For this week’s reading we took a step out of internationalization and higher education and examined educational challenges as well as reforms. The OECD’s piece on the State of Higher Education was a summary of what I expect was a lengthy piece on the challenges and reforms in higher education in OECD countries. The executive summary dealt with a brief overview of developing a framework to monitor and enhance quality in higher education, examining higher education through a business model framework and research funding. I would have like to read the entire report, in particular the section dealing with strengthening’s business models in HEIs. For those of us who took Financing of Higher Education with Professor Apfel, we discussed often that higher education institutions run a fine line between being considered a business and a charity. While strengthening the business side of HEIs are important it is also good to note that any changes to the business model should keep in mind the mission and goals of colleges and universities. An article in the New England Journal of Higher Education discusses the need and importance of exploring new business models. The New England College Board of Higher Education website also provides information on the topic. It is clear that HEIs have to explore new options to deal with the continuous changing landscape of higher education.
The second reading, also authored by the OECD looks at reforms related to education in OECD countries. Reforming education is an ongoing process. I am not sure if there has been a time in any country where the stakeholders related to educational policy have been pleased with education for a long-period of time. In the United States as with other countries there have been policy cycles related to education. These cycles depend on who is in charge and what they see as the problem. In the 1960s, President Kennedy and Johnson focused on greater equity in schools, this also was the time of desegregation in public schools. By the 1980s, President Reagan believed that the educational standards in America were leading to a “rising tide of mediocrity”. By the 2000s, President Bush had established “No Child Left Behind” as the educational policy for the country and currently President Obama, created “Race to the Top” and backed the Common Core initiatives. The United States has a history of trying to reform education using the policy levers that are mentioned in the OECD piece. However, when administrations change the policy are not continued or they change as well.
The challenges and reforms discussed in both reading can be connected to the internationalization of higher education. As HEIs are looking to become more internationalized, they will face challenges related to the cost effectiveness, improving the quality of programs as well as issues with equity. Any challenges that are related to the internationalization of higher education have to be addressed the same way we address traditional issues in higher education, by always keeping in mind the mission and goals of HEIs.