Higher Education: IIEP launches a new research programme

Design and management of higher education systems: The role of steering policies and governance reforms

This international research programme is planned to be implemented in different regions in a phased manner. The first phase is focusing on Asia. Five countries that have recently introduced major governance reform – Cambodia, China, Japan, Indonesia and Vietnam – are participating in the research. 

These countries selected for in-depth studies represent varying context and levels of development of higher education. The gross enrolment ratio (GER) in higher education varies between 5 per cent in Cambodia and 58 per cent in Japan. Some higher education systems selected are market driven and widely privatized, others are state planned and regulated. This diversity will allow IIEP to study the effects of governance reform in varying contexts of political systems and higher education sectors.  

A workshop to discuss methodology

In Bangkok, Thailand, on 21 and 22 June 2010, a two-day workshop was organized with the researchers from the five selected countries. The main objective was to discuss the research proposal and the methodology to be used.

The meeting was organized jointly with SEAMEO Regional Institute of Higher Education Development, which provided major support in terms of logistics, and UNESCO Bangkok.

It appeared that the rationale for introducing governance reforms vary from one context to another as well as the detailed nature of reform measures. It emerged from the discussions that the major governance reform adopted in all countries is in the area of “Autonomy and accountability”. This theme has therefore been adopted unanimously as the overarching theme for research.

The participants of the workshop represented an interesting group of researchers and policy makers active in the area of higher education governance. This representation will undoubtedly allow combining different perspectives in the national research teams.