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The Globalisation Challenge for European Higher Education

Convergence and Diversity, Centres and Peripheries


Edited By Pavel Zgaga, Ulrich Teichler and John Brennan

The last decade has marked European higher education with particular dynamics. Today, after a decade of «connected» policy, national systems look much more convergent but new questions and dilemmas are emerging: about the nature and quality of higher education, about the real impact of recent reforms in different countries, and about higher education's future. The book examines the impact of Europe-wide and global developments on national higher education systems. The authors try in particular to place upfront issues of convergence and diversity, of equity and of the relationship between centres and peripheries in higher education. The book is an outcome of research collaboration between six institutes which developed a EuroHESC research proposal on the consequences of expanded and differentiated higher education systems.
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Reconsidering Higher Education Reforms in the Western Balkans: ‘Policy Colonies’ or ‘Policy Autarchies’?


Pavel Zgaga


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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