Handbook on the Politics of Higher Education
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Handbook on the Politics of Higher Education

Edited by Brendan Cantwell, Hamish Coates and Roger King

Understanding the politics of Higher Education is becoming more important as the sector is increasingly recognised as a vital source of innovation, skills, economic prosperity, and personal wellbeing. Yet key political differences remain over such issues as who should pay for higher education, how should it be accountable, and how we measure its quality and productivity. Particularly, are states or markets the key in helping to address such matters. The Handbook provides framing perspectives and perspectives, chapters on funding, governance and regulation, and pieces on the political economy of higher education and on the increased role of external stakeholders and indicators.
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Chapter 6: Global higher education governance

Dirk Van Damme and Marijk Van der Wende


This chapter discusses the recent and unanticipated changes in the global political context in which higher education operates in the early twenty-first century. In this light, prior scenarios for higher education and taken-for-granted expectations and assumptions regarding the impact of globalization are reviewed. Apparent and growing imbalances and inequalities in higher education lead to a critical reflection on the global governance of higher education, which has so far failed to address these effectively. At the same time, the data provided in this chapter clearly indicate that global trends and flows in higher education and research require stronger rather than weaker approaches to global governance. Moreover, higher education’s mission in both research and teaching requires a global dimension. It cannot educate students as global citizens or contribute to solving global challenges through its research, if it is bound to operate exclusively within national higher education systems. The chapter concludes by exploring questions around possible new models and shifting political leadership roles in the future global governance of higher education.

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