Human Development for Innovation: Changing the Profile of Global Higher Education

Daniel, John
Kanwar, Asha
Uvalić-Trumbić, Stamenka
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Commonwealth of Learning (COL)

China now has the largest postsecondary education system with 21 million students and an Age Participation Rate (APR) of 19%. India lags behind with an APR of 10% and some 10 million students. Creating an innovative society requires postsecondary education to be more widely available and developed countries have APRs of 40% or more. China and India must continue to grow their postsecondary systems. India's combination of demography (60% under 25) and democracy will propel its postsecondary enrolments past those of both the US and China. // As China and India come to dominate postsecondary education in the 21st century their patterns of provision will effectively define its global profile, which will differ from the current profile for both economic and technological reasons. First, private, for-profit education will play a larger role because the public sector will not be able to afford the necessary investments. Second, distance learning, conducted at scale, already accounts for a larger proportion of enrolments in China and India than in America. Third, distance learning lends itself readily to conducting higher education across borders. Distance learning, by its nature, is more likely to foster the spirit of innovation than face-to-face instruction. // In America the for-profit sector, for example the Whitney International University System, is attempting to take distance learning to scale at low cost by making investments aimed at achieving the quantum shifts in price and volume necessary to serve those at the bottom of the economic pyramid around the world. // The paper notes how connectivity and open educational resources could be combined in conducting postsecondary education at scale with lower costs and consistent quality. It also indicates steps being taken internationally to regulate and assure the quality of these very large postsecondary systems in the interests of protecting students.

Higher Education,Education for Development,Open Educational Resources (OER)
United States of America
Caribbean and Americas,Global