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Edited by Roger King, Simon Marginson and Rajani Naidoo
Chapter 28: The Standardization of Higher Education, Positional Competition and the Global Labor Market
Hugh Lauder and Phillip Brown INTRODUCTION This chapter examines changes to global higher education and its relationship to research, innovation and the education of graduates for the global labor market. The chapter outlines the factors that lead to the development of a hierarchy of ‘circuits’ of higher education institutions (HEIs) based on global reputation. It is argued that the circuits provide different forms of education with respect to curriculum, credentials and character formation. These circuits correspond to changes in the division of labor within the global labor market, particularly in relation to transnational companies. Key to understanding the emergence of these circuits and their relationship to the global division of labor is the idea of standardization in higher education (HE). THE STANDARDIZATION OF KNOWLEDGE IN THE HIGHER EDUCATION SECTOR There are at least three factors that have combined to standardize pedagogy, credentials and the formation of character for a particular set of HEIs. These are first the global movement of students between institutions; second the construction of international consumer markets for higher education; and third the introduction of global league tables. While it can be argued that these factors have combined to create a tendency towards standardization in the ways we describe below, there is a fourth factor that is the major focus of this chapter: the restructuring of graduate occupations within both the domestic and global labor markets leading to the fragmentation of ‘knowledge’ work. The ‘correspondence’ between these changes in the labor market and the standardization of knowledge...
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