The World View

The World View

A blog from the Center for International Higher Education

October 29, 2012 - 10:25am
In our knowledge society, research universities are key actors that can make national innovation systems more competitive. This task, however, is not easy in some Latin American countries and not only because they have a significantly lower per capita GDP than those countries with the top 100 universities. Building research universities implies concentrating funds in a handful of institutions. In a context of scarce resources and a mass education policy, this funding design may exacerbate conflict in the allocation process. So, from a political perspective it is not as feasible for Latin America to build world-class universities. Nonetheless, they should make the effort and thus close the advanced technology gap.
October 22, 2012 - 8:20pm
Quantity without quality, particularly in the context of higher education, is simply meaningless and wasteful—perhaps dangerous. The ongoing phenomenon of mergers and consolidations taking place in South Africa, as controversial as it may be, has some lessons for Africa in an expansion mode.   
October 15, 2012 - 7:02pm
In typical Latin American fashion, university leaders in this part of the world shoot the messenger, suspect global conspiracy, and seek refuge in an idiosyncratic parallel universe: a group met in Mexico in May, backed by UNESCO, to denounce the global rankings as invalid measurements of quality, decry the “Anglo Saxon” bias in them, and proclaim that given than universities in this part of the world are different, rankings should be designed that reflect the “social” mission of universities in Latin America, an elusive concept to name what universities supposedly do in here that is not research, or teaching, or transfer of research results, or indeed any of the functions associated with the university as an institution elsewhere in the world.
October 8, 2012 - 6:16pm
It is too easy to forget that communicating is much more than words and that language is anchored in culture.  There are many words and phrases that simply do not translate and when people attempt to convey cultural concepts in a foreign language, meaning is often lost, or at least changed. 
October 2, 2012 - 10:37am
A guest blogger's eflections on the recent EAIE meeting in Dublin:  Europe, as we all know, has been and continues to go through a fascinating yet difficult process of higher education reform, made increasingly complex by the Euro zone crisis and the shaky overall global financial outlook. There is active, fundamental reconsideration underway of the central purposes of higher education, for example the extent to which labor force cultivation and innovation specifically to drive the knowledge economy should stand as primary goals, at the expense of time and resources devoted to more humanistic aspects of students’ personal, civic and intellectual development. In tandem, deep discussion in Europe currently centers on how best to achieve the many objectives that have been laid at the feet of the postsecondary sector by governments, industry and society at large.  
September 18, 2012 - 9:10pm
Emory’s decision to shut down several programs should not be so shocking as it represents the trend in US higher education to follow, not lead, American society.  The decision reminds us that even established, prestigious institutions like Emory are not free from the influence of “the market”.  Although Emory’s decision is understandable on practical grounds, this should set off alarms for educators everywhere.  
September 10, 2012 - 7:44pm
Last year’s student protests in Chile had as one of its main targets the pursuit of profit in education. The argument defended by demonstrators and shared, according to opinion polls, by a large majority of Chileans, was that financial gain from education is morally illegitimate and ought to be legally banned. Most people seemed to believe that education cannot be, under any circumstances, a business enterprise.
August 30, 2012 - 7:39pm
Latin America remains locked into a content-laden notion of university education.  After all, universities in the region have a long tradition of preparing professionals. In many countries the university degree is equivalent to a professional license, making it more critical to stuff a student’s brain with as much discipline-specific knowledge as possible. This paradigm may have been effective during the last century, but is it still the best way to prepare future generations of university graduates?  
August 22, 2012 - 7:35pm
In considering  higher education policy in Brazil and, in particular, the very recent legislation increasing racial quotas to 50% of enrollment, one gropes to identify any policies in world higher education history that have mandated such a large quota in favor of any group (whereas of course public policy has sometimes completely excluded certain groups).  Or that have mandated even small official admission favoritism for graduates of one secondary school sector over another. Moreover, Brazil’s mechanism of reform is massive imposition of national government power over university autonomy.
August 14, 2012 - 7:44pm
For the last several months, the Brazilian federal universities have been paralyzed by strikes, and, in an independent development, last week the Congress approved legislation requiring that 50% of the vacancies in these institutions should be destined to students coming from public schools, and distributed according to race. 

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