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National Research University – Higher School of Economics Moscow, 26 September 2013 THE DYNAMICS OF HIGH PARTICIPATION SYSTEMS— AN INTERNATIONAL SEMINAR Universal Higher Education in the Global Era. Simon Marginson Centre for the Study of Higher Education University of Melbourne, Australia
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National Research University – Higher School of EconomicsMoscow, 26 September 2013THE DYNAMICS OF HIGH PARTICIPATION SYSTEMS—AN INTERNATIONAL SEMINARUniversal Higher Education in the Global Era
Centre for the Study of Higher Education
University of Melbourne, Australia
After 28 October:
Institute of Education, University of London, UK
Trow (1973) was prescient. What has changed? How has tertiary participation been affected by the communicative globalization of the last two decades?
What is a High Participation society? What are the social implications of universal tertiary participation?
As universalization of tertiary education advances, what are the implications for education? What happens to universities, including their roles in social integration and reproduction?
There is also the perennial question in higher education studies
What is common/global about the trends to universal participation, and what is system-specific?
“And in California and elsewhere, statewide master planning seemed to have answered the nagging problem of how access to the system could be ensured at the same time that the unique characteristics and high standards of universities and graduate and research centers were preserved. Not long ago the multiversity and the junior college seemed twin expressions of the American genius that had created first the common school, then universal secondary education through the comprehensive high school, and now mass education moving inexorably towards universal exposure to post-secondary schooling.” (p. 65)
“In the United States, colleges and universities … give substance to the idea that anything is possible to those with talent, energy and motivation. The sense of society with limitless possibilities for all, largely (though not exclusively) through higher education, is what is usually meant by ‘the American dream’. The end of the American dream is continually proclaimed, usually by intellectuals who never believed in it to begin with, and wished no one else would. But this faith, fundamental to the American political system, survives hostility and cynicism... Through its role in fostering social mobility and the belief in a society open to talents, American higher education legitimates the political system, and thus is a central element in the society as it is nowhere else.” (p. 6)
In contrast, evidence for growing social/ family demand for higher education is clear and consistent. In the long run all states tend to respond to this
As Trow noted, elite institutions and programs survive and prosper in the mass–to-universal participation era
Globalization fosters WCUs, while exacerbating stratification within national systems
Globalization also exacerbates stratification between systems as only some nations can support WCUs
The tendency to bifurcated systems—rising elite WCUs coupled with mass institutions in throes of a worsening crisis of quality—might be universal. If so middle institutions everywhere are under pressure
However, the extent of and mechanisms of stratification (structural, financial, regulatory, etc.) vary by country, e.g. only some systems use institutional classifications
Largely public approach
Marketization in the context of HPS is not primarily designed to foster capitalist production
It is a means of containing costs in HPS systems, especially in low tax polities. In those countries social inclusion makes marketization necessary
Marketization and especially competition manage unequal outcomes and legitimate stratification between institutions
Marketization facilitates state retreat from direct economic responsibility for social outcomes
Marketization places downward pressure on public good functions. Ironically, notion of common public good was stronger in mass systems with partial participation, than in universal systems (now undergoing marketization)
Common movement towards World-class Universities (WCUs), which all else equal enhances stratification
MOOCs: transformative low value low cost mass education
Some convergence between national systems in use of marketization in system management
Penalties for non-participants, locked out of primary (global) labour circuits, increases social demand for inclusion
Greater policy need for social inclusion via tertiary education in face of fragmenting effects, drives supply of places
Age-cohort participation as one policy signifier of k-economy and economic competitiveness, also drives supply of places
Lift in threshold of social literacy. May be undermined by shift to MOOCs and other attenuated forms of higher education
Universal aspirations through education but many will be disappointed (failed utopia). Later retreat from participation?
Common tertiary-educated culture in which individual capacities to negotiate with government and corporations, and communicate socially, become normal
Role of elite higher education institutions in national and world society is enhanced
With educational participation becoming universal, new service industry emerges to handle job placements for middle and lower ranked graduates
Mass institutions will try to differentiate themselves from each other via marketing
Blurring of boundaries between higher education and other social sectors as Trow predicted
New service industry emerges to handle job placements for middle and lower ranked graduates
Deepening bifurcation between (1) elite research universities and (2) mass higher education, shading into attenuated forms: online, MOOCs, diploma mills, and corrupted non-learning.
For now, what happens at boundary of participation/ non participation remains important
But becoming more difficult to distinguish higher education from other forms of learning (and credentialling?)
Need to develop more sensitive measures of social demand
Need to identify and measure forms of stratification and trends in stratification
Need to monitor what is happening to social mobility
Future of public good function is an open question (and also varies by nation)—this can modify extremes of stratification/binarism and reassert integrating role of systems
Cantwell—elite artisnal sector and commodity sector
Marginson—WCUs and partly marketized mass institutions with declining value
Bourdieu—higher education divided between two poles, the elite sector which is culturally defined, and the mass sector which responds to markets and social demand
What happens to middle institutions: there seem to be many
Perhaps this picture applies in USA, Australia (maybe), Russia… does not appear to describe Poland, Finland, Canada