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Higher Education in Thailand  

Sukanya Chaemchoy, Thunwita Sirivorapat Puthpongsiriporn, and Gerald W. Fry

Thai higher education has a long history dating back to the 19th century. Its great modernizer, King Chulalongkorn the Great, was visionary in realizing the importance of expanding education to modernize his kingdom and avoid Western colonization. Thailand was the only country in Southeast Asia never to have been colonized. The country’s first formal institution of higher education, Chulalongkorn University, was established in 1917, named in honor of this visionary king. Since that time, Thai higher education has evolved in diverse ways. Key trends have been (a) massification, (b) privatization, (c) diversification, and (d) internationalization. Massification began in the 1960s with the opening of universities in each of Thailand’s major regions. In the 1970s, two open universities with huge enrollments were established. One of those, Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University (STOU), was a university without walls, serving students throughout the Kingdom. Then Thailand’s teacher training colleges became a large system of comprehensive Rajabhat Universities (38 universities, across every region of the nation). In 1969, authority was granted for private universities to be established, and over the past decades there has been a proliferation of such institutions (now totaling 71). Thailand’s system of higher education is highly diverse, with many different genres of institutions under 12 different ministries and agencies. Another important trend is internationalization, with a dramatic growth in the number of international programs and students during the period 2000-2020. Major reforms of higher education have been primarily structural in nature. In 2003, the Ministry of University Affairs merged with the Ministry of Education (MOE) to become one of its five major commissions, the Office of the Higher Education Commission (OHEC). Then in 2019, OHEC was moved out of the MOE to become part of a new Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research, and Innovation (MHESI). As the nation moves into the decade of the 2020s, Thai higher education faces major challenges. The most critical is declining enrollments, primarily the result of Thailand’s great success in reducing its fertility rate. With the dramatic growth in higher education institutions, there are simply inadequate numbers of Thai students to fill available spots. A second related issue is the problem of the quality of Thai higher education. Reflective of this problem is the failure of any Thai higher education institutions to be highly ranked in international systems. Many of Thailand’s best students choose to study overseas. Another major issue is funding, with problems related to the ways funds are spent and the low pay of university professors. Also related to the funding issue is Thailand’s low ranking on how much it spends on research and development. This important area receives inadequate priority, though there were significant improvements in 2018 and 2019. There are also curricular issues in terms of what students should be taught and how, as well as concerns that Thai students are not being adequately prepared for the new digital 4.0 knowledge economy. In 2021, Thailand is mired in a “middle-income trap,” and to move beyond that, it is imperative that Thailand improve the quality, equity, and efficiency of its higher education system.

Article

Higher Education in China  

Jin Jiang

China’s higher education system witnessed quite a few dramatic institutional changes in recent years. The state has been making a series of attempts to increase the quantity of higher education opportunities through massive expanding of higher education’s capacity (also referred to as the massification of higher education). Meanwhile, the system experienced marketization and privatization, in which the funding for higher education institutions (HEIs) increasingly depends on the non-state sector and student payments for tuition fees. The private (minban) HEIs and Sino-foreign HEIs began to develop in China. With a strong conviction to enhance the global competitiveness of top universities, master plans for developing world-class universities and disciplines were initiated, and talent programs were adopted to attract global high-skilled talent to HEIs in China to enhance the teaching and research capability of HEIs. In recent years, HEIs have been granted larger institutional autonomy with greater accountability. Higher education in China has experienced dramatic institutional changes in recent years and has made great achievements and gained international acclaim. Given such capacity, HEIs became one of the largest systems in the world. More and more higher education opportunities have been provided for students, and an increasing number of leading scholars in the world have been attracted to HEIs in China. However, the development of higher education has encountered several challenges—in particular, unequal opportunities for higher education attainment, difficulties for college graduates in finding employment, and the unequal development of higher education among disciplines, between universities, and across regions. Critical reflections on the development of higher education in China and the notion of broadly defined educational equality are required.

Article

An Exploration of Evolving Approaches to Teacher Identity Revealed in Literature on Teaching from 2010 to 2018  

Catherine Beauchamp

Teacher identity is conceived in complex ways, in part because of the attention that must be paid to both the personal and the professional dimensions of teaching experience. In addition, teacher identity as a concept is closely intertwined with the notion of teacher agency, as well as with the potential for a teacher to encounter ongoing challenges in the development and adjustment of identity in diverse educational contexts. Literature on teaching from a range of areas—teacher education, preservice teaching, in-service teaching in schools, and university or higher education teaching—reflects a variety of existing approaches to teacher identity. Despite the complexity of the concept, understanding teacher identity remains of critical importance to individual educators, to institutions and to society as a whole.

Article

The Role of Mentoring in Teacher Education  

Nicole Hayes and Bruce Pridham

Mentoring is a positive, supportive facilitation of learning and development between a person with more experience, knowledge, or expertise in a certain field, and a person who is less knowledgeable or is new to that field. In the tertiary setting, mentoring programs take on many forms and structures, with a range of objectives such as support for transition, academic supplemented instruction, and social support. All mentoring programs, regardless of structure, are fundamentally a transactional process of support underpinned by a mutually respectful relationship. The foundations of mentoring are drawn from theoretical frameworks grounded in social constructivism, social learning, applied learning, and developmental theory. These frameworks inform aspects of collaborative learning and outline the multiple benefits for participants including the building of interpersonal, problem-solving and communication skills, increasing academic success and motivation. Successful mentoring programs are conceptualized and planned to ensure the program meets its objectives, has sound processes, clear expectations and roles for all participants, and an effective evaluation system for continual refinement and improvement. When the objective of the mentoring is to increase academic knowledge and skill, the greatest success occurs when the mentor has the expertise, experience, and the ability to scaffold the personal construction of meaning for the mentee. In initial teacher education (ITE) contexts mentoring programs derive successful outcomes for the mentee, mentor, academic teaching staff, organization, and ultimately the profession. The less able students require support and scaffolding to promote and enhance deep learning and the mentor experiences altruism, while refining and practicing pedagogical skills. Mentees and mentors gain self-efficacy, confidence in pedagogical skills, and inter- intrapersonal skills. Staff are able to support diverse open learning tasks to accommodate a personalized learning approach for large cohorts with trained mentors working in the classroom providing point-of-need feedback to maximize learning gains. The university gains through low-cost innovations that increase levels of academic success and positively influence retention and student satisfaction. Society benefits from the resultant high-quality graduates, who are “classroom ready” and prepared to meet the challenges of complex learning environments. Mentoring plays an integral role in the development of teacher professional identity through modelling and intergenerational relationships. Changing accreditation requirements and government-led inquiries into initial teacher education courses have prompted a review of current practices in the tertiary sector. To better meet the needs of the workforce, universities have a greater responsibility to demonstrate the classroom readiness of graduands. Successful teacher education programs utilize mentoring to support and enculturate the next generation of practitioners and ensure they are work ready. Structured mentoring programs transform the student experience, and create cohesive program designs to guide and support preservice teachers who are engaged in the process of learning and reinforcing their positions as developing teachers. Students in near-peer mentoring programs develop a range of mentoring skills and experiences that complement their academic development as they enter the teaching profession.

Article

Race and Institutional Effectiveness in Higher Education  

Karen T. Jackson

Race influences our approaches to developing and defining measures of effectiveness in higher education. Identification of gaps in processes from different race perspectives is imperative for goal alignment and mission success. Institutional structural decisions such as recruitment of faculty, staff, and students; hiring of faculty and staff; performance measures for faculty and staff; decisions about fund allocation; and choices made during strategic planning each influence and define the implementation of programs and interpretation of policies, and ultimately affect student achievement. These decisions are all driven by race-based expectations. Data used in institutional effectiveness can decrease the power of minority groups, and institutional practices can create inequitable environments by reinforcing narratives and privileges of one group above all others. Using collective and collaborative systems to gather data and make sense of data from different race-based perspectives to call attention to equity gaps and to understand problems and what is contributing to inequities are ways to address issues of race that influence institutional effectiveness in higher education.

Article

Gendered Concerns of Improved Female Participation in Indian Higher Education  

Mona Khare

Gender gaps in education and training are already shown to be having far-reaching effects on women’s economic participation. These are only likely to grow in the new era of knowledge-centric economies. Specific efforts at mainstreaming women in this new age through their inclusion in higher levels of education and skills training are imperative. The situation in India is more complex given its rising numbers and increasing diversities on campuses, with sociocultural and regional connotations adding to existing biases. The data on the status and trends reveal gender disparity in higher education in India in explicit and implicit forms further reflecting on women’s work participation. The disparities are more explicitly visible when seen through the adverse graduate population ratio, a long-existing adverse female participation ratio more particularly in certain streams/courses and implicitly through their career progression, and an adverse female employment ratio in the majority of Indian states. The policy focus so far has been on gender-targeted initiatives and expenditures to increase female access and enrollment in higher education. As a result, while gender gaps in access have closed, higher education spaces remain gendered with poor and biased labor-market outcomes. The interventions need to be made at three levels: gender equality in technical, vocational, and job-oriented education; gender balance in elite institutions; and gender sensitization and services within and outside campuses. The focus needs to align with equal opportunity initiatives and expenditures. There is also a need for region-specific interventions through spatial mapping at a subnational level and a greater focus on understanding the concepts, issues, and processes of gender balancing in higher education.

Article

Coaching Young Academics in Malaysia  

Raja Maznah Raja Hussain

Coaching as a method of professional development is now practiced in higher education to supplement and replace the traditional methods of new faculty induction, workshops, and training programs. Coaching may be more appealing for Generation Y (millennial) academics as it allows for a more personalized professional development and takes into consideration individual needs for support in the early years of their career. Support offered through coaching allow young academics to set their own goals, focusing on what is important to them in regard to teaching, research, publication, and student supervision. Depending on what the goals are, a young academic may need to engage with several coaches who would facilitate and help to steer the achievement of those goals, whether immediate goals such as publication or long-term goals such as promotion. The coaching process requires trust and patience on the part of both the coach and the coachee to build a relationship that will drive transformation. Coaching is known to benefit both the coach and the coachee as the journey is a deep learning process. The coachee develops self-belief and confidence through finding solutions and alternative ways to move forward, and the coach develops skills and refines techniques. Formalized coaching programs in higher-education institutions require commitments from everyone at all levels. An institution planning to implement coaching needs to take into consideration the readiness of the institution to engage with and support the coaching plan. A coaching culture helps the institution to flourish as it fosters members who are motivated to help others to grow.

Article

Institutional Dis/Continuities in Higher Education Changes During the Soviet and Post-Soviet Periods in Kazakhstan  

Gulzhan Azimbayeva

The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) higher education system has undergone radical change since the perestroika period—the Gorbachev period (1985–1991). Perestroika means restructuring in Russian. In this period, the institutional context of higher education was fundamentally transformed by the major upheavals of the political and socioeconomic institutions of the USSR. The changes in the USSR higher education had a major impact on the higher education of Kazakhstan—a former Republic of the USSR. Thus, to understand the changes in higher education in Kazakhstan, it is important to locate them in the stages of the collapse of the USSR. It could be argued that the “institutional dis/continuities” theory would allow a careful examination of the educational changes in the postsocialist context. The “institutional dis/continuities” of the perestroika period draw on path-dependency and critical juncture concepts within historical institutionalism theory. Perestroika period can be seen as a critical juncture in the historical development of higher education. Also, the policy choices which were made during the perestroika period could establish further path-dependencies in policy-making.

Article

Patterns, Trends, Issues, Challenges, and Opportunities in the Internationalization of Chinese Higher Education  

Xue Lan Rong and Shuguang Wang

A theoretical model of positioned, positioning, and repositioning is used to conceptualize the evolving process of the internationalization of Chinese higher education and answer the following three questions: (a) How have the quantitative trends of Chinese students studying abroad and international students studying in China changed over the past 30 years? (b) What are the differences between Chinese students studying abroad and international students studying in China in recent years, in terms of the host and sending countries, the level of study, and the fields of study, and what do the differences mean when compared to those in other countries? (c) What are the challenges, opportunities, and strategies in the years to come? To answer the first question, a compilation of descriptive quantitative data is used from numerous large national and international data sources, which reports a long-term upward trend (with some fluctuations) of inbound international students in China and outbound Chinese international students around the world over the past 30 years. To answer the second question, using general international mobile student profiles for context, data were compared of inbound international students in China and the United States in terms of both level of study and field of study. These revealed imbalanced patterns: Chinese outbound students are more likely to be in certain fields (e.g., STEM, business) and at graduate levels, but international students in China are more likely to be undergraduate students and non-degreed students in the humanities and language studies. Based on the data for the first two questions, the issues are synthesized in order to present the opportunities and challenges regarding the continuation of China’s internationalization of its higher education, especially with respect to inbound international students. In terms of issues and opportunities, economic and other impacts (such as political, financial, and pandemic related) are highlighted and call China’s attention to maintaining and expanding the strengths of its higher education system while considering competition from neighboring countries. Six major challenges are identified in this area, and suggestions are provided.

Article

State Initiatives on Globalizing Higher Education in Japan  

Satoshi P. Watanabe, Machi Sato, and Masataka Murasawa

The aim of internationalization for Japan during the early postwar period, still emerging from being an ODA (Official Development Assistance) recipient nation, was to promote student exchanges and mutual understanding across nations. Japan then successfully shifted its role to that of an ODA provider in the 1970s, engaging as a responsible citizen in the international community. However, the nation’s competitive edge has slipped with a long-stagnating economy from the mid-1990s onward, the national target has shifted from the ODA provider role towards desperate attempts to regain the lost edge through public investment in research and development as well as promoting internationalization of the nation. As the notions of world-class universities and global university rankings have prevailed worldwide over the last decade or so, the recent policies established by the Japanese government in response to an increasingly competitive and globalizing environment of higher education have transformed to leveraging domestic universities to compete for placement in the global university rankings. Balancing the reputation demonstrated in the global university rankings and generated inequalities in the service and quality of education provided among these institutions seems to be critically lacking in the current debate and hasty movement toward internationalization by the Japanese government. These hastily made policies do have some strong potential to build Japan’s universities into stronger institutions for learning, research, and producing globally competitive graduates. However, thorough long-range planning, keen insight into the overall impact of the policies, and clear long-term goals will be critical in attaining success.

Article

Governance in Higher Education  

Jung C. Shin and Glen A. Jones

Governance has become a commonly used and studied concept within the scholarship of higher education, in large part because the term is defined broadly to include the relationships between institutions and the state, the development of system-level policies and the influence of external stakeholders, as well as institutional decision-making arrangements and structures. The concept is therefore understood as involving both multiple levels of power and authority and multiple agents and actors. It has increasingly been used as an umbrella concept in the analysis of major policy changes and reforms that are central to the study of higher education, including funding, quality assurance, and accountability. Neoliberalism and the adoption of New Public Management have transformed the governance structures and arrangements within many systems by valorizing the role of markets, strengthening the role of institutional managers as the state-centered systems decentralize elements of authority, focusing attention on institutional performance measures, and linking performance to state funding mechanisms. Government coordination of higher education has become increasing complex given the development of multiple institutional types (institutional diversity) and the positioning of higher education as a core component of national research and innovation systems. In many systems, coordination now includes multiple agencies. Institution-level governance has also been transformed in many jurisdictions with structural arrangements that reinforce the importance of central management operating under the oversight of a corporate board representing external interests and stakeholders. There has been a general decline in the influence and authority associated with traditional collegial decision processes. Research has highlighted challenges related to the understanding of governance effectiveness and the relationship between governance reform and institutional performance. There has also been an increasing interest in comparative international scholarship to identify common trends, although there is also an increasing recognition of how governance has been influenced by differences in the history, traditions, and sociopolitical contexts of national systems. A multitude of issues are deserving of greater attention within governance scholarship, including the influence of major political shifts within national governments, international rankings, and the quest for the improvement of institutional performance on system- and institution-level governance.

Article

Regional Cooperation in Southeast Asian Higher Education  

Yasushi Hirosato

The launch of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Community in December 2015 is expected to accelerate structural transformation in Southeast Asia. It is also an initiative that shifts the landscape of higher education in Southeast Asia, which needs to meet the challenges posed by the process of regionalization of higher education. Based on the review of theoretical and conceptual works on regionalization in higher education, a broader scope of regional cooperation in higher education in Southeast Asia is suggested. Such broader scope is enable to survey the main actors (stakeholders) engaged in regional cooperation in higher education in Southeast Asia at multiple levels of cooperation: universities/higher education institutions (HEIs); government/intergovernmental cooperation; and intra-/interregional cooperation. Furthermore, two priority areas for harmonization in higher education, namely, quality assurance (QA) and credit transfer, are highlighted as particular forms of regional cooperation. Both internal and external QA systems are explained. In particular, the Academic Credit Transfer Framework for Asia (ACTFA) is introduced, which would serve as a main framework for credit transfer for Southeast Asia, by embracing credit transfer system/scheme which exist in Southeast Asia. In lieu of conclusion, main actors (stakeholders) including their mechanisms to engage in regional cooperation in higher education are summarized according to functions such as capacity building, credit transfer, grading, student mobility, mutual recognition, qualification framework, and quality assurance. Future directions in regional cooperation are suggested to pave the way towards the creation of a “common space” in higher education in Southeast Asia, or eventually the Southeast Asian Higher Education Area (SEAHEA), by developing and adapting common rules, standards, guidelines, and frameworks to be applicable to Southeast Asia.

Article

Teacher Education in Poland  

Joanna Madalinska-Michalak

Teacher education in Poland is viewed as a lifelong journey, encompassing preservice training, induction, and ongoing professional development. The primary emphasis is on empowering teachers as perpetual learners and tailoring their education to meet individual needs, as well as the needs of educational institutions and students. In Poland, teacher education is deeply integrated with higher education and has been shaped by substantial reforms. The current landscape of teacher education in Poland is a result of significant reforms initiated by the state, aligning with the Bologna process. The Bologna process aims to harmonize higher education systems across Europe by establishing the European Higher Education Area. This facilitates student and staff mobility, enhances inclusivity and accessibility, and boosts the competitiveness of European higher education globally. The changes in teacher education in Poland have also emphasized quality assurance, qualifications frameworks, recognition processes, and more. The overarching objective is to elevate the quality of teaching and learning. Comparative analysis of Poland’s teacher education system and international findings suggests several policy initiatives that should be implemented. These initiatives can be broadly categorized into two sets: strategies aimed at improving the status and competitiveness of the teaching profession, and targeted approaches for attracting and retaining specific types of teachers, particularly in specific schools. To enhance teacher education in Poland, recommendations include limiting the number of teacher education candidates based on demand, increasing funding, and implementing more selective admission processes within higher education institutions. Moreover, strengthening support for teacher mentors and improving the socioprofessional position of teachers is seen as essential. Attracting and recruiting the best teachers in Poland is a critical challenge, particularly in the face of emerging trends and teacher shortages. To address this issue effectively, it is essential to improve the image of the teaching profession, enhance working conditions, and provide incentives for aspiring educators. Additionally, more flexible teacher education programs that accommodate a diverse range of candidates and prepare teachers for the changing educational landscape are necessary to ensure a continuous supply of high-quality teachers.