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Higher Education Reform: Looking Back – Looking Forward

Second Revised Edition


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

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.
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Introductory Note


Market in higher education has become predominate in the world. Gone is the era of the dominance of the state and academics in university affairs. The old humanistic ideals on education and the notions of social commitment have weakened. Now the institutions must compete for resources, turn academic research and teaching into a business and organize themselves according to management principles in search of efficiency. Although public funding has grown in absolute terms, governments lack the resources to meet the expansion of the system and its expanding costs and, in that context, private participation in the financing of higher education is increasing.

This is a general trend towards the preponderance of the private sphere, a general process of privatization or marketization based on a discourse favorable to the market which permeates even the language of analysts, and the flourishing of global markets. The expansion of the private higher education sector is promoted directly or indirectly by governments because of the incapacity of public institutions to meet a burgeoning demand for postsecondary education. Within this general framework, for over three decades the state has driven market mechanisms to organize their relations with the institutions. Public policies toward higher education are geared to the evaluation of institutions, programs and individuals to promote efficiency and productivity whose main currency in the global competition between institutions is quality, a polysemantic attribute in permanent discussion and definition.

The three chapters in this section discuss the main characteristics and problems...

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