Will developing countries be able to compete in the knowledge economy or do they face a future of increasing exclusion, unable to develop skills required for the twenty-first century? This report poses three queries in light of this question: What is the role of higher education in supporting and enhancing the process of economic and social development? What are the major obstacles that higher education faces in developing countries? How can these obstacles best be overcome?
This report helps guide the reader through both the older problems and new realities faced by higher education. It avoids treating in detail topics that have been fully and frequently examined by others, such as financing and the use of new technologies in education, and concentrates instead on areas that have received little consideration, especially those that reflect new pressures on the system. Expansion, differentiation, and the knowledge revolution are discussed in detail, as are neglected topics of considerable current importance, such as the governance of higher education, the need to consider higher education as a system, and the public interest in higher education. Also included are substantial discussions on improving science and technology research and instruction in institutions of higher education, and on the nature and importance of general education. Some empirical support is provided from case studies and statistical analysis. Each chapter focuses on a major issue in higher education.