Wednesday Jun 11, 2014

Universities 2030: Learning from the Past to Anticipate the Future

What will the landscape of international higher education look like a generation from now? What challenges and opportunities lie ahead for universities, especially “global” research universities? And what can university leaders do to prepare for the major social, economic, and political changes—both foreseen and unforeseen—that may be on the horizon? The nine essays in this collection proceed on the premise that one way to envision “the global university” of the future is to explore how earlier generations of university leaders prepared for “global” change—or at least responded to change—in the past. As the essays in this collection attest, many of the patterns associated with contemporary “globalization” or “internationalization” are not new; similar processes have been underway for a long time (some would say for centuries).[1] A comparative-historical look at universities’ responses to global change can help today’s higher-education leaders prepare for the future.

Written by leading historians of higher education from around the world, these nine essays identify “key moments” in the internationalization of higher education: moments when universities and university leaders responded to new historical circumstances by reorienting their relationship with the broader world. Covering more than a century of change—from the late nineteenth century to the early twenty-first—they explore different approaches to internationalization across Europe, Asia, Australia, North America, and South America. Notably, while the choice of historical eras was left entirely open, the essays converged around four periods: the 1880s and the international extension of the “modern research university” model; the 1930s and universities’ attempts to cope with international financial and political crises; the 1960s and universities’ role in an emerging postcolonial international development apparatus; and the 2000s and the rise of neoliberal efforts to reform universities in the name of international economic “competitiveness.”

Each of these four periods saw universities adopt new approaches to internationalization in response to major historical-structural changes, and each has clear parallels to today. Among the most important historical-structural challenges that universities confronted were: (1) fluctuating enrollments and funding resources associated with global economic booms and busts; (2) new modes of transportation and communication that facilitated mobility (among students, scholars, and knowledge itself); (3) increasing demands for applied science, technical expertise, and commercial innovation; and (4) ideological reconfigurations accompanying regime changes (e.g., from one internal regime to another, from colonialism to postcolonialism, from the cold war to globalized capitalism, etc.). Like universities today, universities in the past responded to major historical-structural changes by internationalizing: by joining forces across space to meet new expectations and solve problems on an ever-widening scale.

Approaches to internationalization have typically built on prior cultural or institutional ties. In general, only when the benefits of existing ties had been exhausted did universities reach out to foreign (or less familiar) partners. As one might expect, this process of “reaching out” has stretched universities’ traditional cultural, political, and/or intellectual bonds and has invariably presented challenges, particularly when national priorities have differed—for example, with respect to curricular programs, governance structures, norms of academic freedom, etc. Strategies of university internationalization that either ignore or downplay cultural, political, or intellectual differences often fail, especially when the pursuit of new international connections is perceived to weaken national ties. If the essays in this collection agree on anything, they agree that approaches to internationalization that seem to “de-nationalize” the university usually do not succeed (at least not for long).

Please continue reading the other essays at

Wednesday Jan 29, 2014

Higher Education Vision 2030

We have seen our neighbouring countries like China, Korea and Singapore, transform from developing to advanced economies in a short span of time owing to a larger vision that correlated economic development to reforms in the education sector, in particular higher education and research. With this in vision, India needs to charter out an education plan to educate and empower our youth through a sound education system with a clear vision and a time-bound roadmap.

It is interesting to know that by 2030, India is expected  to be the fastest growing economy touching a GDP of $10 trillion and one of the youngest nations in the world with a median age of 32. The greying developed world is expected to face a skilled talent shortage of approximately 56 million by 2030 and is already looking at India as the future stock of skilled talent.

With this in context, FICCI has endeavoured to create a ‘Vision 2030' for Higher Education in India; similar to a revolution that India had for Telecom in the 90s.

Mr. Mohan Das Pai (Chairman, FICCI Higher Education Committee), wrote an article* which spoke of not only this vision but also the new system that he intends and visions to introduce in the country.

Some excerpts of the vision that was highlighted:
  • Atleast 23 Indian universities would be among the global top 200
  • 6 Indian intellectuals would have been awarded the Nobel Prize
  • India to be among top 5 countries globally in cited research output
  • R&D spends totalling over $140 billion
  • Introduction of a differentiated academic system with a three-tiered structure (comprising highly selective elite research universities, comprehensive universities and specialised institutions)
  • Seamless access to high quality content and curriculum through open source such as the Massive Open-Online Courses (MOOCs) model
  • Freedom of choice coupled with a liberal arts component needs to be integrated within the curriculum, instead of the current model that promotes narrow specializations
  • Faculty would be a mix of academics, researchers and industry professionals
  • Institutions to rely heavily on online methods of teaching and learning, collaborate with ITIs, polytechnics and other vocational training providers to impart skill based training and offer both part-time and full-time options
  • The system would enable seamless mobility of students, faculty, researchers and professionals across institutions of all types.

As we speak of this vision, it needs to be understood that our education ecosystem today 'suffers' with its system. The methodology of teaching, the resistance to change, obsolete or non-existing IT infrastructure, disconnect from the industry & never changing syllabi are a few issues which not only hinder the development of our institutions but is also plagues the student's intellect and aspirations as he/she graduates.



Mohit Satraj Phogat
Author: Mohit Phogat

This site focuses on Oracle's offerings to higher education in the Indian region. It intends to cover news, reviews, guides, how-to articles, descriptive videos, and podcasts on the trends which should be helpful to customers, prospects and developer community alike.

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