Edited by Roger King, Simon Marginson and Rajani Naidoo
Chapter 3: Rethinking Development: Higher Education and the New Imperialism
Rajani Naidoo INTRODUCTION Since the 1990s higher education has been positioned as one of the most important powerhouses for development in low-income countries. This signals a policy reversal on the part of powerful international organizations such as the World Bank, which for decades declared that there should be little investment in higher education because of low rates of social and economic return. In the context of the knowledge economy, the widely held view is that the ability to access, generate and transmit information rapidly across the globe has the potential to transform countries that are materially poor into countries that are ‘information-rich’ with the ability to utilize knowledge for economic development and leapfrog traditional developmental stages. This chapter assesses the potential for building higher education systems that can contribute to development in low-income countries. Given the rapid development of a global higher education arena and the intensification of higher education relationships across borders, low-income countries cannot be researched in isolation but must be analyzed in the context of changing relations between capitalism and contemporary globalization, and the transformation of higher education systems worldwide. Drawing on scholarship related to the new imperialism, this chapter argues that rivalry between the most powerful nation-states is a key feature of contemporary globalization with considerable impact on higher education systems. Restructuring and cross-border interactions in higher education are increasingly characterized by governance mechanisms and rationales that aim to deploy higher education as a lever to enhance the competitive edge of the nation-state in the global...
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