Universities & Colleges will not be
the same under globalization &
By Dr. Prem Misir
In the not too distant future, we will see greater internationalization in world higher education, with the university transnationals in the top tier, followed by private institutions, and community college-types at the bottom. This is just one of many predictions in a new book Globalization and Internationalization in Higher Education, edited by Felix Maringe, senior lecturer in education at the University of Southampton, and Nick Foskett, vice-chancellor of Keele University; Times Higher Education (THE) carried this book report.
Professor Foskett told THE that a key theme of the book is the failure to recognize higher education internationalization within the context of a global village; and that it is not merely recruitment of international students.
The book argues that increasing student numbers and limits on public funding will remain for some time, producing an inflated marketization of the global higher education system.
For those universities in the top tier, internationalization will become natural through cross-cultural programs, international campuses, and distance education. And their focus will be more on quality assurance and market differentiation. A second tier of internationalized universities will function within the global context, but will have some nexus with the local higher education system. The third tier will function within the local context with some international involvement for students and other resources. The fourth tier will operate as a community college system pursuing little or no research. Those compartmentalized within the second through the fourth tiers have to start thinking in terms of mergers and partnerships.
The book is timely, but some of these issues are already with us. Clearly, in the coming years, universities and colleges will not be the same as the patterns of globalization change periodically. The new mantra has to be the provision of cost-efficient education, monitoring and evaluation of academic performance, and producing graduates with marketable skills. In fact, efficiency and accountability have become the standards for assessing and evaluating university performance in the face of globalization and competition.
And those who argue for increased tuition fees and student loans within this context of globalization and competition without a thought for the low-income groups, will generate serious detrimental effects on that society. In this context, a government will have to develop a dynamic economic rationale for whatever funding it will provide for higher education. There must be value for money.
Globalization and competition are already taking its toll on many universities. As an example, Glasgow Caledonian University faces a 15% funding cut for 2011-2013, and one of its many proposals to address this situation includes significant academic restructuring; in fact, one plan includes reducing six (6) schools to three (3) faculties. This University is experiencing a reduced student population and increased competition from other universities. And the University already instituted an internal evaluation of the entire institution to identify cost and productivity areas that may ensure long-term sustainability.
The bottom line is that we have to plan higher education within the context of globalization, competition, and an evolving knowledge-based economy. The alternative is to become a victim of the internationalization of higher education.