and quality assurance; governance change; massification vs. equity and equality in higher education; internationalisation and mobility, the implementation of lifelong structures in higher education etc. However, the central focus of this monograph is the concept of higher education reform in an international and global comparative perspective.

Higher education reform

One can say that the modern history of higher education is, in fact, the history of the reform of higher education systems. The question of the extent to which the changes were intended or spontaneous remains open: processes of spontaneous change in higher education, for example, as a result of demographic or economic dynamics, have led to more or less thoughtful reforms, but the reforms have sometimes led to unexpected – or even unwanted – results. Development and change have characterised the history of universities, but after the Second World War they became much more intensive and practically incomparable with previous periods. The war cut deeply into academic institutions and academic life. When it ended, there were 201 registered universities in Europe but in the following decades this number quickly grew and, in addition to universities, other higher education institutions were established in many countries. When considering the period after 1945, Walter Rüegg, the distinguished historian of the university, identified three main “themes”: “the idea of reform”, “the destruction of the ivory tower” and “the provincialization of European universities, the loss of their world dominance in research and instruction” (Rüegg 2011: 3). The time around the middle of the twentieth century thus represents a profound break in the developmental trajectory of higher education and research.

In much of the world, the post-war period was a period of reconstruction; however, it was also a period of new competition between countries or political blocs. These generic tags of the post-war period cannot be ignored when we talk about development and change in higher education. Rüegg says that “[r];eal university reform began after 1955” (ibid.: 13): wider social, economic and political ←14 | 15→constellations combined with internal dynamics in higher education institutions produced a wave of reform, which has been continuously intensified until today.

In the post-war period, the demand for higher education became manifest in Europe, North America and other parts of the world. Economic reconstruction and development after the war called for a highly skilled workforce, but there was more than just this demand from the labour market. Equally strong was the ‘social demand’ of individuals who no longer saw higher education as the privilege of the elites but a fundamental right of everybody. Further, the requirement that universities and university education should contribute to democracy and peaceful international cooperation can frequently be found on the reform agendas of the time. It was an optimistic period in which governments invested heavily in higher education and research. Gradually, one of the most notable trends in the second half of the 20th century became the massification of higher education.

This trend was associated with a sharp rise in expenditure, which was seen by governments as an investment in the stock of human capital that would lead to greater productivity and economic returns. But when it became clear that this expectation was not being met in the short term, and especially when the oil price shock led to an economic recession in the 1970s, governments started looking for additional funding sources to complement public expenditures. Since then, the attempts to introduce systems of mixed funding and force higher education institutions ‘to do more with less’ remain one of the determinants of reform agendas around the world. It is true for more or less all countries that the share of public funds does not follow the increase in the number of students, but the share (of GDP) of public funds has been on the decline only in some countries, while it has risen in many other countries.

On the other hand, the massification process started to gnaw at the old walls of the ‘ivory tower’. With the “transition from elite to mass higher education” (Trow 1973), the university began losing its traditional image of a socially exclusive, prestigious or elitist institution: the real as well as symbolic status of professors and university institution started to fundamentally change. This process has also changed the relationship between higher education and society. On one hand, public expectations about what and how higher education institutions can contribute to economic and social development grew strongly. On the other hand, ‘stakeholders’, i.e. representatives and interests of governments and society at large, began to penetrate the institutional structures and dissolve the traditional spirit of academic collective governance. All these changes were, of course, reflected in amended legislation on higher education and research as well as modified institutional statutes ←15 | 16→and thus governance. Finally, parallel to decomposition of the ‘ivory tower’ the process of a market-oriented opening up of the university took place. Highlighting higher education’s contribution to economic innovation and productivity has become increasingly dominant, while neglecting its other, subtler mission and ‘soft purpose’, especially the preparation of students to be active citizens in democratic societies as well as for their own personal development.

It was becoming increasingly clear that the reforms of the second half of the 20th century were bringing radical and fundamental change to the traditional structure and social perception of higher education and its mission. From the perspective of a much later date, appearing in the framework of the UNESCO World Conference on Higher Education (2009), a group of researchers described the groundbreaking period around 1980 as follows: “The governance reform movements of the 1960s and 1970s mainly involved issues of democratization and the inclusion of staff and students in decision-making. From the 1980s onward, the governance debate has shifted more toward issues of efficiency and accountability. This has been accentuated in particular by the introduction of NPM [New Public Management] into higher education” (Meek et al. 2009: 42).

With regard to developments in Europe, Rüegg observed – with a worrying undertone – a radical change: the post-war multiplication of universities “reflected less an increase of their public influence than an inflationary decline to provinciality” (ibid.: 21). Europe – broken into two parts during the Cold War polarisation – lost its traditional leadership in higher education. The second half of the twentieth century is the time when a worldwide scientific community developed while Europe became just one of several regions within the global education sphere. What makes this particularly important is that the reform trend shifted from the national to the supranational level. Since the creation of nation-states in the 19th century, reforms had arisen within national governments and associated circles, of course, almost as a rule in close collaboration with academic elites. During the second half of the 20th century, the design of reform agendas shifted to the supranational level. In recent decades, higher education policies have been ever more influenced by organisations such as the OECD or the World Bank; in Europe, we need to mention the Bologna Process and the reform agenda of the European Commission. The process of creating a common ‘European Higher Education Area’ has encouraged similar efforts in other regions of the world: it seems that one of the important points on the transnational policy agendas is the creation of trans-national ‘knowledge areas’.

←16 |

Higher education reform: Analysis and assessment

The extremely dynamic processes that characterised higher education reform in the first three or four decades after the Second World War quickly came to the forefront of interest of both academics and the general public. Higher education and research became too important for politics and the broad public to remain ‘closed off in the ivory tower’. They began to attract more and more attention in the media, which was in no way typical of earlier times. This is another indicator that a fundamental change had occurred. Media attention was also facilitated by political debates on higher education, both nationally and internationally. Finally, the second half of last century is also the period in which higher education and research became a specific subject of a specific research field: entailing the collaboration of different disciplines, mainly the social sciences, higher education research – also called research into higher education or higher education studies – developed (Teichler 2005).

Greater public interest in issues related to development and change in higher education was promoted by educational reforms in countries worldwide, in particular by the often perceived inconsistency between reform expectations and their actual impact. The public – and professors in particular – often reacted to the reform programmes with scepticism. In contrast, the research approaches to reforms started contributing systematic and critical analysis which – sometimes more, sometimes less – influenced policy developments and reform scenarios. In one of the contributions to the work of Jacques Delors’ International Commission on Education for the Twenty-First Century (under the auspices of UNESCO, leading to the influential report “Learning: The Treasure Within”) we can read, for example, that continual educational change may have “perverse effects” and that a “brief survey of the history of the last few decades lends support to the idea that in education everything has been tried but with meager results” (Tedesco 1998: 80).

Systematic and critical analysis of the change that marked modern higher education started at the end of the 1960s and in the 1970s, i.e. during the period when the reform of higher education in (especially) the developed world had intensified. It very quickly became clear that change in higher education is an extremely complex process. When Burton Clark wrote about “the contradictions of change in academic systems” at the beginning of the 1980s, he noticed that “[i];n society’s principal knowledge institution, change will continue to take unusual forms, despite the imposition of state administrative machinery” (Clark 1983: 101). The changes provoked by external factors, particularly the government, are inadequate in themselves if they do not consider the internal dynamics ←17 | 18→of academic institutions: “Since tasks and powers are extensively divided, global change is very difficult to effect. […] The leading false expectation in academic reform is that large results can be obtained by top-down manipulation. Instead, small results typically follow from efforts at the top, in the middle, or at the bottom, in the form of zig-and-zag adjustments, wrong experiments, and false starts, out of which precipitate some flows of change. […] The analytical perspective of incrementalism is crucial in understanding change in academic systems” (ibid.: 113–114).

Clark warned that “innovation, reform, and change are not topics that leave structure and tradition behind” (ibid.: 114). Such a warning inherently contains the message that there is no single ‘formula’ that would spell higher education change worldwide; “the heavy hand of history is felt in the structures and beliefs” (ibid.) and research must always take it into account. This was well demonstrated when the first similar research was conducted in Europe. In this case, the study by Ladislav Cerych and Paul Sabatier (1986) on “Great Expectations and Mixed Performance” is recognised as a pioneering and fundamental work.

As we can read on the cover of their book, it “analyses the original aims, results and the factors explaining the achievements – or often compromised achievements – of 7 higher education reforms in different European countries in the late 1960s or early 1970s”, that is, it analyses reforms in the UK, Sweden, Poland, Norway, France, Germany and Italy. The authors added an important contextual comment: the reforms analysed in the book “were adopted in the second half of the 1960s or early 1970s, during the so-called ‘golden age of higher education’, when new policies were not infrequently fuelled by ‘the spirit of May 1968’” (ibid.: 253).

The authors of that study conclude, like Clark in the USA, that “[m];ost of the reforms had conflicting goals” and that “in many cases implementation gave rise to the achievement of unexpected and unintended results”; they advise not to start reforms with too high expectations but to do “a reconceptualisation” first, “instead of focusing on ‘clear and consistent objectives’, analysis ought to identify an ‘acceptable mix of outcomes’” (ibid.: 243). On this basis, they suggest a conceptualisation of the scope of change within a three-dimensional framework – depth, functional breadth, and level of change; the relation between them serves as a basis for a typology of the higher education reforms employed in their study (ibid.: 244, 247).

The authors analysed several reform cases from very different European higher education systems. This included the case of a country at that time ‘east of the Iron Curtain’, Poland. It was customary in the West to talk about general trends, trends in economically advanced countries, trends in advanced countries ←18 | 19→etc. without at all taking into consideration that partly different things were happening in the East. This became even more topical when at the beginning of the 1990s major political changes occurred in Central and Eastern Europe. The reforms in Europe over the next two to three decades have significantly reduced the differences between individual national systems, particularly in the context of the objective to establish a common ‘European Higher Education Area’ (the Bologna Process), yet we can still confirm some general findings from the study. In the European context, it was much easier than in the USA to conclude that “[a];ny rigorous analysis of a social subsystem will reveal unique as well as common characteristics with other sub-systems”. Notwithstanding the different contexts in which the higher education reforms had been implemented, the study found in all the cases analysed that special problems are established, similarly as in the US context, “primarily by the many autonomous actors present, and by the diffusion of authority throughout the structure”; hence, they concluded that “[p]olicy implementation then becomes very interactive, and implementation analysis becomes a study of the respective interactions” (ibid.: 256). Since the end of the 1980s, these interactions have become one of the central themes of both policymakers and researchers in higher education.

Reforms at the turn of the millennium

In the 1990s, higher education change further intensified. Now it was increasingly marked by the internationalisation of higher education – which even in the past had not been a marginal concept. However, an important novelty was that it began to emerge coupled with the concept of globalisation: globalisation and parallel to it the notion of competition quickly entered the central notions in ongoing discussions. In addition to Europe and North America, new higher education centres started to emerge in other world regions, particularly the Pacific Rim. Further, with the fall of the Berlin Wall it was generally felt that a new era had begun in which we might expect that the mobility of students and staff would increase to hitherto unimaginable levels.

Higher education dynamics became particularly intense in Europe: the fall of the ‘Iron Curtain’ as well as rapid political development towards a ‘re-united Europe’ had a strong impact on higher education change. Erasmus as a name which symbolised the intellectual tradition and the past was reborn in the form of a complex European Union programme to encourage mobility in Europe and beyond. These movements were given an important foundation even in international law with the Lisbon Convention on Recognition of Qualifications concerning Higher Education in the European Region (1997). The Bologna Process ←19 | 20→(1999) was some kind of logical conclusion of the developments of the 1990s: it brought further intensification of reforms in European countries, its ‘echoes’ also resounded in other regions of the world (Zgaga 2006: 34 ff), but in addition it raised a number of new issues and dilemmas.

The intensity of developments in the higher education sphere at the turn of the millennium necessarily led to new theoretical reflections. When looking back at the road travelled over the last half century, Philip Altbach and his colleagues reasonably remarked that one can, “without risk of exaggeration, speak of an academic revolution” (Altbach et al. 2010: 1). In particular, the progressive reforms stimulated interest in the issue of policy implementation. Today, among the many studies that critically reflect on the road travelled, it is not easy to decide which are the most important. However, as we have already touched on the study by Cerych and Sabatier (1986) it makes sense now that, among those that have emerged in the past decade, to briefly mention a monograph which was presented as a critical appraisal of their seminal work from a “Twenty Years Subsequent Perspective” (Gornitzka et al. 2007).

The analysis of reform cases now became much broader (in addition to some of the countries from the 1986 study the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Finland, Austria, the USA, South Africa, Mexico and Australia were included, but still without any Eastern European or Asian country in the sample) and the emphasis was now on the analysis of policy implementation. In addition to the national case studies, the authors of some chapters of that monograph also dealt with more general questions of theoretical development and drew attention to “the large repertoire of alternatives to the original top-down implementation theory” (ibid.: 2). One chapter was written by Sabatier himself; with the “advocacy coalition framework” (i.e., a theoretical framework developed by Sabatier and Jenkins-Smith to describe and explain a complicated policymaking environment) he offered a synthesis of top-down and bottom-up models (ibid.: 25 ff). The monograph as a whole shows well that there was much progress regarding the theoretical approaches over the two decades but still some issues already raised by the 1986 study remained at the forefront. On one hand, the relationship between reform and change was addressed by asking the question: “How far does reform translate into change?” On the other, the study deals with expectations and results and asks the old question: “Do the results, in general, correspond to the expectations?”.

The top-down approach to reform as developed in the early stages of the implementation analysis was definitively ruled out as significantly flawed even before the turn of the millennium. Higher education change is a much more complex phenomenon and cannot be reduced to the transmission of decisions ←20 | 21→by national – or, where education is the responsibility of federal Länder, cantons or regions, to these regional – authorities. Nor can it be argued that change is inherent to the academic world: “if it had been left to academics, few of the major structural changes would have occurred”; on the other hand, one should not forget to ask, “how far changes at the base – of the nature of knowledge, of curricula, and modes of learning and teaching – percolate into policy formation” (ibid.: 10). Any analysis of higher education change as well as reforms and their implementation must look at both details and complexity and focus on differences; generalisation alone is always dangerous. The same is true for the often discussed question of whether there is some kind of isomorphism in the different national reform policies, including the observation that there are sometimes ‘bandwagon’ effects, meaning that countries often follow the same apparently successful reform model. On the other hand, the degree of diversity in national reform policies is considerable.

Since Europe has ceased to be the only determinant of change in higher education, and since the rapid development of higher education had appeared in other world regions by the turn of the millennium, it should be recognised in the field of policy development that there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Thus, Svein Kyvik writes in his chapter in that monograph: “Every implementation process is unique, taking place under different conditions and with different actors involved”. That explains why he is sceptical “as to whether it is possible to develop ‘a general theory of effective implementation of policy decisions’, or even a list of factors conductive to the achievement of reform objectives” (ibid.: 81).

Another important issue when discussing contemporary higher education reform is the question of the relationship between policy analysis and policy development, or the question of the relationship between research and implementation. On one side, there is no doubt that higher education research has benefited from the new paradigm of evidence-based educational policy which has stimulated much more empirical higher education research than before. On the other side, the expectation that research studies alone will contribute to creating successful policies has proven premature; it is “relevant to question, however, how far attempts to predict outcomes or to create a theory attempting to do so have proved successful” (ibid.: 3). It seems that in the last two decades the relationship between policy development and higher education research has not always been a ‘perfect marriage’. With this, the fact that the boundaries between research and policy development are often vague and blurred is particularly important: researchers can be involved in policymaking, management and consultancy, while policymakers, managers and consultants sometimes also appear as researchers. When it comes to higher education, this fact should not be a ←21 | 22→surprise: in the course of their career academics almost as a rule find themselves, sooner or later, at the crossroads between ‘theory’ and ‘practice’. The ‘modernist’ paradigm, according to which social and political ‘activism’ should be a logical consequence of ‘theory’, has also contributed to this.

When Ulrich Teichler was reconsidering the analysts’ contribution to higher education reform about ten years ago, his assessment was as follows: “Initially, analyses by those advocating the reforms and sympathising with them dominated. A few aggressive counterattacks followed, before analyses were undertaken which could show the ‘high expectations’ and ‘mixed performance’ sine ira et studio” (Teichler 2003: 178, with reference to Cerych & Sabatier 1986). Yet this finding applies not only to the time before the turn of the millennium, but also to period since then. He continued: “Higher education researchers who note that analyses on certain areas of higher education tend to be overwhelmed by the prevailing values of a certain zeitgeist can contribute to solid research by formulating critical counter-hypothesis to the ‘high expectations’ prevailing, for example on hidden and disguised rationales for reforms, possibly wrong underlying assumptions on the causes of existing problems and the possible impacts of reform measures, barriers of implementation, unintended effects, etc.” (ibid.).

It seems that after decades of major changes in higher education we are once again in a situation where it is necessary to openly acknowledge that a number of key themes cannot only be approached by advocacy and sympathy as these themes raise questions which cannot be answered without anger and fondness, sine ira et studio. It is true that access to higher education has been expanded remarkably over the last few decades, but inequality perpetuates and is taking on new and not always easily recognised forms. Institutional management has been modernised and a significant part of the traditional ‘academic inertia’ has certainly been eliminated but the changes have brought an unprecedented increase in administration and bureaucracy and sometimes also adverse effects – e.g. where new steering models with their performance indicators reward the quantity rather than the quality of teaching or research (e.g. the volume of third-party funding). Quality assurance mechanisms have provided an answer to the mediocrity and the lack of confidence between institutions and systems; however, especially with the growing popularity of various ranking lists it seems that these mechanisms may also limit diversity in higher education and promote uniformity and a new kind of mediocrity. Institutional autonomy has been given a new dimension, but there is a rising suspicion that it occasionally comes into conflict with academic freedom etc. Therefore, there are many more challenging questions for higher education research than appear at first sight.

←22 |

Higher Education Reform Workshops 2003–2015

In recent decades, many different international fora have been developed and created, both major and minor, dedicated to issues related to higher education reform. Some are research oriented, while others are more concerned with policy or implementation issues, or a combination of these. Among these fora, there is also a circle of researchers from virtually all world regions who collaborate and meet annually within the so-called Workshops on Higher Education Reform (HER workshops).

They began in 2003 at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. The Centre for Policy Studies in Higher Education and Training had organised a workshop on Reform of Higher Education in Six Countries. At that time, certainly nobody expected that the initiative would gradually develop into a global network. However, to date (2018) 15 international workshops have been organised in different parts of the world. Six of them have taken place in North America (Canada, the USA, and Mexico), five in Europe (Austria, Ireland, Germany, and Slovenia), and four in Asia (Japan and China). Over the years the series has been in existence, workshop themes have covered various topics connected to higher education reform, ranging from the internationalisation and marketisation of higher education to issues of institutional governance, from a lifelong learning perspective in higher education to the preparation of students for life, work and civic engagement. Selected papers from the workshops have been published in the form of monographs, special issues of academic journals, or individual articles or chapters.

The tenth workshop was organised in 2013 by the Centre for Education Policy Studies (CEPS) at the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia. This was an opportunity for a broader reflection on contemporary higher education reform in the world as well as on the work done so far within the network. The main theme of this ‘jubilee’ workshop was therefore not difficult to formulate: Looking Back – Looking Forward. As all the other workshops before, the 2013 meeting gave an opportunity for comparative analysis and discussion, either by geography (comparing, for example, reform policies within the same region, e.g. former Communist Eastern European or Latin American countries) or by theme (e.g. the growing importance of private higher education institutions in various countries and the future of public higher education). As far as possible, the contributions considered development over time rather than at a particular point in time.


ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2015 (September)
University Academic Freedom Globalization Lifelong Learning
Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2019. 468 pp., 15 b/w fig., 14 tables

Biographical notes

Pavel Zgaga (Volume editor) Ulrich Teichler (Volume editor) Hans G. Schuetze (Volume editor) Andrä Wolter (Volume editor)

Pavel Zgaga is Professor of Philosophy of Education at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia and Director of its Centre for Education Policy Studies. Ulrich Teichler is Professor at the International Centre for Higher Education Research at the University of Kassel, Germany. Hans G. Schuetze is Professor Emeritus of Higher Education at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. Andrä Wolter is Professor for Higher Education Research at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany.


Title: Higher Education Reform: Looking Back – Looking Forward
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