ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles by Philip G AltbachSubscribe to Philip G Altbach

The Prospects for the BRICs

Brazil, Russia, India and China - the BRIC countries - show impressive growth in their higher education systems and promise to expand and improve them in the coming decades. Yet, it is by no means assured that they will achieve the academic prominence that is more likely in the economic or political spheres. Each faces significant challenges. This essay analyses some of the systemic factors that affect higher education in the BRICs and also the central prerequisite for academic development and excellence - the academic profession.

The Past, Present, and Future of the Research University

Research universities are complex institutions with multiple academic and societal roles. They are both national institutions that contribute to culture, technology and society, and international institutions that link to global intellectual and scientific trends. There is widespread recognition of the importance of research universities but many countries do not recognise their complexity and the resources needed for building and sustaining them. Research universities face a number of challenges, mainly the pressures towards privatisation and that of maintaining their autonomy and controlling essential academic decision-making. Central to the success of a research university is adequate and stable funding.

University Ranking Season Is Here

A bunch of international ranking systems to evaluate universities exist today across the world. Flaws and generalisations persist in all of them, but railing against them will not make them go away. Competition, the need to benchmark and the inevitable logic of globalisation make them a lasting part of the academic landscape of the 21st century. The challenge is to understand the nuances and uses - and misuses - of the rankings.

Open Door in Higher Education Unsustainable and Probably Ill-Advised

The decision to enact legislation to permit foreign universities to set up shop in India is likely to have negative consequences and unlikely to have a positive impact on the provision of quality education services. India's higher education bureaucracy, in coping with the complexity of dealing with foreign education service providers, will find itself distracted from the more important task of improving the quality of Indian universities. The foreign universities themselves may be interested in offering services where they can make a profit, or in setting up advance postgraduate centres. There is little likelihood of a significant expansion of access. India may well find its hopes of riding the "branch campus" phenomenon belied.

The Giants Awake: Higher Education Systems in China and India

With India and China aiming to build more sophisticated economies, both countries are giving priority to higher education to produce highly educated personnel and high quality research. This paper makes a comparative assessment of the development of the higher education system in the two countries, the challenges being faced and what the future holds for both countries. China has made considerable progress with its top institutions and India has illustrated with the Indian Institutes of Technology and a few other institutions that high standards are possible. Yet, the problem of quality, and the related issues of whether the graduates are qualified for the labour market, remain. It seems that China and India will, at the least, not see significant reform in the overall academic quality of higher education. An effective quality-assurance system can help to ensure standards, but neither country has such a system in place currently capable of overall supervision. The systems will probably become more stratified, with a small number of research universities at the top and very large numbers of fairly unselective colleges and universities at the bottom.

The Imperial Tongue: English as the Dominating Academic Language

Academic superpowers like the US and the UK have ensured that English is the predominant academic and scientific language and that the curricula are dictated by trends there. While this has created a global academic environment with a common medium of communication, it has been at the cost of other national languages and research topics of local importance.

Gigantic Peripheries-India and China in World Knowledge System

India and China in World Knowledge System Philip G Altbach AT first glance, these two large and important countries would seem to be well positioned for scientific leadership, and in fact they have achieved considerable success. China and India have relatively well developed scientific infrastructures today, including scientific laboratories, universities, a network of scientific journals, and large number of scientists and researchers India, in fact, is the third world's scientific superpower in terms of number of qualified scientists, and China is not far behind. Both have a long scientific tradition

UNITED STATES-Education Muddying Troubled Waters

Education: Muddying Troubled Waters Philip G Altbach President Bush and his education secretary have presented a number of ideas which are, for the most part, not bad. But these proposals have no chance of success because of the current economic climate and the unwillingness of the Federal and State governments to devote necessary resources.

Student Movement Revisited

to the third world" (pp 398-99). This needed saying, and l can understand his indignation. Many years ago, I came across such a western radical's review of a book written by an Indian on Marxian political economy (with specific applications to the conditions of developed and underdeveloped capita- lisms and socialisms). Inter alia, this western radical questioned the right of an Indian to analyse conditions under developed socialism, without, of course, forgoing his own right to do so! But it is fortunately not true that all western radicals are like Kalidas when he was trying hard to cut off the branch of the tree on which he was sitting. It is not quite true that all of them enjoy attacking 'existing socialism' because 'it does not spell any danger for them'. There are some who do realise the danger for them if socialism is obliterated, since they are urgently concerned to escape from the black future of developed capitalist societies. They criticise 'existing socialist societies' more in sorrow than in anger, as does Das Gupta himself.

Costs and Benefits of Foreign Study

that prices have fallen by two pesos per kilo. The day after there is a rash of social amnesia and nobody talks about prices any more.
So life goes on in this sprawling archipelago with hurricanes, deluge and the deceptions of politicians. But the future for the country looks murky. The country has lost its zest and elan, with the corrupt and debauched leadership entrenched for so long. The memories of their great heroes, Jose Rizal and Manual Roxas, are fading. Slavery may have overtly gone but the scars left by different conquerors have eaten deep into the vitals of national pride and identity. It is slowly sinking into the psyche of the people that geographic independence is not a correlate of freedom from want and decent livelihood with honour and dignity. And in that state of mind, they hear the voices of their consanguineous fraternity in not-too-far-away Hawaii which enjoys affluence and freedom from the tyranny of their fellow countrymen. What is wrong being one more state in a federal polity, the United States of America, which grows by acquisition? The Philippines one day may simply drop out of cartogram as a nation state, though its name may continue to retain the three Ps but with different connotations

Race for the White House

Philip G Altbach The US presidential campaign which has been going on for at least a year, has seen some, surprising twists. While the road from May to the party conventions in August seems pretty clear what will happen after that is quite murky.

UNITED STATES- A New Student Militancy

A New Student Militancy Philip G Altbach NOT since the volatile 1960s has student political activism captured so much attention. Major demonstrations in France, China, Mexico, Argentina and South Korea have created a political stir. Last year, American campuses experienced the first significant activism since the 1960s over South Africa. It seems that student politics, after a period of quiet, has again become a force for change in many nations. Does this new upsurge in activism presage a major international movement? What are the issues that are motivating students? How are authorities responding to activism? The answers to these questions have implications for educators and indeed for political leaders worldwide.


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