Findings (4): Policy Outcomes
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Chapter 9 is the last of the four findings chapters and it focuses on the ‘longer term outcomes’ of policies which were designed to increase quality and standards in higher education. The major themes to emerge from participants at all levels, from global (OECD) to national (Australia, UK and US) to local (universities), included issues of: student equity; academic agency; institutional diversity; public confidence in universities; and the relative status of teaching and research in higher education sectors. For most of these themes, a number of different dimensions (or subthemes) could again be distinguished, as with policy ‘influences’, ‘policy text production’ and ‘practices/effects’ and, again, prominence of themes/subthemes varied across settings. A significant concern was that more precise definitions of standards would lead to ‘standardisation’ which would then undermine the development creativity and innovation in university students, when organisations such as UNESCO and the OECD highlight their importance in the global knowledge era of the twenty-first century.