Introduction Reforming Higher Education for a Changing World
After four or five decades of far-reaching reform, higher education around the world has seen profound changes. This history, combined with the challenges of the present, gives an opportunity to look at the bigger picture of these changes, the drivers of change, their effects as well as possible future scenarios. Some drivers of future change are already manifest, whereas others might still be obscure. Those that are manifest include the massive growth in participation in higher education and the increasing differentiation of higher education systems, the revolution of information and communication technologies and the emergence of new social media, along with the impact of globalisation and international competition.
Related to this latter development are the expanding marketisation and privatisation of higher education, the international rankings of ‘world class universities’, altering forms of university governance and the changing role of the academic profession. Especially noticeable and profound are changes in the role of students from ‘learners’ to ‘consumers’, enhanced in many countries by steep increases in tuition fees as the financial crisis and ensuing cuts in public budgets have forced higher education institutions, particularly universities, to look for additional resources from students and their families. Besides the ‘internal privatisation’ of public universities, i.e. the adoption of management techniques and cost-benefit calculations developed and used by private corporations, the private sector of higher education has also grown, mainly to absorb demand that cannot be met by the public sector. Even in continental European countries where virtually all higher education used...
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