Does American Higher Education have a Global Future?

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Daniel, John
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Commonwealth of Learning (COL)

American Association of State Colleges and Universities, Summer Conference 2007, Vancouver, 26-28 July 2007, Does American Higher Education have a Global Future? Sir John Daniel, Commonwealth of Learning // Introduction // It is an honour to address this Academic Affairs Summer Meeting of the American Association of States Colleges and Universities which has the theme "From Student-Centred to Learning Centred". That is a brave title and I wish you well in your deliberations. // My title today is: Does American Higher Education have a Global Future? I shall heavily draw on a paper that I published last year in Change Magazine with my colleagues Asha Kanwar at the Commonwealth of Learning and Stamenka Uvalić-Trumbić at UNESCO (Daniel, Kanwar & Uvalić-Trumbić, 2006). I begin, therefore, by thanking these two esteemed colleagues. // We argued there that while Europeans lament that their universities lag behind those in the US and Americans worry that complacency threatens their academic leadership, both groups are missing the tectonic shift that will transform the map of higher education worldwide. That shift is the growth of universities in the developing world. // Spreading connectivity, allied with the accelerating creation of open educational resources based on open-source technology, may soon allow the radical reduction in costs necessary for higher education to serve the four billion poor people at the bottom of the world economic pyramid. // For two decades enrollment growth in higher education has exceeded the most optimistic forecasts. We passed the milestone of 100 million enrollments some years ago and the earlier forecast of 120 million students by 2020 looks likely to be reached by 2010. There are already 130 million tertiary students if we count part-timers. Growth is actually accelerating as more developing country governments see expanding higher education as the key to attaining developed country status.

Higher Education,Developing World,Costs and Financing,Cross-Border Education,Distance Education
Canada,United States of America
Caribbean and Americas,Global