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With the growing knowledge economy, higher education is no longer seen as a luxury that developing countries cannot afford, but a critical element of national development. Countries must become globally competitive through skills training, given that good quality products and services are crucial in the fight for global profits.
Higher education is therefore expected to promote economically-productive knowledge: advanced skills will attract investment leading to economic growth which will benefit all sectors of society.

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Students during an economics lecture delivered in English at Suffolk University's satellite campus in Dakar, Senegal. This is a private American college, which opened in 1999, aiming to attract middle and upper class students from across Africa. Degrees cost around half as much as they would in the USA. ©Jacob Silberberg/Panos Pictures 2004Students during an economics lecture delivered in English at Suffolk University's satellite campus in Dakar, Senegal. This is a private American college, which opened in 1999, aiming to attract middle and upper class students from across Africa. Degrees cost around half as much as they would in the USA. ©Jacob Silberberg/Panos Pictures 2004.


Other articles in this issue:


The growth of private providers in Brazil

There is a cruel irony in Brazilian higher education. The high fees for private universities put them beyond the reach of most people. At the same time, intense competition for places at the free public universities means that on the whole, only those who have attended expensive preparatory courses are admitted. People living in poverty are thereby excluded on both counts. More...

 

Chinese universities seek global competitiveness

Modernisation, reform and opening up to the outside world have transformed China's economy from highly-centralised and planned into dynamic and market-oriented. The higher education sector has to adopt resulting challenges and new approaches, including privatisation and decentralisation. How are Chinese universities addressing global changes to become more competitive and successful? More...



The World Bank and the knowledge revolution

Since 2000, the World Bank has seen higher education as vital to development. This is a change of focus from its advocacy throughout the 1990s, primarily based around basic education linked to the Education for All goals. In that time, research documented higher benefits to developing economies from primary education. Within the Bank, there is now acceptance that the neglect of higher education was misplaced. More...

 

Achieving equity and quality in South Africa

Building a post-apartheid higher education system in South Africa has to overcome old and new forms of inequity. Since 1994, enrolment rates for black students have risen to 60.8 percent of total enrolments in non-distance mode courses. Women students comprise 54.5 percent of all students in the higher education system. Yet their academic success and more representative distribution across subject areas remain a challenge.  More...



Reversing the brain drain from African universities

 A critical challenge for higher education in Africa is 'brain drain' – losing highly trained or qualified people through emigration. In some countries, for example Cape Verde, the Gambia and Somalia, tertiary-educated migrants comprise over a half of all those leaving the country. Universities are left with vacant positions and the science subjects in particular are suffering. More...

 

Universities in Latin America support development

One of the main goals of the Latin American University Reform movement of 1918 was to transform the university's relations with society and work together for social and democratic fairness. Even today, universities have to support development by creating new knowledge for promoting social change. Access to higher education needs to increase significantly, to create new knowledge and train people to use it.  More...


Gender equity remains a dream

 Are women choosing non-traditional subjects at university level? Do they have the same career development opportunities as men? Focusing on access, curriculum transformation and staff development in higher education, new research in five higher education institutes in South Africa, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda finds that gender inequity still prevails.  More...



India's response to GATS

The National Knowledge Commission, the advisory body to the Prime Minister of India, aims to transform India into a knowledge society. Advisors recommend expanding access to higher education and improving the quality of learning through the Five-Year Plan for 2007 to 2012. This will use funds increased by ten times (to US$300 billion) from the previous plan to reach a target enrolment of 21 million by 2012. One important strategy to transforming higher education is through promoting privatisation.  More...

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