Globalisation and higher education reforms: a frame work for study

Published: Last Edited:

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

Globalisation and Higher education reforms: A Frame work for study

Universities and other educational institutions now a day encounter far more challenges than ever before, and are subjected to unprecedented levels of external analysis. All providers of Higher education today facing a more competitive world where resources are becoming scarcer, but at the same time they have to accommodate to increasing demands from local communities, as well as changing, and often rising, expectations from parents and labour market. Within such a policy context, Higher Education institutions and universities nowadays are increasingly governed by market ideologies, and significantly shaped by the corporate discourse of efficiency and effectiveness. The change in governance ideology in the higher education sector has undoubtedly altered the ways educational institutions are managed, as also the day-to-day work of teachers and academics. Here in this part we will examine how the ideas of globalization have dominated the discourse of Higher education,

Over the last decade, people have started to discuss about the impact of globalization on economic, social, political and cultural fronts (see, for example, Giddens, 1990, 1994; Held et al., 1999; Hirst and Thompson, 1999; Sklair, 1995, 1999). And yet there is no single generally agreed definition of globalization and some even disagree that its significance, and its novelty, has been much overstated. But nonetheless, we have seen an ever-increasing number of books and articles discussing how different aspects of globalization have affected the course of human history (Albrow, 1996; Robertson, 1992; Sklair, 1995; Waters, 1995). John Gray, in his recent book False Dawn, defines globalization in the following way:

Globalization can mean many things, On the one hand, it is the worldwide spread of modern technologies of industrial production and communication of all kinds across frontiers - in trade, capital, production and information...Globalization also implies that nearly all economies are networked with other economies throughout the world. (1999, p. 55)

When talking about 'globalization', sociologists generally refer to the complex set of processes which 'result from social interaction on a world scale, such as the development of an increasingly integrated global economy and the explosion of worldwide telecommunications' (Giddens, 1999; Sklair, 1999, p. 321). Malcolm Waters, the author of Globalization, see globalization as 'a social process in which the constraints of geography on social and cultural arrangements recede and in which people become increasingly aware that they are receding' (Waters, 1995, p. 3). Despite the fact that globalization is led from the West and it bears the strong imprint of American political and economic power, we should not treat this as only the dominance of the West over the rest. Instead, globalization has clearly affected both the United States and other countries across the planet. Giddens argues that globalization is about the transformation of time and space because of the emergence of instantaneously global communication and mass transportation (Giddens, 1994).

More crucially, 'globalization also influences our everyday life as much as it does events happening on a world scale' (Giddens, 1999, p. 4). As Giddens rightly puts it, 'globalization is restructuring the ways in which we live, and in a very profound manner' (1999, p. 4). The forces of globalization have extended their influence on sexuality, marriage and family, let alone the ways politics and economy operate. It has also been strongly argued that the impact of globalization is related not only to economic restructuring, but also to the cultural and ideological spheres (Fukuyama, 1992; Jameson and Myoshi, 1999; Ohmae, 1990; Tomlinson, 1999). On the one hand, world culture has become increasingly standardized; on the other hand, the same process of globalisation has created a new hybridity of cultural styles and mixes (Robertson, 1995), and, it is sometimes argued, even helped to sustain local cultures (hence the rather ugly term 'globalization'). Ideas such as 'post-modernism', 'managerialism', 'economic rationalism', 'global consumerism' are becoming dominant in public discourse, as well as shaping the ways private and public organizations are managed (Ball, 1998; Flynn, 1997), and this diverse phenomenon is also at times associated with globalization. Sklair (1995) proposes a more explicit model of the global system based on the concept of transnational practices, practices that originate with non-state actors and across state borders. Central to his model of the global system is a concern with how transnational corporations, transnational capitalist classes and the culture ideology of consumerism operate to transform the globe in terms of the global capitalist project. Seen in this light, globalization is not merely a practice in the economic sphere but practices in the political and cultural domains, a point elaborated more clearly in his taxonomic 1999 work.

What the above indicates, is that, while there are several facets of globalization (at least, cultural, political and economic, or as Sklair has argued recently, the world-systems approach, the global culture approach, the global society approach, and the global capitalism approach), it is to economic effects that one should look . This is not to say that the thesis of cultural globalization lacks merit. It is however, to point out as does George Ritzer, in his recent book The McDonaldization of Society, that the American influence does not stop at James Cameron's Titanic and Bill Gate's Microsoft Windows, but extends to the modes of management in both the public and private sectors. The success of McDonalds is not the fast food alone, but also the management style and the philosophy of the corporation (Ritzer, 1998). The management style and ethos of this most successful US-based transnational fast food chain firstly influenced private sector management, and subsequently public sector management (Currie, 1998; Ritzer, 1998). As a consequence, practices like 'marketization', 'privatization' and 'corporatization', resulting from these popular ideas, have become increasingly prominent, eventually affecting not only people's beliefs and their ways of doing things, but also the ways in which the public sector is managed (Currie, 1998; Flynn, 1997; Halsey, 1992; Hood, 1999; Miller, 1995; Mok, 2000a; Welch, 1998a and b). Hence, we are arguing that it is these effects which are prime, albeit not singular, and it to these effects that we shall look first, (again, without discounting the effects of cultural and political forms of globalization), in assessing the effects,

Since before the end of the Cold War in the late 1980s, a powerful intellectual and cultural setting has overcome in many countries that generically described by Mok(2003) as postmodernism. By this term, he refer to the diverse, prolix and prolific set of proposals that generally distrust 'grand narratives' and prefer instead a radical equality of ideas, combined with a putative absolute freedom, and concern with the pervasiveness of power and domination which occurs through language and which can be rectified by deconstruction (Bruner, Ketcham, Preda and Norwine, 1993). With its powerful anti-traditionalist, anti-foundationalist and anti-establishmentarian impetus, the application of the ideas of postmodernism has led to the replacement of many traditional sources of authority with new elites created and legitimated by market forces (Owen, 1997; see also Agger, 1991; Norris, 1993. The ideas of postmodernism, together with the complicated processes of globalization, have led leaders of nation-states in different parts of the globe to argue publicly that individual states are essentially ineffective in the face of global market forces. In this sense, it has been argued, national economic management, national political and social policies are becoming increasingly irrelevant because international or, even more, global markets, are beyond the control of any individual nation state (Dudley, 1998). As Held et al. argue in their recent account of the economic effects of globalization:

Reinforced by financial liberalization the accompanying shift towards markets and private financial institutions as the 'authoritative actors' in the global financial system poses serious questions about the nature of state power and economic sovereignty. (1999, p. 234)

Under these prevailing global forces, the nation state is deemed to be vulnerable and incapable of dealing with any crises, in which supranational action is needed to resolve the problem (Veseth, 1998; Weiss, 1998; Wilding, 1997). Putting the ideas of postmodernism and the experiences of globalization in perspective seems to suggest that modern states have a licence to do less, and increasingly allow the market to determine the rest. It is particularly true when the forces of globalization induce leaders of individual nation states to put forward social- Darwinist views that only the fittest can survive in the open global competitive environment. Turning to the political aspect of globalization, Cerny rightly argues that:

Globalization as a political phenomenon basically means that the shaping of the playing field of politics itself is increasingly determined within insulated units, i.e. relatively autonomous and hierarchically organized structures called states; rather it derives from a complex congeries of multilevel games played on multi-layered institutional playing fields, above and across, as well as within, state boundaries. (1997, p. 253)

Given this context, in which increasing numbers of people have begun to question state capacity in governing the public sector, ideas like economic rationalism and managerialism have become increasingly popular. During the 1980s and early 1990s, the framework of economic rationality had a very significant impact on Australia's public policy formulation, as also in other Anglo-American democracies such as the UK and New Zealand. The prominence of 'economic rationalism' has undoubtedly dominated the public discourse and the way public/social policy is managed (Pusey, 1991), including in education (Welch, 1996). As his study of Australian education showed, economic rationalism sees itself as universalistic and as the basis for reform of social policy and the public sector, including in education:

In practice, this dictates the remodelling of education according to the 'logic' of economy and efficiency, which tend to over-ride educational principles such as equality, social justice or liberal curricula. The assumptions of so-called 'free market' and 'individual choice' within this way of thinking dictate a significant shrinkage in the role and function of the state, since it is argued that marketization is inherently more economically 'rational'. Public authorities are subjected to market principles, by encouraging competition between different schools, (or hospitals etc.) while more resources are given to the private sector. Individuals are now held responsible for their own success or failure, and the traditional safety net of government provision is, to some extent, withdrawn. (Welch, 1996, p.2)

Despite the fact that different countries have chosen various ways to respond to the global trend, it is unquestionable that there are several ways in which globalization has created a climate of reform, supporting profound changes in public administration and management in individual countries. In the face of the withdrawing role (and some have argued, capacity) of nation states to manage the global economy, as also increasingly complicated policy options, some theorists began to rely increasingly on the ideas of managerialism and the practices of public management in order to achieve pre-set objectives with maximum efficiency, as well as supposedly genuine responsibility for results. In line with the notions of managerialism, nation states are now required to be less interventionist, in regulating business, as also leaner in their own administration and management. Some of this rhetoric of autonomy pervades contemporary discussions of public sector reform, in which, however, 'steering at a distance' (Marceau, 1993; Moon, 1999; Osborne and Gaebler, 1992) is increasingly commonly used, as a means to ensure that institutions do not take their autonomy too far, and stray from government agendas.

Unlike the practices of old, the new vision of governance today conceives modern states as 'facilitators' instead of 'service providers', all the more true as the 'welfare state' has transformed itself into a 'competitive state' (Cerny, 1990, 1997; Yeatman, 1994). According to Rhodes (1997), at the heart of the governance debate is that the mode of governance associated with Weber's classic ideal type of bureaucracy is in the process of being deconstructed. In its place are emerging forms of governance that bring both state and non-state actors into the policy process, and transfer control to bodies operating either on the margins of the state or outside its boundaries altogether. Indeed, as these pages go to press, substantial debates have broken out in several countries as to the role, responsibilities and autonomy of churches, whom governments, in an eerie echo of eighteenth and nineteenth century liberalism, are increasingly making responsible for the delivery of social services. Baltodano (1997) rightly points out that 'through the institutionalization of the global economy; through imposition by the international organizations; by increasing interconnection, both formally and informally; by changing the values of both bureaucrats and policy makers; selection of management practices is shaped increasingly by globalization; trans-nationalisation of the nation as apparatus' (pp. 623- 6). As a result of globalization, some scholars even postulate a distinct 'New World Order' where 'much of the globalization process came to be dependent on the adoption of reduced roles for government, not only as a regulator but also a provider of public services' (Jones, 1998, p. 144). This 'New World Order' is characterized by governments which revamp the role of a government, cutting back the scope of their work: as argued above, the notion of 'social good' is replaced by the rhetoric of 'economic good', (which is held to comprehend the former), thus issuing in a regime in which customers and choice are nonetheless regulated by the three Es, namely, economy, efficiency and effectiveness (Hughes, 1998; Welch, 1997b).

As discussed above, the impact of globalization and crises of the state have created immense pressures for the restructuring of governance and the public sector. Increasing constraints on public expenditure have meant that the public management today is much more concerned with how to reduce costs, or, at least prevent them from continuing to rise. Such concerns have inevitably changed the nature of government from service providers to regulators, thereby making modern states conscious about how to regulate the quality of public services. As Le Grand and Bartlett (1993) suggested, modern governments have become basically service purchasers, 'with state provision being systematically replaced by a system of independent providers competing with one another in internal or "quasi-markets" ' (p. 125). In short, the welfare crisis led by economic globalization has turned governments from a 'primarily hierarchical decommodifying agents' into a 'primarily market-based commodifying agent' (Cerny, 1997, p. 256). Not surprisingly, the replacement of the 'welfare' state by the 'competition' state has also transformed it from one concerned with maximizing general welfare to one aimed at maximizing returns on investment, and brought about greater managerialism within the public service (Rees and Rodley, 1995), including in education (Welch, 1996, 1998a and b, 2001a). Nowadays, the public sector is becoming less concerned about the delivery of public services and defending the public good than about the management of scarce resources (Cerny, 1990; Yeatman, 1994). In the process, public sector managers have been transformed into 'economic managers, working inside a permanent depression mentality' (Yeatman, 1993, p. 4).

Under pressure from this tidal wave of reform proposals, the modern state is in retreat in many parts of the world, not merely in Anglo-American democracies (Scott and Guppy, 1997), but in many parts of the developing world, including Asia , have begun to transform the ways they manage themselves. Notions such as 'reinventing government' (Osborne and Gaebler, 1992) and 'entrepreneurial government' (Ferlie et al., 1996) have become far more fashionable and led to the initiation of key reforms in public sector management. In order to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of public service delivery, new ways to maximize productivity and effectiveness comparable to that of the private sector are sought. Two major strategies commonly adopted by governments in different countries in response to resource scarcity are 'privatization' and 'marketization'. Despite the fact that there are different interpretations of these 'terms', what is central to them is closely related to two core principles: firstly, the belief in the ideological commitments of neo-liberalism, which holds the view that the state should not bear the primary responsibility to serve all public-good functions (Dale, 1997); and, secondly, a parallel recognition of the state's severely limited capacity to act in certain policy areas,

Education, being one of the major public services, is not immune from this tidal wave of marketization and privatization. At a time of economic constraint, and under the influence of this ideology, people have begun to question the taken for granted belief that the government should act as the sole provider of education. Dale (1997) rightly highlights that the education system, similar to other state organizations, cannot avoid addressing the three central questions the state in capitalist societies now faces:

First supporting the capital accumulation process; second guaranteeing a context for its continued expansion, and third legitimating the capitalist mode of accumulation, including the state's own part in it, especially in education. (Dale, 1997, p. 274) Compared with the good old days in 'welfare state', universities, for example, nowadays experience increasing pressures from governments (in many states still the primary paymaster in higher education) to demonstrate maximum outputs from the financial inputs they are given - although unlike ever-increasing enrolments, the latter are now often weakening, at least in real terms (Altbach and Lewis, 1996; Welch, 1997b, 1998b). Indeed, what have become increasingly implemented as governance in higher education are corporate models and market-oriented approaches. By 'corporate model', it is refer to turning universities into 'corporations' or 'entrepreneurial universities' under which organizational structuring and functioning is altered in light of the belief that education should serve economic purposes (Slaughter and Leslie, 1997). Amid the pressure for management efficiency in the face of widened access and reduced resources, the use of market or economic principles is seen as a disciplinary mechanism with which to make not only the higher education sector and its personnel but also the school sector work harder, more efficiently and effectively (Ball, 1990, 1998; Welch, 1998a and b). Such a new governance model has been supported and promulgated by certain supranational organizations like the World Bank and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD, 1995; World Bank, 1994). Despite the fact that the Bank has called for the bringing back of the state back into education, the impetus for change initiated by the Bank few years ago has undoubtedly shaped the current wave of educational restructuring along neo-liberal, managerialist lines (World Bank, 1998, 1999), while World Bank reports on higher education, and on education more generally, have been widely critiqued for advancing an agenda of user-pays fees, increased privatization, a reduced public sector, and decentralized administration (in which states increasingly shed responsibility for failures in the system) (Samoff, 1996; Watson, 1996; Welch, 2000a, 2001a, 2002). In its most recent report, the OECD too has projected the future development of higher education in the following way:

Tertiary education is changing to address client and stakeholder expectations, to respond more actively to social and economic change, to provide for more ?exible forms of teaching and learning, to focus more strongly on competence and skills across the curriculum. (OECD, 1998, p. 10)

In order to become more competitive, universities have changed the ways they manage themselves. 'Terms of new discourse' have emerged such as mission statements, system outputs, appraisal, audit, strategic plans, cost centres, and public relations (Duke, 1992). In addition, the success of higher education reforms is increasingly measured in terms of supposedly lesser degrees of state intervention, while increased management autonomy and market-oriented instruments are playing a far more significant role in such review exercises (World Bank, 1994). Even here, however, all is not as it seems: although autonomy is often said to be a cornerstone of contemporary reforms in higher education, in practice, the phenomenon, noted above, of 'steering at a distance' commonly involves the use of such mechanisms as discretionary funding - which at a time of financial stringency no university can afford to ignore, but which ties institutional performance more closely to broad governmental agendas. Under the strong tide of managerialism, universities have become more hierarchical and bureaucratic in nature (Currie, 1998). The global tide of managerialism has accelerated the movement of faculty and universities toward the market, which can clearly be reflected by the ideology of 'the market knows best', business practices, performance indicators, corporate managerialism and line management, commercialization of research as well as commodification of knowledge (Vidovich and Currie, 1998; Welch, 1998b). Analyzing the fundamental changes in the university sector, Slaughter and Leslie rightly observed that:

To maintain or expand resources, faculty had to compete increasingly for external dollars that were tied to market-related research, which was referred to variously as applied, commercial, strategic, and targeted research, whether these moneys were in the form of research grants and contracts, service contracts, partnerships with industry and government, technology transfer, or the recruitment of more and higher fee-paying students. We call institutional and professional market or market like efforts to secure external moneys academic capitalism. (Slaughter and Leslie, 1997, p. 8)

The overwhelming impact of managerialism on higher education is easily identified as more and more university presidents or vice chancellors have come to regard themselves as chief executive officers, while faculty deans and department heads have become, in effect, line managers. Treating universities as business enterprises, these 'managers' and 'executives' increasingly adopt market-oriented principles and business-like criteria to run higher education institutions (Currie, 1998; Newson, 1992; Yeatman, 1994). As Gibbons (1998) suggested, it is becoming increasingly popular to link higher education with commercial and industrial sectors in terms of knowledge production and innovation. Such moves are then coupled with internal reward structures within universities, that increasingly differentiate between staff in areas where such alliances are more achievable (engineering, chemistry, agriculture), and those in areas where it is much more difficult (languages, history, philosophy, etc.). University managers are very much concerned with how their institutions can become more competitive in the open education market. Successful presidents therefore (those who can play the game very well) can lead their institutions to gain more external grants and perform well in the open 'marketplace'. This may, in turn, itself have ?ow-on effects, in terms of being able to attract more fee-paying international students, or more research-active academic staff (Welch, 1997a and b), despite perhaps at the same leading their universities further down the path of an economically conceived globalization (Welch, 2002; Welch and Denman, 2001). Indeed, most vice chancellors, or presidents, of sizable universities now read university league tables keenly, to check on their perceived status relative to their peers. They also believe that their success is heavily related to whether they can make their universities as the most competitive in the 'open competition' (Tight, 2000). Indeed, in an era of performance management, where explicit objectives are written into contracts, institutional leaders are increasingly measured in just these terms.

The impact of marketization and corporatization is not unique to higher education. In school settings, too, more and more management oriented reforms have been initiated, to improve the 'quality' of education, although it has been argued by some that this term too has been made captive to new and more economist reform agendas (Welch, 2000a, 2002). Whether these management-focused measures indeed promote higher quality education is not yet proven, although analysis of historical precedents (Callahan, 1962; Welch, 1998b), and contemporary reforms (Gewirtz, Ball and Bowe, 1995), cast considerable doubt on the often exaggerated claims of quality improvement which accompany such schemes. By contrast, what is clearly evident are increased pressures upon school principals and teachers, who need to undertake more paper work and administration, in order to convince the governing body that their schools are in good shape. The ever-increasing demands of externally imposed 'quality' schemes mean that, instead of devoting more time to 'quality teaching' (Tan, 1999; Tse, 2002), school administrators and teachers have to spend more and more time in preparing mission statements, vision building, testing for quality improvements among pupils (but without knowing that the quantitative tests which are almost always used, are actually a good indicator of quality education, in any real sense), and other management-related work. Based upon the idea of 'academic capitalism' proposed by Slaughter and Leslie, we would argue what has been taking place in the university sector in different parts of the world is a global process of 'academic capitalization'. When analyzing how the education sector has been affected by the notions and practices of managerialism and market oriented approach, we must understand that these are dynamic processes, occurring under specific, historically concrete conditions, rather than static situations. By this process of 'academic capitalization', we aim therefore, precisely to highlight just these changes and conditions, and to expose scenarios whereby professors and academics, as well as school principals and teachers, like other professionals, have gradually become involved in the market. Although the ways that teaching and administrative staff, at both schools and universities, are incorporated into the market differ from one institution to another, and from one region (Yang, 2000; Yang and Welch, 2000), or state to another, it is certainly possible to observe broad contours whereby professional and academic work has been patterned along 'market-driven' lines.

A global paradigm: education and the marketplace

It is note-worthy that the economic rhetoric of individual rights and ideologies of 'efficiency' are gaining momentum not only in developed countries but also in the developing countries. Evident among many nations of Asia region over the last decade or so, has been an educational reform agenda centring around such notions as 'excellence', 'enhanced international competitiveness', 'quality', 'increasing system effectiveness', and the like. In the course of attempting to refashion education more directly to achieve national and international economic agendas, many countries have focused on aspects of education which are seen to impact most directly upon human resource development, for example, the reform of higher education systems, or the modernization of vocational education and training.

Recent research in Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Mainland China (Yang, 2000; Yang and Welch, 2000) and other Asian societies, as well as Australia (Welch, 1996), found that some similar reform measures have been adopted (Chan and Mok, 2001; Mok, 2000b, c), albeit in very different contexts. Governments in these societies are increasingly concerned about the role of education in improving the competitiveness of their countries, and their place in regional and global markets, therefore they are very keen to promote the idea of 'life-long learning' and 'quality education' in preparing their youth for the knowledge-based economy (Mok, 2000d; Mok, Tan and Lee, 2000). At the same time, these same governments increasingly promote comprehensive reforms of their education systems, cutting down heavy curriculum, pushing for school effectiveness and launching various management-oriented reforms to improve education quality (Mok, 2000a; Mok, Tan and Lee, 2000; Tan, 1999; Tse, 2002; Weng, 2000). Privatization of either whole, or parts of, educational institutions, or indeed sectors of education (and other areas of social activity), is often now an instrument of economic and social (including education) policy, as is a more user-pays philosophy in education (Mok, 1999; World Bank, 1995a, b). In many societies, including socialist states such as Vietnam and China, this has been part of a wider set of changes whereby foreign direct investment is encouraged; public sector activity has been pruned, often substantially; public sector wages held down, while private economic activities are encouraged within a climate of increasing deregulation; and the economy reshaped towards more export growth oriented industries, and away from state responsibility for areas of social policy such as health, transport, communications and education (see, Welch 2000a; Wong and Flynn, 2001). In turn, state ministries and other public authorities are increasingly subjected to efficiency principles, and made to compete, as though they were private industries (Welch, 1996, 1998b). However, an uneasy relationship exists between such agendas, and notions of equality of access and outcomes. Evident among many systems of education over the past decade or so, and among societies more generally, is widening gaps between rich and poor. Income distribution has often become distinctly more uneven over the last decade or more, and the decade of the 1980s has been characterized as 'disastrous' for Sub-Saharan Africa, and a 'lost decade' for Latin America. In the face of a sharpening tension between increasing population and deepening economic difficulties, equality and access have often worsened, including in education.

Despite the recognition by an increasing number of scholars and academics that globalization has penetrated the education sector (Reimers, 1991; Arnove, 1997), there are many others who argue that the considerable convergence at the level of policy rhetoric and objectives has failed to provide sufficient evidence of systematic convergence at the level of structures and processes in different countries. As Green rightly puts it:

Globalization theory itself, though often inspired and challenging, is uneven in its logical rigour and empirical grounding . . . As regards education, there is very little evidence across the globe that nation states are losing control over their education systems or ceasing to press them into service for national economic and social ends, whatever the recent accretions of internationalism. In fact the opposite may be true. As governments lose control over various levers on their national economies and cede absolute sovereignty in foreign affairs and defence, they frequently turn to education and training as two areas where they do still maintain control. (1999, p. 56)

Similarly, other scholars also argue that different nation states have chosen varied approaches and diverse ways to control the tide of globalization (Dale, 1999; Green, 1999; Mok, 2000b), while many others adopt a more critical attitude towards the impact of globalization (Currie and Newson, 1998; Hirst and Thompson, 1999). Based upon his empirical studies of East Asia and Europe, Green (1997) argues that the futuristic scenarios often outlined by the tide of scholarship on globalization are somewhat overdrawn and unconvincing. While believing that globalization does represent a new set of ideas, rules, and practices that may affect education policy-making, Dale (1999), too, finds it difficult to accept that all countries will respond to the so-called global tide in the same ways, and that they would interpret those rules in identical ways. As Mok argues elsewhere that even though the trend of marketization and privatization has considerably affected education policy in Mainland China and Hong Kong, the two governments have actually interpreted those rules differently. Even though their coping strategies seem to be similar in nature, the ideological basis of each, and the ways they play the rules of the globalization game are varied (Mok, 1999, 2000b). Further work suggests there are immense pressures and intensified tensions between the global and regional, just as between the regional and local (Gopinathan, 1999; Mok, 2000c), while still others have found evidence that regional strategies can even assist institutions in positioning themselves globally (Yang, 2000; Yang and Welch, 2000).

The changes in the socio-economic context resulting from the globalized economy have inevitably led to changes to higher education. As we are heading into an age of communication and information, there is a strong need to rethink about the nature of knowledge and the way education is run. Since we have successfully conquered the challenges of moving from a quality education system for a few people to having a quality education system for most people in the past few decades, what we are now confronting is a move from having a quality education system for most people to developing a quality education system for all. Thus, notions such as 'lifelong learning', 'learning society', and continual education have become increasingly popular (Townsend, 1998).

Globalisation and Reform: Issues for Higher Education

In the current scenario Higher Education has moved from a peripheral to a central position in the responses of the governments to the phenomena of globalisation. And it is key factor in the developing countries, evidenced by the World Bank major study 'Task Force Report on Higher Education in Developing Countries' (2000);

Peter Scott pointed out that 'all universities are subject to the same process of globalisation - partly as object, victims even, of these processes, but partly as a subject of globalisation'(Scott 1998: 122). They are positioned within national system 'locked into national contexts' and majority are still state institutions. Yet globalistion 'is inescapably bound up with emergence of a knowledge society that trades in symbolic goods, worldwide brands, and scientific know-how'(Scott 1998: 127) the tensions generated by such a dichotomy necessarily lead to change and reform. Governments are moved to 'steer' higher education in the hope of repositioning it to increase effectiveness and efficiency (El Khawas, Lillie)

Marijk van der wende, in her inaugural address entitled 'Higher Education Globally: towards new frameworks for research and policy' suggested that there are four rationales for globalisation, each of which resonate in higher education, namely the economic rationale, cultural rationale, political rationale and academic rationale, and these provide a very useful framework for exploring the different wyas in which globalisation has stimulated reforms in the higher Education sector

The Economic Rationale

Considerable interest has been shown by government in support of the claim that Higher education bring with it enhanced earning power, but the drivers from governments for an expansion of higher education system(c.f. Marginson) stem much more from a concern to be economically competitive in international terms. In ' The future of higher Education' published by UK department for Education and Skills(2003) it is clear that ' a higher education sector which meet the need of the economy in term of trained people, research and the technology transfer' (2003:21) is a central concern.

The economic imperative continues to drive a government to believe that more knowledge and skill will make for more wealth creation in the country(De Corte 2003) , Charles Clark, in the foreword to 'the future of Higher education' urge 'to make better progress in harnessing knowledge to wealth creation'(Clarke 2003)

The vision of competitive society whose innovative and creative researchers place the country high on the list often recurs in government documents, also with the growth of emphasis on the market has come a new interest in the universities to collaborate closely with market.

The Cultural rationale

One of the characteristic of the cultural rationale is the enhancement of quality and sharing of good practice between institutions, which can meet the demands of governments for information and many stakeholders - students, employers, parents, governments - who are interested in the results. The demand for access to higher education and to participation in it is also a characteristic of cultural rationale.

The political rationale

Marijk Van der Wende(2002) write that the political rationale is a 'response to support the process of reconstruction, nation-building and economic and democratic reform through co-operation, capacity building, knowledge transfer and the education of a local intellectual cohort to modern and international standard'(Van der Wende:33)

The academic rationale

The academic rationale can note be totally separated from the desire to make money for the university from international endeavors, from 1980s it was perceived that internationalization is a mean of enhancing the quality of the education and research. The 'brain drain' of top academic from one country to another, in search of conducive condition for their research and improved economic reward, is still with us, but the worry now is that less developed countries may lose their leading intellectuals to developed countries, with expectedly massive damage to their own systems.

Many researchers has referred the strategic international alliances between universities of different countries, international research projects, international degree offerings, international exchange of academic staff and students , has become commonplace. The flow of people and ideas around the world are seen as generating additional institutional and national income (Marginson,Sporn)

Some also argue that foreign students act as 'ambassadors for their countries' .Although this argument may be well discussed. There is no doubt that future leaders of less developed countries develop strong ties with the country where they study as graduates, which can be very valuable.

The capacity of the academic to access information from all points of the globe in pursuing their own research and preparing their own teaching is a recent and much more appreciated boon


Globalisation is itself a complex force that affects all aspects of our global and national education system, on the one hand is the pull toward cooperation, social cohesion, social harmony, transparency, equity and to enable greater number to participate in higher education, one the other hand are the financial issues, the neo-liberal agenda that calls for competition, free trade and the dominance of the market. The flow of change move first in one direction then in another: equity, inequality, convergence, divergence, change, inclusion, the global, the local. The recognition that Higher Education reforms are necessarily intertwined with the effect of globalisation may enable us to understand more clearly the higher education system and their relationship to society as a whole