Literature review: higher education and development

Research focusing on the links between education, development and social change has a long history; this includes research on higher education investment in low-income countries by external and international development agencies. Analysis of the impact on society of higher education in developing countries emerged alongside post-colonial discourses and modernisation theories. Research generally focused on how… Read more




Equity of access to higher education

The issue Higher education has seen astounding growth across the world in recent decades, and about a third of the population globally now go on to some form of post-secondary study. Yet while there are increasing participation rates in all regions there remain significant disparities, with a gross enrolment ratio of 68% in Europe, 23%… Read more




Affirmative action in education: evidence from engineering college admissions in India

Many countries mandate affirmative action in university admissions for traditionally disadvantaged groups. Little is known about either the efficacy or costs of these programmes. This paper examines affirmative action in engineering colleges in India for “lower-caste” groups. The authors argue that such action successfully targets the financially disadvantaged: the marginal upper-caste applicant comes from a… Read more




Stratification in higher education: a comparative study

The mass expansion of higher education is one of the most important social transformations of the second half of the twentieth century. In this publication, scholars from 15 countries, representing Western and Eastern Europe, East Asia, Israel, Australia, and the United States, assess the links between this expansion and inequality in the national context. Contrary to… Read more




Leadership for world-class universities: challenges for developing countries

This publication reveals how “world-class” thinking and policy can help university leaders employ modern solutions to the challenges facing higher education today. The essays are grounded in empirical research and written to engage the reader, stimulate reflection and enhance performance. This book focuses especially on developing and middle-income countries, which face special problems where higher… Read more




Higher Education

Dr Tristan McCowan is a researcher at the Institute of Education, University College London. He was the expert adviser for the latest HEART topic guide on Higher Education. The topic guide looks at building the capacity of higher education (HE) systems and enabling structures in low-income countries. It also looks at how effective partnerships can… Read more




Higher education and the achievement (and/or prevention) of equity and social justice

This article examines the theoretical and empirical literature on higher education’s role in relation to social equity and related notions of citizenship, social justice, social cohesion and meritocracy. It considers both the education and the research functions of higher education and how these impact upon different sections of society, on who benefits and who loses… Read more




Is There A Universal Right To Higher Education?

Opposition to university fees is often framed as a defence of higher education as a ‘right’ rather than a ‘privilege’. However, the basis and nature of this right is unclear. This article presents a conceptual exploration of the question, drawing on an initial analysis of international law. An argument is put forward for a right… Read more




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