The two readings for this week examined autonomy and governance in higher education. Over the past couple of years, countries are moving to have the public higher education institutions in their countries become less reliant on government involvement. In the reading authored by John Fielden, governance is defined as “all those structures, processes and activities that are involved in the planning and direction of the institutions and people working in tertiary education”.  His definition is encompasses the responsibilities of the administration in colleges and universities. The push for autonomy is twofold:  it will allow institutions to have the ability to compete on an international level and allow institutions to take on more financial responsibilities which will alleviate budgetary concerns for countries. Throughout this class the United States hasn’t been often used as an example with regards to international higher education but when dealing with autonomy and governance, we can look at the structure of the United States’ tertiary education for examples of how countries can move towards more autonomy for their colleges and universities.

The state control model and the state supervising model are two models that are being used by countries in regards to governing HEIs.  The first model involves the state government seeking control of the institutions and the second model, states monitor and regulate universities. Within the second model there are different levels of state involvement from semi-autonomous to completely independent. Whichever model is used depends on the country, it isn’t a “one size fits all” method. It is important to take into account private institutions and state involvement. Even though states don’t have direct authority with regards to private colleges or universities, the monetary aid or tax breaks that HEIs receive can enable states to become involved in private institutions. The question now, is that a good thing? If the state is able to ensure that private institutions main goal is the education of the student’s not financial benefits then I think states should have some involvement in private institutions.

The report by N.V. Varghese and Michaela Martin, compares the governance reforms in several Asian countries. It takes in account the governance issues that are discussed in the article by the World Bank. All of these countries have experienced swift growth/expansion in their higher education systems. Eventhough the countries varied in areas outside of higher education, with regards to the growth in HEIs they shared the same characteristics: privatization, revised programs, improved research facilities, etc. The rise of private HEIs in these countries because private institutions almost have no involvement from the state. An important factor with institutional autonomy that is highlighted in the article is the need to have strong institutional leaders. With a strong Board of Trustees and Presidents, institutions will be able to function well and govern themselves.

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