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HIGHER EDUCATION IN THE ERA OF GLOBALISATION

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   www.iaset.us editor@iaset.us HIGHER EDUCATION IN THE ERA OF GLOBALISATION KALIM SIDDIQUI Teaches International Economics, University of Huddersfield, UK ABSTRACT The article will analyse the impact of globalisation on higher education. Some have argued that globalisation will  provide equal opportunities. While others claim that globalisation would mean the McDonaldisation of the university and also worldwide inequality. The current pressure on higher education mainly due to neoliberal globalisation has increased the role for private sector in higher education. The paper examines the realities of globalisation in higher education to highlight some of the ways in which globalisation affects the higher education in developing countries, particularly India and China. It is argued here that the business needs are changing both at national and international levels. And there is increased demand from corporate sector to change the courses to meet their interests. Higher education is facing cuts in funds and declining investments thanks to the neoliberal policies. The recent attempt to include higher education within the framework of WTO through the General Agreements on Trade in Services (GATS) seeks to establish “open markets” for knowledge products of all kinds. Finally, the current neo-liberal globalisation supported by IMF, World Bank and WTO is very different than previous experiences as it provides increased role of transnational corporations (TNCs) and foreign academic institutions in the developing countries. KEYWORDS:    Neo-Liberalism, Globalisation, Higher Education, FDI, GATS, China and India INTRODUCTION The aim of this paper is to provide some insights into the various ways in which Higher Education is being influenced by the pressures of globalisation. The study focuses on globalisation, which is based on neo-liberal polices and discusses its effects on Higher Education. Globalisation of higher education has been reinforced by ‘market forces’ i.e. demand and supply. The business needs are changing both at national and international levels and there is increased demand from corporate sector to change the curriculum and courses to meet their interests. At the same time, the supply of higher education is dominated by mostly public universities, which are facing cuts in funding and declining investments. We will examine the recent increased role of ‘profit - seeking’  approach towards higher education in the name of globalisation (Lambert and Butler, 2006). It is also argued here that the knowledge and information revolution associated with globalisation has created positive climate that could provide both challenges and opportunities. Higher education is considered to be crucial to increase productivity and economic growth and promote development as last quarter century of rapid growth in the East Asian countries have shown. Higher education is the main tool by which to promote economic development and improve living conditions. In these economies the government has played a vital role for the promotion and development of human capital (Siddiqui, 2009). However, the  proponents of the ‘f  ree market’  argue that globalisation and market forces, not the state, provide a new opportunity for higher education in the developing countries. In India for example, globalisation is influencing the quality of education. In recent years there has been a proliferation of substandard International Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences (IJHSS) ISSN(P): 2319-393X; ISSN(E): 2319-3948 Vol. 3, Issue 2, Mar 2014, 9-32 © IASET  10 Kalim Siddiqui   www.iaset.us editor@iaset.us overseas institutions which charge high fees, but provide poor education. Moreover, in India there is no law for consumer  protection or regulation in higher education markets. We find the issue of relevance to the society the content and the scope is determined by the requirements of the Western business interests, not in the interests of the developing societies. This article examines the problem associated with the application of market logic to higher education, which is supposed to play an important role in China and India. For instance, in the context the market forces seen by India as vital to achieve government stated objectives in higher education such as expansion and excellence. In this study we will argue that the market logic seriously compromises value and quality of higher education. Academics in India have argued that there is need for economic reforms in higher education with greater infusion of market principles and greater role of  private sector to maintain the high GDP growth rates (Gupta et al, 2008). Recent globalisation has been dominated by neoliberalism. The Neoliberalism started more than three decades ago in US and UK and later on taken up by the IMF and the World Bank (Morey, 2004). It is based on process of change in the  political economy of capitalism - privatisation, deregulation and financialisation. Under neo-liberalism, the economic culture increasingly centred on individual performance, not for collective purposes. It is important to understand how the market for higher education is evolving and what it implies for education in broader sense of the term. The neoliberalism  bound to make education subservient to the market forces. Across the world, private higher education has grown rapidly in the last few decades. At present, about 30 % of the global higher education enrolment is private. In Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia and Philippines more than two-thirds students are educated privately (Altbach, 2009). Also private universities are expanding rapidly in Asia and Africa. The reasons for recent rise of private sector are not difficult to understand. The most important factor is government’s inability to meet the growing demands. Private institut ions have entered the market to offer courses large part in vocational areas. At the same time public institutions have witnessed  budget cuts. The changing government policy and increased reliance on market forces have implications for access to higher education, as well as quality and excellence. The Indian government aims to attain gross enrolment rate in higher education to 15% by 2012, from about 11% in 2009. The central government has already taken initiative to set up of 30 central universities and colleges with special focus on deprived regions and communities. The arguments for infusing private sector role in higher education remain subject to close scrutiny. As Bridges and Jonathan (2003) find, “The trouble is, however, that market conditions cont ain several dynamics which create first differences of quality (and not just of character) and then unequal access to the best. First, it is evident that in a market environment success breeds success and failure just as surely breeds failure. Early achievement encourages custom, which  brings additional resources and commitment, which enables further success and so on: early failure opens the way to a  precipitous drop down a less virtuous circle” (Bridges and Jonathan. 2003: 135)  The market as an institutional arrangement may be neutral and provide equal opportunities to all in theory, but in reality it accentuates inequality as all participants do not equally command the resources to participate in the market. Those who are left out of the market due to factors such as economic, social and educational factors, becomes worst off. As Hogan (1999) argues , “....markets are structures of power organised around a system of social (specifically, class) relations that ‘structure’ social action in determinate ways   in which the possession of certain attributes or ‘market capacities’ advantages some individuals and groups relative to others” (Hogan, 1999: 330).  The proponents of neoliberalism ignore the inherent power inequalities due to the unequal distribution of assets and purchasing power.  Higher Education in the Era of Globalisation 11   www.iaset.us editor@iaset.us In a country like India with widening disparities of higher education is viewed as an instrument for fostering social mobility (Siddiqui, 2011). We find the market difficult to achieve success because of information asymmetry and the huge externalities it generates. Since market is unable to ensure the equal distribution of resources, therefore the role of government has to be proactive in provision of social goods like education. In terms of enrolment in higher education worldwide, the USA is the largest (i.e. 17 million), second is China nearly (21 million) and India is the third largest enrolment of the overseas students in 2008 (12million). The growth of enrolment is higher education in India has been phenomenal sine independence, from less than 1 million in 1947 to 12 million in 2005 (Altbach, 2009). India has got currently 252 state universities, 18 000 colleges and large number of vocational training institutions (Baty, 2009; Government of India, 2008). A recent Global Research Report   from Thomson Reuters argues that India is set to overtake in terms of research output by 2020. They think world’s leading economies might be able to alter the current scenarios as rapid growth creates a “new geography” of gl obal research. The report,  India: Research and Collaboration in New Geography of Science , suggests that India lags behind the developed countries but the government wants to change this. In its Five-year plan for 2007-2012 aims to four fold rise in spending in education compared to previous plan. The current government spending on scientific research accounted for only 0.9 % of GDP. However, by 2012 it is expected to rise to 1.2 % of India’s GDP. Moreover, about 2.4 % of the population hold graduate degrees (20.5 million) in 1991, which rose to 4.5 % (48.7 million) in 2005 (Baty, 2009:20-21). The different countries are affected differently. For instance, European countries may adjust to new degree structures to harmonise on the basis of Bologna initiatives (Jacobs and Ploeg, 2006). The process of globalisation is also affecting higher education in developing countries 1 . In the 21 st  Century the knowledge economy is suppose to play a central role and due to this higher education has assumed unprecedented importance both for the developing and developed countries 2 . The current initiative led by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) debate concerning the General Agreements on Trade in Services (GATS)  –   this seems to be an attempt by the TNCs and governments in the developed countries to integrate higher education into the legal structures of the WTO 3 . We find not much work is done on the question of globalisation and education, particularly among economist. The aim of this paper is to reflect and explore the interconnections between globalisation and education in the developing countries. The effects of globalisation on higher education appear to be considerable in developing countries. It is here that market-friendly policies are promoted with active intervention by international financial and national governmental through policies like privatisation, cost-sharing and part-time employment (Bok, 2003). In many developing countries job security and academic freedom is being threatened. The study also focuses on the most recent higher education trends, where academic programmes or institutions from the developed countries are being offered in the developing countries. Often these programmes are launched in collaboration with local institutions in developing countries (Hayes and Wynyard, 2002). 1) Developed countries ’  are defined as highly industrialized nations as United States, Japan, UK, Germany, Canada, France, Italy. 2) Developed countries ’  are defined as highly industrialized nations as United States, Japan, UK, Germany, Canada, France   , Italy. 3) See World Trade Organisation (WTO) available at www.wto.org    12 Kalim Siddiqui   www.iaset.us editor@iaset.us Higher education institutions are being transformed with globalisation through out the world, which is ‘the widening, deepening and speeding up of wor  l d wide interconnectedness’ (Held et al, 1999: 2). However, higher education was always more internationalised because of its immersion in knowledge, which was less concerned with national boundaries. With the growing impact of globalisation, governments and universities are preoccupied increasingly  by strategies of increased cross-border co-operation 4  and issues such as bench-marking, ranking and global comparisons (Held et al 1999; Liu and Liu, 2005; Liu and Cheng, 2005). In recent years providers of higher education are also emerging in the developing economies like China, Malaysia Singapore and India, which are becoming key players in global markets (Siddiqui, 2012; Marginson and Wende, 2007). The structure of this article is as follows: First, the introduction presents a brief introduction to the subject area. The second section outlines the essential characteristics of globalisation. The third section develops an analytical framework to consider how globalisation influences higher education. The fourth section analyses the role of WTO and GATS in the service sector. The fifth section discusses the increased role of IT and English language in the period of globalisation; and finally, draws out countries ’  experience, particularly implications of free-market policies for higher education in India and China. Education is part of services as different from goods. Economists argue that education poses unique characteristics as its production and consumption cannot be stored and both producers and consumers must interact because it requires physical proximity of both actors. We have witnessed in recent years more and more students from the developing countries move to study in academic institutions based in the West (Marginson, 1999; Marginson and Wende, 2007). In recent years dramatic changes in telecommunications and information technologies has created unprecedented situations in services sectors. For a long time, higher education was tradable in one category where student moved to the service provider i.e. to premier universities in the developed countries. Halsey et al (1997) argue that “ education remains one of the few areas of social policy over which national governments are able to assert decisive influence. The educational policy controlled by government is an important test of statecraft where governments can demonstrate their power to improve the conditions of everyday life ”  (Halsey, et al, 1997:159). According to Halsey et al governments fear the loss of national sovereignty and ‘forms of backlash chauvinism’ reaction towards national and cultural identity. In the case English speaking countries the reaction was seen as cultural restorations through curriculum prescriptions, as some try to maintain national sovereignty in the face of what is being seen as legitimation crisis for national government (Habermas, 1976). The ways and means by which higher education is provided is changing. The consumers i.e. students and parents have an increasingly preference for those courses which will not only make them employable, but higher salaries. Thus, the  popularity of courses is associated with the market demand. The universities design their courses after liaison with the employers’ organisations. In recent years there has been increasing relationship between higher academic institutions and employers. Moreover, the market exercises a greater influence on the research agenda especially in business, medicines or engineering. Goodson (1990) identifies that the economic imperatives that are so evident in the technical-rational structures of the curricula worldwide. It may be seen as threats to national sovereignty and may undermine any attempts to the national building the educational institutions and national curricula. The move towards centralised curriculum and 4) In recent discussions, for example OECD, World Bank have emphasised the need to include education in services. Trade in education services is also termed as cross-border education, which refers to the movements of people programmes, providers, knowledge, study projects and services cross national boundaries .  Higher Education in the Era of Globalisation 13   www.iaset.us editor@iaset.us assessment is  part of ‘push and pull’ globalization  policy (Giddens, 1990). Some see an attempt to undermine local and national skills and knowledge by the big corporations in order to make their product more competitive in global markets (Bloom, 2005). The globalisation has increased the marketisation of education and withdrawal of the government from the control and responsibility for administration (Apple, 1995). The Meaning of Globalisation The term ‘globalisation’ is described as a process of integration into the world economy. I t is based on a strategy of development through a rapid integration with the world economy. These policies of globalisation rely largely on trade, foreign direct investment and international finance. In brief, it can be summarised as a process linked with greater economic openness, increased role of market forces and economic integration with the global economy. Wiseman (1995) has provided a useful definition of globalisation: This is a “contested trend towards more independent, local, national and transnational economies and societies, the expansion of international trade, investment, production and financial flows, the growing significance of regional trading blocs and trade agreements, more influential roles for international financial institutions and transnational corporations, far greater mobility of capital  –   particularly financial capital  –   and the overall spread of highly commodified and individualised economic, social and cultural relations into ever more spheres of human activity” (Wiseman, 1995: 5). A major change has been taking place in higher education, is the globalisation of economic, cultural and academic institutions along with the increasing interdependence of nations. In the US since the 1980s for-profit colleges received large amount of federal subsidies through student financial aid, which allowed them to shift from being purely market-driven to one being partially federally subsidised. At present is US they are known as career colleges and are major  providers of the skill training beyond the secondary school level (Morey, 2004). As markets became more global, economic development is linked to country’s abilities to acquire and utilise scientific, technical and economic knowledge, and medium to high levels of technology content now characterises over half of international trade. For-profit institutions focus on students as customers and provide services for them that is relevant to the market need (Morey, 2004). To some extent, globalisation has opened the access to available information for scholar to study (Rodrik 1997). While some argue that it also has reinforced existing inequalities and created new barriers. Stiglitz (2002) has argued that in some respect globalisation works against the interest of developing countries and at the same time re-enforcing global inequalities. He is not opposed to globalisation and sees it as inevitable (Stiglitz 2002; Siddiqui, 1998). The state may have retreated from the direct role in production, but still serve to regulate competing capitals, especially in realm of conflicts  between states. Collinicos (1994) notes: “although the pronounced tendency towards global integration of capital over the  past generation has severely reduced the ability of states to control economic activities within their borders, private capital continue to rely on the nation state to which they are most closely attached to protect them against the competition of other capitals, the effects of economic crisis, and the resistance of those they exploit” (Collinicos 1994: 54). Since mid-1980s the economic power and activities of TNCs have accelerated in terms of investment and economic integration (Beck, 2000; Girdner and Siddiqui, 2008). The current globalisation is the result of two key factors namely  –   technological and political. Firstly, the rapid growths of electronic communications have made it possible for top managers to oversee the businesses operating in many countries at the same time. Technology has made all these tasks
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