Comparative Reflections on Poland and Norway
Chapter 5: The Public/ Private Dynamics in Polish Higher Education. Demand-Absorbing Private Sector Growth and Its Implications. Marek Kwiek
Chapter 5 The Public/Private Dynamics in Polish Higher Education. Demand-Absorbing Private Sector Growth and Its Implications Marek Kwiek Introduction The paper links several interrelated processes in Central and Eastern European higher education: expansion through two types of privatization (external: new private providers, and internal, public universities charging fees in a nominally free public sector), severe fiscal constraints limiting further tax-based growth of higher education, and the gradual denigration of the research mission of universities caused by almost two decades of their continuous focus on the teaching mission and by general underfunding of university research in the region.1 Long-term consequences of the unprecedented growth of the private sector in Poland in the two decades of 1990-2010 are studied, with special emphasis on the consequences of accompanying processes of the deinstitutionalization of the university research mission taking place in public universities: the decreasing role of traditional academic institutional rules and norms and traditional institutional patterns of academic behavior in Polish universities in the period. A new wave of reforms in Poland (2008-2011) is discussed, as possibly leading to substantially revised rules, norms and patterns of institutional behavior. Poland, with 31.5% of student enrollments in the private sector in 2010 (out of 1.84 million students), provides a unique case to study the two decades of demand-absorbing growth of private higher education with all its advantages and, as mostly discussed in the present chapter, limitations (for advantages, see Kwiek 2007b, 2008c). The overall context of the chapter is the emphasis on further expansion of...
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