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Higher Education Reform: Looking Back – Looking Forward

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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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The Future of Higher Education: A View Reflecting the State and the Tasks of Higher Education Research

← 28 | 29Ulrich Teichler

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In looking at discussions about the future of higher education, we note, first, that such discussions have been quite popular in recent years. Obviously, we feel a need to look ahead and prepare ourselves for future challenges. Second, a glance at the future scenarios suggests that many of them expect an increasing similarity of higher education systems and processes in higher education across countries. Accordingly, higher education is on the way to become more and intertwined globally and all countries have to adapt to some extent to the global main stream – in terms of enrolment quota, diversification of higher education, governance and management, internationalisation policies, etc. Third, we note that scenarios of the future of higher education often look very boring. Most of them assume that some current features are perennial or that we just can extrapolate trends of the recent past.

Altogether, a need is widely felt to reflect possible futures of higher education, even though uncertainty is a matter of procedure. Actors in higher education have to reflect possible futures, because today’s decisions affect higher education for many years to come. Often, international organisations, such as the OECD, embark on such forward-looking activities in order to identify challenges in advance, and invite researchers on higher education to participate in such activities. The author of this chapter is convinced that researchers have to be even more active than actors and other experts in deliberating possible future of higher education, and there presents an account of future scenarios...

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