Globalization of Higher Education

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Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management Vol. 30, No. 3, August 2008, 215–229

Globalisation and higher education funding policy shifts in Kenya Gerald Wangenge-Ouma*
Faculty of Education, University of the Western Cape, Bellville, South Africa This paper identifies, examines and discusses higher education funding policy shifts that have taken place in Kenya. The paper argues that even though Kenya’s higher education funding policy shifts, from free higher education to cost-sharing, and privatisation and commercialisation, are (to a greater extent) products of the country’s encounter with globalisation, local social, political and economic dynamics have been of equally significant influence. Thus, the country’s higher education funding policies have been products of a convergence of both the dynamics of globalisation and local contextual imperatives. Furthermore, the point is made that the shift from free higher education to cost-sharing, and privatisation and commercialisation, was symptomatic of a global transition from a development paradigm that was predominantly based on Keynesianism to a neo-liberal paradigm that privileges mean expenditure on social services (such as higher education) and the market logic. Keywords: globalisation; higher education; higher education funding; higher education funding policy shifts; Kenya; neo-liberalism

For years, many governments have been trying to come up with the ‘ideal’ way of funding public higher education. Because of this continued search for an ‘ideal’ funding framework for higher education, arising mainly from societal changes and emerging development paradigms, many countries have registered several policy shifts in their higher education funding frameworks. For many African countries, Kenya included, the higher education funding policy shifts cannot be separated from these countries’ encounter with globalisation. This paper identifies, examines and discusses the shifts that have taken place in Kenya’s higher education funding policies, and how these policy shifts have been influenced by the dynamics of globalisation. It is argued that these policy shifts have been triggered by the changing relationship between the university and the state and society, in the context of globalisation (Maasen & Cloete, 2002). The paper is divided into two main sections. The first section discusses the phenomenon of globalisation and how it influences higher education funding policies, especially in Africa. Particular emphasis is put on the role of the World Bank in influencing the financing policies of African higher education. The World Bank is a key supranational institutional carrier of the flows and pressures of globalisation and has, over the years, profoundly influenced social and economic policy in Africa. The second section is a discussion of the higher education funding policy shifts that have been registered in Kenya to date. This section links Kenya’s higher education funding policy shifts to the dynamics of globalisation. It shows how Kenya’s higher education funding policy shifts have been influenced coercively and normatively by the dynamics of globalisation. *Email: gouma@uwc.ca.za or wangenge@gmail.com

ISSN 1360-080X print/ISSN 1469-9508 online ß 2008 Association for Tertiary Education Management and the L H Martin Institute for Higher Education Leadership and Management DOI: 10.1080/13600800802155010 http://www.informaworld.com

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Globalisation and higher education funding policies Globalisation is a contested phenomenon; one that does not lend itself easily to any single definition or characterisation. It has many faces, and is usually discussed in economic, political, social, cultural and technological terms (Aina, 1997; Appadurai, 1996; McGrew, 1992; Stromquist & Monkman, 2000; Vaira, 2004), in the context of interconnectedness and supraterritoriality (deterritorialisation) (Scholte, 1997; 2000); characterised by interdependence,...
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