This week’s reading on Global Trends in University Governance was very informative and in some situations eye-opening when it comes to today’s world of Higher Education. The report talks about the movement of the developing (and even developed) countries to give more autonomy to the individual institutions to give them more freedom to compete on the international level, since having total or even most of the control over higher education institutions limits their ability to compete and be more creative and advance at the needed pace. The state/government has to also consider international players coming and competing on their territory and brining more flexibility to the new demand of non-traditional students (over 24 years old, part-time, and online programs).
Most of the countries do not want (and should not) to give up all of the control, as higher education is important for its people and its economy, so the operation and results need to be monitored one way of the other. What was new and interesting to me in the reading is the discussion about the “buffer body” created by ministry of education. It is the way the government can still control the performance of the higher ed institutions, while giving them the right to make their own decisions. I found an article that talks about the need and importance of buffering bodies back in the 1990s, which I found really interesting that even 20 years ago, this was already a starting trend toward autonomy in Higher Ed Institutions around the world. What I think is important to notice is that decision to give autonomy to institutions really depends on the type of governance in the country. For example, Russia is currently moving toward some form of autonomy allowing more private institutions and even public institutions to make certain decisions. However, for a country that seen a tremendous change in political overturn in early 1990s when the USSR fell apart, it might take some time to adjust to the world new trends.