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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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How to Gain Global Connectivity While Retaining Respect for Local Variations? A Reflection on Higher Education Reforms in South-east Europe

← 64 | 65Pavel Zgaga

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If one compares the modern history of higher education with its earlier periods, then it is easy to obtain the impression that in previous times these systems were relatively stable, while in recent decades they have been in a constant process of reforming and expansion: higher education systems have achieved an exposed position in the ‘knowledge societies’. These processes have been a topic of intensifying research for several decades.

The focal point of the research interest tends to be the global centres where these processes were born, while the peripheries remain poorly studied (Altbach 2004). Moreover, in trying to understand the impact of the waves of reforms on the global periphery it is not difficult to identify a lack of knowledge, misunderstandings and even prejudices. Analyses of higher education systems in the global peripheries are typically developed by simply applying the logic of the global centres to them, while the issue of the specific logic of processes in the global peripheries is often not even questioned. The consequences of such short-sightedness can be seen in both theoretically and empirically unjustified generalisations,1 which are explicitly or implicitly contained in many research reports, as well as in a negative – or at least the absence of an – impact they may have on the national and institutional policies (Zgaga 2014).

In contrast to this approach, we consider that in researching contemporary higher education reform and developments we need to be very attentive to the particularities and specific logic according...

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