Globalization and cross-border education: challenges for the development of higher education in Commonwealth countries

Varghese, N.V.
Research papers IIEP
26 p.
Tertiary education

Online version

About the publication

Commonwealth countries vary widely in terms of their size and level of development. A few of them are developed countries with massifi ed systems of higher education, whereas the majority of them are developing countries - some have a small but expanding higher education sector, some share the facilities of a university located in another country, and some do not have a university of their own and rely on cross-border provisions of higher education. This paper argues that the emergence of the knowledge economy and the resultant demand for skills have necessitated an expansion of higher education in all countries, encouraged skill migration from developing to developed countries, and promoted cross-border education (i.e. the mobility of students, institutions, and programmes). These changes also saw an end to an era when national public institutions alone provided higher education. The private sector and cross-border institutions are expanding fast and increasing their share in enrolment in higher education. In the process, the burden of fi nancing higher education has shifted from the public to the household domain. The proliferation of institutions and programmes has given rise to problems related to the quality of higher education. Although governments have created national accreditation agencies, quality remains a serious issue in many countries. The major challenge lies in developing strategies to expand higher education while devising measures to ensure equity and quality. The role of the state remains important in developing policies to promote equity, guaranteeing quality, and regulating the operation of multiple agencies that off er higher education. This regulatory role of the state continues to increase even when its role in fi nancing higher education may be on the decline.