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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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Opening up Higher Education for New Target Groups in Germany: A Case Study for the Development of University Lifelong Learning

← 362 | 363Andrä Wolter

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In many European and non-European countries, higher education institutions have become more involved in lifelong learning activities in different forms (Teichler, Spexard, in this volume). At a rather general, sometimes rhetorical level, it is widely accepted that higher education must pay more attention to lifelong learning activities. However, according to some studies (Hanft and Knust 2007, Hanft and Zilling 2011, Slowey and Schuetze 2012) there are large differences in the institutional involvement among the various countries. Also, within countries, the degree of readiness to implement strategies of lifelong learning varies between and within institutions. At a macro-level, demographic changes, labor market requirements and changing qualification standards as well as policy programs to promote socially disadvantaged groups or to widen participation in higher education may explain these differences. At a micro-level, distinctive institutional development concepts or differentiation strategies – e.g. between research-oriented institutions with excellence aspirations or institutions with a particular lifelong learning profile or diversity program – can in part explain such national or international differences.

As a result, there is no uniform trend or development pattern with respect to the implementation of lifelong learning structures, neither at international nor national levels (Slowey and Schuetze 2012). Furthermore, there is a considerable gap between programmatic declarations and recent trends and structures. In this context, it is the objective of this chapter to analyze – based on a national in-depth study for Germany – the reasons for this discrepancy, the current mostly modest changes and their driving forces. Historically seen, Germany was one of...

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