The Role of Higher Education in Society and the Changing Institutionalized Features in Higher Education

  • Rómulo Pinheiro
  • Gerald Wangenge-Ouma
  • Elizabeth Balbachevsky
  • Yuzhuo Cai


Higher education institutions (HEIs) are under increasing pressure to show their societal relevance (Perry, 2012; Temple, 2011). This is partly a function of the impetus brought about by the rise of the knowledge-based economy and, concurrently, the premium put on the manipulation and transfer of knowledge assets (Varga, 2009), in addition to high-level skills embodied in the human capital of nations and regions (OECD, 2007). External pressures manifest themselves in a variety of forms, among them, shifts in the economy and the nature of the labour market, demographic trends and the demands and expectations of interest groups, and are, to a large degree, associated with the notion of higher education (HE) as an instrument for reaching certain societal agendas (Maassen and Olsen, 2007) like democratization, social mobility, economic development and innovation. As a result of these (and other) external pressures, governments across the world have enacted several bold reforms aimed at modernizing HE with the aim of responding better to the aforementioned pressures and to increase efficiency, quality and accountability (Amaral, Bleiklie and Musselin, 2008; Stensaker and Harvey, 2011; Vukasovic et al., 2012). These efforts, in turn, have generated a series of strategic responses by HEIs and their primary actors, academics and professional administrators (Kwiek and Maassen, 2012; Pinheiro and Stensaker, 2014a). What is more, the changes have led to a shift in the nature of the traditional relationship or ‘social pact’ between HE and society, brokered via the state (Maassen, 2014; Schwartzman, Pinheiro and Pillay, 2015).


High Education High Education System Institutional Logic High Education Policy BRICS Country 
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© Rómulo Pinheiro, Gerald Wangenge-Ouma, Elizabeth Balbachevsky and Yuzhuo Cai 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rómulo Pinheiro
  • Gerald Wangenge-Ouma
  • Elizabeth Balbachevsky
  • Yuzhuo Cai

There are no affiliations available

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