Work programme 2009-2012
Global Higher Education Forum 2009
Should the dominant model (American/European) of higher education expand into the South? Many higher education providers and stakeholders question the movement towards a unitarty model of higher education. The Global Higher Education Forum in December 2009 provides an opportunity to critically address these issues through dialogue.
Sub-theme 1: HE Regionalisation and Harmonisation: One Model Fits All?
How does one unitary HE model impact HE regionalisation and harmonisation? In considering the question, the issue of global convergence or divergence looms large and raises the need to address the following issues:
- Diversity of HE models, either existing or that existed in recent past
- Current trends in regional harmonisation of HE systems
- Challenges and issues in regional HE cooperation
Sub-theme 2: HE in a Globally Competitive World – From a Tradable to a Competitive Commodity
The fact that HE is a tradable commodity under WTO/GATS has encouraged the provision of HE across borders and given a new dimension to internationalisation of HE. While there are positive aspects to these developments, there are equally negative effects which need to be discussed. And the relatively new trend of global ranking of HE institutions is influencing policy makers in planning their HE sector. The issues that need to be debated include the following:
- Should HE be a tradable commodity?
- Cross-border HE and internationalisation: Are there losers?
- Global ranking and benchmarking of HE institutions: Who benefits?
Sub-theme 3: HE in Times of Global Financial and Economic Turbulence
The current global economic meltdown is challenging many sectors and will inevitably affect the HE sector. At a time when HE is widely acknowledged as a motor for growth and development, especially in the South, the repercussions can be serious. It is therefore imperative to discuss the effects of the economic crisis on the HE sector, and consider how they can be mitigated. One also needs to examine whether the HE sector in the South will be affected in the same way as in the North. The issues of concern are:
- Repercussions of the economic crisis on the HE sector: Funding, student enrolment, quality, etc.
- Will HE in the South be affected in the same way as in the North? What will be the impact on national growth and development?
- How can the challenges be overcome? Are there avenues for North-South HE collaboration?
Sub-theme 4: Scenarios for HE Futures
The desirability of a unitary model of HE has motivated the debate on one model fits all. It should also stimulate discussions on alternative models and encourage the creative process of re-thinking HE that would serve the future of humanity. In this regard, discussions on the scenarios for HE futures should focus on the following:
- HE to serve local or global needs, or both?
- Alternative models of HE futures
- Embedding values and service to humanity in HE futures