Chapter 6: Opportunities and challenges for open higher education systems in global context
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An important condition for higher education to contribute to the global common good is that the national system allows it to do so. Open systems allow higher education institutions to contribute to global challenges, to enlarge their pool of potential human and financial resources, to extend learning opportunities, and spurs excellence in teaching and research. However, system openness is being challenged by weakened national steering capacity, nationalist - populist critique, and by national security concerns, with potential consequences for academic freedom. This chapter addresses the question ‘how open can it be?’ by conceptualising open higher education systems and exploring the related opportunities, challenges, and consequences. Illustrated with examples from the European Union (EU), a strong proponent of openness, it puts system openness in perspective of a world of weakened multilateralism, where values of an open society are under pressure, and the globalisation paradigm seems to be shifting.