Trends in global higher education: tracking an academic revolution

This report is especially devoted to examining the changes that have taken place since the 1998 UNESCO World Conference on Higher Education. While many trends included in this report were discussed in 1998, they have intensified in the past decade. Much of this report is concerned with the ways in which higher education has responded to the challenge of massification. The “logic” of massification is inevitable and includes greater social mobility for a growing segment of the population, new patterns of funding higher education, increasingly diversified higher education systems in most countries, generally an overall lowering of academic standards, and other tendencies. The multiple and diverse responsibilities of higher education are ultimately key to the well-being of modern society, but this expanded role adds considerable complexity and many new challenges. The enormous challenge ahead is the uneven distribution of human capital and funds that will allow some nations to take full advantage of new opportunities while other nations risk drifting further behind.

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