Convergence and Diversity, Centres and Peripheries
Reconsidering Higher Education Reforms in the Western Balkans: ‘Policy Colonies’ or ‘Policy Autarchies’?
The principal aim of this paper is to consider the higher education reforms in eight countries of the Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia as well as Slovenia) in the perspective of the last two decades. The guiding question is what the main characteristics of higher education reforms in these countries have been since the 1990s until the present and how they relate to the international policy processes and developments. In particular, we will focus on the politicisation and privatisation of higher education, implementation of the Bologna Process and the dichotomy of international norms and local identities. At this point, we will address the issue of the ‘centres’ and ‘peripheries’ relationship in the regional higher education policy context. On this basis, we will finally discuss and dispute the view that ‘peripheral countries’ simply play the role of a kind of ‘policy colony’ within the contemporary Western Balkans higher education reforms.
Key words: higher education policy, higher education reforms, centres and peripheries, internationalisation, Bologna Process, former Yugoslavia, Western Balkans
It is necessary to start with the very notion of the Western Balkans: what are the Western Balkans? The term is quite new. Before 1990, the region consisted of two countries – and therefore just two national higher education systems: the Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia (six republics; two autonomous regions) and the Socialist People’s Republic of Albania. None of them was...
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