The Society for Research into Higher Education


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Transnational perspectives on higher education and global well-being

By Rajani Naidoo

The contribution of HE to global wellbeing was not always accepted. A view long held by the World Bank and other powerful actors was that investment in HE would bring limited social and economic benefits to developing countries. This view, which led to large scale disinvestment, was successfully challenged and in 2000 the World Bank itself positioned HE as a crucial engine for economic and social development1. In the context of the knowledge economy, the assumption is that HE will enable low income countries to ‘leap-frog’ over intermediate developmental stages and improve their positions globally2. At the same time, the formidable obstacles to the development of high quality systems of HE in many developing countries are recognised3. In this context, the provision of HE by foreign and corporate providers may be seen as an attractive solution in countries where governments are unable to readily acquire resources to commit to HE.

But to what extent can trans-national HE contribute to global wellbeing? Continue reading