Regional Dynamism and Inequality
In the light of the country and institutional studies in the preceding chapters, this concluding chapter explores the factors that determine the global effectiveness of higher education systems across the Asia-Pacific. Both the regional success stories and the failures have something to teach. Higher education systems are shaped by a combination of factors they do not control and factors within their grasp. The essential conditions include economic resources and development—which sustains the momentum of modernization and so positions higher education at the heart of national (and global) transformation—nation-state policy and regulation, and institutional strategy and leadership. There is considerable scope for agency, for creative strategy making by systems and universities, albeit within resource constraints. The experience of nations in the Asia-Pacific experience suggests that national government is (still) the primary piece in the puzzle. Its spending and orientation have major impacts on the higher education sector. Here it is not enough for government to be focused, it must also be education-savvy and research-savvy. Simply applying bland New Public Management formulas alone is more likely to inhibit capacity building than enhance it. The chapter closes with discussion of the potential for Asia-Pacific regionalization in higher education and research. Can the dynamic East Asian systems become translated into combined effort? Is an Asian Bologna strategy or an Asia-Pacific Research Area possible? And would this kind of development be in the interests of the nations in the region?
KeywordsHigh Education International Student Tertiary Education High Education System Gross National Income
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