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Where have we got to in attaining and sustaining mass higher education? José Mariano Gago


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Where have we got to in attaining and sustaining mass higher education? José Mariano Gago

  1. 1. Where have we got to in attaining and sustaining mass higher education?Institutional Management in Higher EducationGeneral ConferenceOECD, Paris, September 2012 INSTITUTO SUPERIOR TÉCNICO LISBON PORTUGAL
  2. 2. Where have we got to in attaining and sustaining mass higher education?How is the world of HE developing and changing in response to evolvingdemands for HE in different countries and regions?>FAST AND IRREPRESSIBLYHow are economic development, regional trends and globalization patternsreshaping the HE sector?>WIDENING PARTICIPATION, DEEPENING DIFFERENCES, BECOMING AKEY (POLITICAL) PLAYERHow important is mass HE as an underpinning for economiccompetitiveness and social progress?> UNAVOIDABLE (CRITICAL AT A GLOBAL SCALE)What roles do broader access and equity need to play in the shift towardsmass HE? POLITICAL
  3. 3. QuestionsIs HE always a good thing for all countries, at all times?No, but the demand for higher education responds to “good” social aspirations, not to theassessment of their (local) fulfillment for present generationsCan a trade-off be achieved combining mass higher education with excellence, equity withselectivity?Yes, if resources are available, and if distinct social constituencies and aspirations are made part ofthe same development policy: widening and diversifying the base for HE, on the one hand, buildingup high level research capabilities and evaluation systems, on the other hand.What to do with “long tail” of students badly prepared and unable to cope with minimum decent HEstandards?HE development policies require considerable efforts in pursuing quality and inclusiveness ingeneral education . Anyhow, mass HE will always require institutional segmentation and different(although interconnected) higher education pathways.Demand for mass HE entails unrealistic public expectations: diplomas may not translate into jobs.What should policy makers do?In many countries, aspirations to social mobility or to middle class social reproduction andexpansion lead to mass HE, although such aspirations will not be fulfilled. Frustration at a verylarge scale may trigger political revolution that can liberate the economy and provide, in the longrun, fulfillment of initial aspirations, for future generations.
  4. 4. QuestionsBut, after all, what can policy makers do?- Do the best they can to steer social aspirations into the development of better knowledgeinstitutions, namely by:.Diversifying and interconnecting higher education pathways and outcomes, namely by providingvocational courses short cycles, and professional and technical diplomas, eventually to beembedded in traditional courses.Combining the widening of HE base with the strengthening of the top.Defining and enforcing realistic and evolving regulatory and quality assurance mechanisms.Focusing on the virtuous process of job creation for new teaching staff (induced by mass HE)combined with career development processes based upon the requirement of a research or aprofessional degree.Fostering decent capacity building international partnerships.Supporting quality research, namely by providing external steering and evaluation to research andinternational scientific cooperation.Helping the building up of a “constructive” social constituency, for the development of science &technology as well as for widening the access to higher education
  5. 5. The world of knowledge is changing rapidly (1)a larger fraction of humanity aspires to education andhigher education is increasingly perceived as tomorrow’s generaleducationin 2010: 177 M (+77% since 2000)students enrolled outside their country of origin: 0.8M in 1975, 2.1M (2.1%) in2000, 4.1M in 2010 (2.3% )HE has become an aspiration for all, and not exclusively for the social elitesHE is increasingly perceived as a social, economic and political driving forcefor progress in developing countries – providing a renewed constituency forscientific development, political democracy and justice, and for the quality ofgeneral educationhigher education is becoming a major political actor in part of thedeveloping world
  6. 6. The world of knowledge is changing rapidly (2)science is increasingly global and increasingly perceived as linked tohuman, social and economic progress2002 > 20075.7 > 7.1 M researchers (+25%)780 > 1150 b US$ (+45%)1.1 > 1.6 M publications (international cooperation: 8% in 1987, 20% in 2007)Where? Asia, Latin America, Africa
  7. 7. The world of knowledge is changing rapidly (3)changes in the constituencies for knowledge and renewed science policyagendas: .Risk Governance (prevention, mitigation, response, trust) is a newdriver of science policies: health, natural and industrial disasters, industrial andother major public risks, quality and availability of water and food, energy. .Data intensive science has spread from particle physics andastrophysics to the biological and environmental sciences and many otherareas. ICT and Science become closely interlinked (but: infrastructure, IPR,inequalities) . Science & Academic networking at world level: institutional networkingfor capacity building is becoming key; new patterns of institutional capacitybuilding programmes are now added to the traditional fluxes of individualstudents.
  8. 8. Where have we got to in attaining and sustaining mass higher education?Mass higher education…1.Became an irrepressible and inevitable social response to globalization2.Shapes political evolution (and revolution) in the developing world3.Crystalizes aspirations to social mobility and promises of social progress – that willremain largely unfulfilled4.Opens up new opportunities for socioeconomic and education policies: HE institutionsas economic enablers, diversifying and interconnecting education pathways, linkingeducation and work, fostering community action5.Helps women in approaching gender equality6.Is a curse and a challenge, both for government and for HE staff and management7.Will become a universal battleground for religious and ideological fanaticism8.Will trigger large world migration fluxes of qualified human resources (but may helpmitigating brain drain)9.Will allow for a new political role of interconnected researchers and academics at worldlevel and for renewed North-South HE partnerships10.Brings about the conditions for unprecedented science development11. May change the world of knowledge and the world at large (might it bring Peace!)
  9. 9. Mass higher education May change the world of knowledge and therefore the world at large (might it bring Peace!) But when the bell was thus broken off it lost all its magic power; it might ring henceforth, butnever might it bring peace to the heart of man more. Yet so had Iseult willed it, that true andfaithful lover, apart from Tristan would she not be joyful, for all her heart and life had she givenunto him (…)( Tristan, part X; Gottfried von Strassburg, c 1210)
  10. 10. Praise the joint efforts by UNESCO and OECD Thank OECD for its extraordinary work in education and in science, technology and innovation for KnowledgeStatistical Sources used:OECD, Education at Glance 2012OECD, Science, Technology and Industry Scoreboard 2011UNESCO, World Science Report 2010UNESCO, Trends in Higher Education, 2009