globalization and reforms in the higher education sector n.
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Globalization and reforms in the higher education sector. Somayeh Parvazian.

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Though still not a precise concept, what we understand as ‘globalization’ is bringing forth numerous and profound changes in the economic, cultural, and political life of nations. These changes will deeply affect how education is defined, whom it serves, and how it is assessed (Stromquist&Monkman 2000, p 21).

detteritorialization concept
Detteritorialization Concept
  • transferring the authority and power from the territorial sovereignty of the nation-state to foster competition, supranational bodies or private governmental actors (Beerkens 2003; Lauder et al. 2006; Walby 2009).
geographical concept
Geographical Concept
  • the process of increase in the interconnections between localities, moving from unconnected to global interconnections. (Walby2009).
homogenization concept
Homogenization Concept
  • the uniformity or friction of cultures and the consequences of cultural homogeneity or else of multiculturalism. Here globalization implies change from a ‘mosaic of cultures without significant routes for cross-cultural exchange’ to a ‘mélange of cultures’ (Beerkens 2003, p134).
cosmopolitanization concept
Cosmopolitanization Concept
  • social institutions such as national identity, citizenship, allegiance and solidarity are replaced by cosmopolitan identity or world citizenship and social organization and identity is structured around spatial systems (Nussbaum 2002; Beerkens 2003).

Over the past four decades, higher education student numbers in most developed countries have increased and educational institutions have moved from elite to mass and then to universal higher education (Taylor 2003).

globalization and higher education
Globalization and higher education
  • Taking into account the above mentioned categories of globalization, this process can be related to higher education as the changes in:
    • international exchanges between universities
    • change of the authority over universities
    • cultural changes in the atmosphere of universities
    • the curricula and system of higher education and the new global identity (Beerkens 2003).

there is no causative relation between higher education and any aspects of globalization, rather all aspects are affecting each other in an ongoing cycle.

economic rationale
Economic rationale
  • shift in value
  • extensive growth of the industry–university relation
  • Credentialization

The main economic changes in higher education refer to the cutback in public funding to universities and the competition for attracting new sources of funds.

cultural rationale
Cultural rationale
  • Erosion of regional and individual nation-state differences (Luke 2001).
  • equity and inclusiveness in higher education for minority groups(Eggins2003).
  • Change of cultural structures inside universities
  • greater student mobility around the world (Kim 2011)

cultural rationale includes both the changes for the higher education institutions such as changes in university atmosphere, student diversity, and curricula and changes for the individual such as pursuing a global identity.

academic rationale
Academic rationale
  • distinction between formal education and other aspects of life, such as employment, breaks down.
  • changes in the curriculum and teaching structure to suit the needs of the new student population (Luke 2001).
  • new areas of study such as political law or international studies
  • English has become the main language medium of research and instruction in most international universities
  • Providing bilingual courses in the non-English speaking countries
  • curriculum has had to adapt to the new needs of industry
  • quality control and quality assurance in higher education (Henry et al. 2001; Lauder et al. 2006; Altbach & Knight 2007)

The main academic changes in higher education are referred to as the changes made in curriculum and the form of instruction. These changes are themselves related to the ‘changes in the definition of being a student and the functions that higher education plays for students and the society’ (Trow 2006; p 254).

political rationale
Political rationale
  • Absence of state sovereignty and multiple centers of power at global, local and international levels
  • Local issues being discussed and situated in relation to a global community
  • Powerful international organizations predominating over national organizations
  • A weakening of value attached to the nation-state
  • Strengthening of common and global policies

Political realities and national security play an important role in reforms in higher education as well as having been affected by the globalization of higher education ( Jones 1998) .

globalization and its effects on higher education
Globalization and its effects on higher education

the geographical concept of globalization can explain many of the reforms in higher education through all four rationales. However, in explaining the cultural, academic and political rationales, other concepts of globalization are also useful in explaining the reforms occuring in higher education.


university responses to globalization are influenced by their organizational culture, and not all the universities are affected in the same way.

organizational culture types in higher education
organizational culture types in higher education
  • Enterprising
  • corporate
  • collegiate
  • bureaucratic.