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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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Can Reform Policies Be Reformed?


An Analysis of the Evaluation of Academics in Mexico

And I was horrified at the thought

that things conceived in error

are just as real as things conceived

with good reason and of necessity.

Milan Kundera, The Joke


In this chapter, we will explore the empirical existence and the consequences of third-degree path dependency (PD) regarding the evaluation and remuneration of academic productivity. We will do so by comparing developments in the Mexican public university sector (subject to public policies) with developments in the private sector (not subject to public policies), and with developments in other countries. Our conjecture is that third-degree PD does exist in Mexican higher education policies. It is not, however, based only on historical reasons – factors that go back to the roots of the system and inevitably determine the action to the actors – but stems from peculiar visions held by central actors on how public universities could and should be reformed.

Our supposition is that the desired reforms have not occurred largely due to mistaken and avoidable decisions by policy makers. As a result, old organizational structures and practices persist. To confront new demands, old policies have been the model to follow and, instead of modifying ineffective policies, the answer has been to continue the already existing. The resulting policy regime explains the permanence of inefficiencies and errors, which benefit certain interest groups, but also limit the options for...

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