17 déc 2002
International Trade in Educational Services
International trade in post-secondary educational services has grown substantially over the past decade. Traditionally it takes the form of international student/teacher mobility but also, and increasingly, foreign investment by educational institutions or e-learning services. These developments in international trade in post-secondary educational services, which have come to the fore with the inclusion of educational services in the World Trade Organisation’s negotiations on the General Agreement on Trade in Services, are causing great concern in the teaching and student community. This paper analyses the challenges and opportunities that international trade in educational services represents for higher education systems in industrialised and developing countries, and shows the importance of international quality assurance in education. Breaking with studies that view the international education market as homogeneous, the paper argues that traditional higher education will be less affected by these developments than the lifelonglearning sector, and that trade in such services will expand more in the developing countries than in the industrialised world.
17 déc 2002
Trade, Education and the GATS
This paper addresses some of the public policy controversies surrounding the treatment of education services under the World Trade Organisation’s General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). The rapid rise in cross-border trade and investment in education services observed in recent years has given new prominence to the role the GATS might play as a force for progressive liberalisation in the sector. The paper provides a synthetic description of the core features of the GATS, highlighting in particular how the four modes of supplying services subject to the Agreement’s disciplines relate to trade in education services. The paper recalls the policy flexibility WTO members retain under the GATS as regards the nature, extent and pace of possible progressive liberalisation. It describes a number of key misunderstandings and fallacies that have tended to cloud a rational discussion of the possible effects of the GATS on trade in education services. The paper also depicts the key elements found in the negotiating proposals on education services put forward to date by the governments of Australia, New Zealand, Japan and the United States, recalling their circumscribed nature and the acute awareness WTO members are showing about the policy sensitivities arising in the sector. The paper concludes with a discussion of the limited role the GATS can be expected to play as a force for change in the education field. The paper argues that many of the impediments that stand in the way of greater cross-border exchanges of education services may be more appropriately pursued outside a trade policy setting.
17 déc 2002
The International Provision of Higher Education
The provision of higher education in the world is governed by two approaches represented by the UNESCO, on one side, by the WTO, on the other. The members of both organisations are the same governments but the two work on divergent assumptions as far as the development of a world system of higher education is concerned. At UNESCO, actors join a system of common references in order to set up a series of co-operative agreements and ventures – which can be reversible, as participants remain very much in control of their level of commitment to a wider global community. At WTO, on the contrary, actors merge their references by accepting an automatic development of internationalisation that becomes irreversible as the countries accept multilateral concessions from each other.
Governments agreed to enter the field of service deregulation in the Millenium Round by signing the General Agreement on Trade in Services, the GATS, in 1995. This represented a totally new area for all people concerned, be they in the Ministries of Trade, Tourism, Health of Education. Indeed, can the rules developed for goods apply to services – as if services were equal to goods? Can value be defined along the same lines for a material product and a virtual good like a service, in education for instance? Is not a service market much more supply-driven than a market of goods – thus requiring different modalities of international co-operation?
That is the whole point of the debate concerning the commitment to GATS made by several countries exporting education and it explains the claim for caution made last year by higher education associations of the United States, Canada and Europe. This should not hinder the use of UNESCO conventions to reach similar results, or to use convention to move on to agreements at a later stage, when trust and confidence are shared by all partners.
17 déc 2002
Trends and models in international quality assurance in higher education in relation to trade in education
Trade in higher education in its many diverse forms transcends and challenges the national regulatory frameworks in higher education, including national quality assurance and accreditation systems. New kinds of international quality assurance and accreditation are seen as the crucial elements of regulation in a more and more trade oriented international higher education market. In this paper four models of development of international quality assurance are analysed: 1) Strengthening the capacities of national quality assurance and accreditation systems; 2) Promoting cross-border quality assurance and the mutual recognition of quality assurance and accreditation; 3) Developing meta-accreditation of quality assurance and accreditation agencies on an international and global level; and 4) Establishing international quality assurance and accreditation schemes. Current developments and strategies in international quality assurance are situated within these four models and discussed with reference to the trade in education issue.
17 déc 2002
Academic Identity in Transformation?
This paper draws on two empirical studies to consider the impacts of policy change on academic identities in the United Kingdom. It thus offers a limited examination of claims that social, political and economic transformations at the end of the 20th century have undermined the structures and relationships, within which academic identities have been sustained, particularly those of the discipline and the higher education institution. Its main conclusions are that academic identities remained surprisingly stable in the period under study, although the longer-term outlook remains uncertain.
17 déc 2002
The Four Key Factors for Commercialising Research
In France, as in all industrial countries, the government is seeking to promote more extensive ties between universities and enterprises in order to stimulate creativity and growth. But can this be achieved through legislation alone? The various cases studied herein show that the successful commercialisation of public research is the result of the application of an "organic paradigm" consisting of the four closely interacting factors of legislation, the economic environment and entrepreneurship, technical progress and university strategy. We have applied this method to the specific case of a young French university (Université du Littoral Côte d’Opale) and have shown that what is lacking is the close interaction between academic research and a wealthy local economy, which hinders transfers of the scientific resources of public research to the business world.
17 déc 2002
Diversification of higher education and the profile of the individual institution
National systems of higher education became more diversified in the process of expansion. They vary substantially, however, according to the extent of diversity. Also, the major dimensions of diversification tend to play different roles: types of institutions, types of programmes, levels of programmes and degrees, and variations in reputation and prestige within formally equal institutions and programmes. Theories provide various explanations regarding the dynamics of diversification and the role the different dimensions play. Actually, some countries reduced the role of diversification according to institutional types in the 1990s, while others established new types. The "Bologna Process" underscores a growing role of levels of programmes and degrees in most European countries. It remains to be seen what impact these changes have on the stratification of the higher education systems and with respect to the encouragement or discouragement of individual institutions to develop specific profiles and thus to contribute to horizontal diversity.