Lecture, 10 June 2004
(Professor and Dr.) Simon Marginson
Monash Centre for Research in International Education, Monash University, Australia
Konichi wa. I would like to discuss competition and economic markets in higher education, in two aspects, the national and the global. Around the world many governments encourage a greater measure of competition in national higher education, and more reliance on private financing. At the same time, a world market in higher education has emerged. In the era of globalisation, the national and global dimensions are equally important, and each affects the other. How do national competition and global competition fit together? My lecture will cover the following:
Competition and markets in higher education within the nation;
Two challenges facing higher education: declining student numbers, and globalisation;
Markets and competition/ cooperation in global higher education;
Implications for national policy and for individual universities in Japan.
I hope that at the end of the lecture there will be time for questions, answers and discussion.
National competition and markets in Japanese higher education
In higher education competition is a fact of life. Students compete for entry to the best universities, good universities compete for the best students, and research-intensive universities want to be top at research. However, there is nothing automatic about the way competition is conducted – how different kinds of universities are arranged with each other; whether competition between universities and between students is conducted purely at the level of academic indicators, or money changes hands also, how intense is the competitive pressure, whether competition is modified or balanced by cooperation and by extra public funds for poorer students and institutions.
Competition Q1. How much should university competition be emphasised?
competition between universities versus cooperation between universities
university hierarchy and rankings versus equality between universities
People - and institutions - compete for social status; but they also cooperate, and foster relationships of equality. The balances between competition/ cooperation, hierarchy/ equality, public sector/ private sector, and private financing/ public financing, are not fixed but are matters for education policy.
Competition Q2. What kind of university competition should be conducted?
competition as an economic market versus competition for academic status
role of private sector in national system versus role of public sector in national system
private funding of universities versus public funding of universities
An intensely competitive education system encourages each individual to put his or her good ahead of the group, and each university to put its good ahead of the good of all universities. However, in education individualistic competition for status can work against the group, as I will discuss.
Around the world there are many kinds of higher education system. The American system has a mix of public and private institutions, national student loans, subsidised tuition in the public sector, which enrols more than 70% of students, high tuition and intense competition for entry in the top private institutions, and a vast gap in quality between top and bottom universities. It has become a global reform model, especially in the English-speaking nations, Eastern Europe and parts of the developing world. However, most nations successful in higher education use a different approach. Top research nations in Western Europe such as Germany, France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden and other Nordic countries favour a public sector and tax-financing led model where low cost or free tuition, and all doctoral universities are expected to be world class: the gap between top and bottom universities is much less than in the US. The UK lies between the American and European models. Though Japan is closer to the American model, the public/private balance is inverted – most students are in the private not the public sector; while public funding and research activity is concentrated in the national universities. The Japanese Ivy League – unlike the American – is mostly in the corporatised national sector, not the private sector.
Comparative efficiency and effectiveness of tertiary education, 2001
Japan USA Germany OECD average
% relevant age group in the population qualifying to enter degree courses 69 n.a. 32 54
% relevant age group in the population entering degree courses 41 42 32 47
% students enrolled in degree courses who complete the program 94 66 70 70
% population becoming research degree graduates (i.e. gaining PhDs) 0.7 1.3 1.4 1.1
total public and private spending on tertiary education as % GDP 1.1 2.7 1.1 1.3
source: OECD 2003
Let us look at the national higher education market in Japan in international context. Schooling in Japan is highly efficient, in that 69% of the population graduate from secondary schooling qualified to enter degree courses compared to the OECD country average of 54%, and 32% in Germany, which streams students into vocational programs at an earlier stage. However, in Japan less than two thirds of those qualified to enter degree courses are selected, with the others going to vocational programs. Competition for university entrance is very intense, and results large-scale wastage of qualified students. Here competition promotes inefficiency, not efficiency, in that it is associated withy a high rate of wastage of qualified students. However, once Japanese students are accepted into degree programs, they have the highest pass rates in the OECD countries, at 94%. In the outcome 33% of the school leaver population graduates with a university degree compared to the OECD average of 30%, while Japan’s expenditure per student as a proportion of GDP is at the OECD average level. The national investment in tertiary education is 1.1% of GDP, the same as Germany, though well below the USA which is the leading higher education nation. Despite the heavy loss of qualified students at the point of entry in university, and the relatively low output of research graduates - only 0.7% of the population, below Germany, the USA and the OECD average of 1.1% - in world terms Japanese education is relatively efficient and effective.
Some nations’ higher education systems more closely resemble economic
markets than do other systems, 2001
Japan USA Germany OECD average
% of university students enrolled in private sector institutions 73 31 0 22
public outlays on tertiary education as % of GDP 0.5 0.9 1.0 1.0
private outlays on tertiary education as % of GDP 0.6 1.8 0.1 0.3
% total costs of tertiary education institutions paid by households 56 38 9 15
average annual costs of tertiary tuition fees (US dollars) $5705 $7299 $0 $1550
source: OECD 2003
At the same time Japan’s higher education comes closer than higher education in most other countries to the model of education as an economic market. Compared to other OECD nations, Japan has the highest proportion of students in the private sector, the lowest public spending on tertiary education as a proportion of GDP, higher than average private spending and the second highest level of average tuition fees at $5705 US dollars a year in 1999, below only the USA. The three nations where higher education most closely resembles an economic market are Japan, Korea and the US. However American private universities are less reliant on student fees than in Japan. They have higher levels of government and donor funding, and also benefit indirectly from the national student loans program. In Japan, households pay for 56% of the cost of tertiary education institutions, below only Korea at 63% and much less than the USA, where households pay for 38%. This has a downside. The market imposes a severe financial burden on those Japanese families able to pay substantial tuition, and an even greater burden on poor families who cannot and so are locked out of good quality educational opportunities.
In some national systems of higher education, all institutions have similar status and funding. Others have several layers or segments, with the diversity based on specialisation (e.g. separate Medical universities), or the private/ public sector distinction, or varying government funding arrangements, or a vertical hierarchy of status and resources. All four elements are present in Japan. By world measures Japanese higher education is highly competitive and hierarchical. The hierarchy is regulated by history, policy-driven segmentation, competition between students for entry into the leading institutions, and differentiation of resource levels and research roles. Competition takes an economic market form, especially in the private sector. In simplified form, the market is as follows:
the 89 national universities, including specialist institutions, with the seven former Imperial universities leading in resources and research performance. The national universities have now been corporatised and over time fee levels may rise, bringing them closer to the elite private universities in form;
the elite comprehensive and specialised private institutions, with the comprehensives now challenging the national universities in research;
locally-administered public institutions, some with significant research activity;
a long hierarchy of private institutions trailing downwards, with variable levels of quality and student support, and little research at the lower levels.
In tabulating the position of each university within the national hierarchy, two measures are particularly helpful. One is student entry scores, the other is research performance. Student entry scores contain a subjective element, as in any market, reflecting not just the standard of teaching and facilities but also tradition, fashion and the efforts of university marketing departments. Research performance measures provide a more objective ranking, though this is limited to research functions.
Recently the Shanghai Jiao Tong University Institute of Higher Education published a table of the world’s top 500 research universities, based on measured research performance. It found that of the 36 Japanese universities in the world’s top 500, 28 were national universities, five were private universities, two were local public universities, and one (Jichi Medical School) is both part private and part national/ public in character. The research table is led by the seven former Imperial universities, which also command strong student demand.
A peculiar feature of the market in elite education is that unlike the markets in prestige cars or cutting-edge computer equipment, there is an absolute limit to the number of high quality goods. Elite education market does not expand freely to meet demand. This is because the goods on sale are status goods (sometimes called ‘positional goods’), and such goods become devalued if the number of such goods expands too quickly. This has a number of negative consequences.
Japanese universities ranked in the top 500 in the world on research
19 U Tokyo National
30 Kyoto U National
53 Osaka U National
64 Tohoku U National
68 Nagoya U National
102-151 Hokkaido U National
Kyushu U National
Tokyo Institute of Technology National
Tsukuba U National
201-250 Kobe U National
251-300 Hiroshima U National
Niigata U National
Okayama U National
Keio U Private
301-350 Chiba U National
U Tokushima National
Tokyo Metropolitan U Local Public
Waseda U Private
351-400 Gunma U National
Kanazawa U National
Shinshu U National
Yamaguchi U National
Osaka City U Local Public
Juntendo U Private (specialised Medical)
401-450 Ehime U National
Gifu U National
Kumamoto U National
Graduate U for Advanced Studies National (specialised research)
Tokyo Medical & Dental U National (specialised)
451-500 Kagoshima U National
Mie U National
Tokyo U of Agriculture & Technology National (specialised)
Nara Institute of Science & Technology National (specialised research)
Jichi Medical School half public half private (specialised)
Kinki U private
Science U of Tokyo private
source: SJTUIHE 2003
First, for every consumer that is a winner, another consumer is a loser. Markets in elite education are not a ‘win-win’ markets in which every consumer can benefit. The elite university education market is a ‘win-lose’ market.
Second, the market in elite education is not contestable in the normal economic sense. High student demand maintains the exclusiveness of elite universities, reproducing their status, attracting more student demand and so on in a circular effect. Elite universities also attract stronger staff and research funds, again feeding into the circular process whereby elite reputation is maintained. In this self-reproducing market, it is easy for leading institutions to stay on top but hard for would-be competitors to break into the elite group, unless government introduces policy changes to break the market open.
Third, elite national universities with high levels of excess student demand tend to be only marginally consumer responsive. For every student dissatisfied with teaching there are many more waiting outside the gate. Such universities tend to concentrate on research performance, which unlike teaching sustains their national and global status. It is different in elite private institutions, where competition is tougher and missions must be more explicitly student-centred.
From the point of view of the nation, the intense competition typical of Japanese higher education has both upsides and downsides. The upsides mostly related to economic efficiency. Another upside of the system - the success that has followed from the policy of concentrating research activities in the national universities, which has led to the third strongest research university system in the world – has involved a violation of the principle of competition rather than upholding it. At the same time, in a highly competitive education system organised as an economic market, there are downsides. In addition to the burdens on families, the extreme pressures on students, the tensions between academic values and business objectives within universities (Marginson and Considine 2000), the constraints on the research potential of most institutions, the win-lose nature of competition, and the lack of contestability and consumer accountability natural to markets in elite status goods, competition imposes high wastage costs on universities and families. First, individual universities, particularly in the private sector, must make major outlays on marketing and promotion, including new buildings and facilities seen as necessary to be competitive. Arguably, it would be better if much of this money was spent on teaching, learning and research functions. Second, as the competition for high status education places intensifies, families find themselves investing more and more just to achieve a modest result. The different investments cancel out, leaving no-one better off in status terms, and everyone worse off economically.
Individual families do not always invest in education in ways that benefit the society. One example is Korea. The OECD (2000) estimated in 2000 that a remarkable 3.2% of Korea’s Gross Domestic Product was spent by families on private tutoring for their student children, to gain entrance to the best schools and universities. But there are only a limited number of such places, the individual investments mostly fail and all the investments cancel each other out. The average family investing in private tutoring is no better off, than if no one invested in private tutoring. But if 3.2% of GDP had been spent not on individual tutoring but on schools and universities designed to benefit everyone, the whole Korean education, society and economy would have been moved forward. This is a case where Adam Smith’s ‘Invisible Hand’ fails: where when everyone works for the good of the individual, hoping that this will advance the group, the interests of the group are actually harmed and the national cost is severe.
I draw two conclusions from this analysis. First, higher education is not ‘just another business’. It is essential to focus on the cognitive, social and cultural benefits of education, not just its economic function. Secondly, when higher education is operated as a competitive market, university and government policies should apply compensatory policies that modify the downsides. I will return to this.
Demographic decline in the number of younger people in Japan, 2000-2015
source: OECD 2003
Two challenges: demography and globalisation
National higher education systems and institutions in Japan and elsewhere now face two great challenges. The first challenge is the demographic decline in the number of young people, which is severe in Japan and parts of Western Europe. Between 2000 and 2015, the number of Japanese people aged 15-19 years falls by 18%, the number aged 20-29 years falls by 31% (OECD 2003). Unless participation rates move even higher, or international student numbers are increased very rapidly, total student numbers must fall sharply. This will reduce competitive pressures between students, which is good. But it will intensify competition between universities, forcing the quality of student intakes downwards in all but very strong institutions. If the resolution is simply left to market forces, the demographic downturn will destabilise many institutions; generate hyper-marketing; and place extreme pressures on lower franked institutions, which face possible bankruptcy and the destruction of socially valuable educational infrastructure and expertise. The policy question arising here is whether it is in the interests of the nation to use the pure competitive market in higher education as the mechanism for resolving the problem, or some other action should be taken that would modify market forces and resolve the problem differently.
The second challenge is globalisation, meaning the widening, deepening and speeding up of worldwide interconnectedness (Held et al. 1999), through foreign trade, people moving across borders, and synchronous communications and data transfer in real time, creating a simultaneous networked environment (Castells 2000).
Principal exporters and importers of tertiary education, 2001
OECD exporter nations International students Nations importing from OECD International students
number proportion of
all students number proportion of
USA 475,169 3.5% China 124,000 n.a.
UK 225,722 10.9% Korea 70,523 2.3%
Germany 199,132 9.6% India 61,179 n.a.
France 147,402 7.3% Greece 55,074 11.4%
Australia 110,789 13.9% Japan 55,041 1.4%
Japan 63,637 1.6% Germany 54,489 2.6%
Canada 40,667 4.6% France 47,587 2.0%
Spain 39,944 2.2% Turkey 44,204 2.6%
Belgium 38,150 10.6% Morocco 43,063 n.a.
Austria 31,682 12.0% Italy 41,485 2.3%
Source: OECD 2003
Globalisation has profound effects in higher education (Marginson and Rhoades 2002). It creates demand for globally mobile professionals in business, IT and science; expanding the worldwide market in foreign student education. Globalisation also facilitates a single worldwide network; in which universities in all nations are open and transparent, cooperate with each other, and compete for foreign students and in research where standards are set on a global basis. Within this global network American universities are dominant. This creates a challenge to universities in other nations – how can they be most effective in the global environment? A further question that arises for Japan, is whether the competitive structure of the national higher education system is conducive to the maximum effectiveness of the nation, and its universities, in the global higher education market.
Global markets in higher education
Worldwide there are 1.8 million foreign students, mostly from developing countries and enrolled in developed countries. Foreign student education is a profit-making business in the UK, Australia, New Zealand and bits of Western Europe and the USA. In Australia foreign student education is the third largest services export after transport and tourism, foreign students are 22% of all students and provide 15% of university revenues (DEST 2004). Research universities can expand the number of their foreign students without devaluing the status of degrees in the national market.
The main exporters of tertiary education to foreign students are the USA, UK, Germany, France, Australia and Japan. Studies of consumer choice find that the USA is the most preferred destination, particularly for Asian students. The largest importers of foreign education are China, Korea, India, Greece, Japan and Germany.
The growth of foreign student education is driven by three factors. First, the demand for globally mobile labour. Second, the unmet demand for higher education in nations with growing middle classes and a willingness to invest privately in education, but not enough quality higher education places, for example China, Indonesia and Thailand. Third, there are expectations that a foreign degree - often the first step to work and migration abroad - will provide status benefits and lifetime opportunities. The last factor encourages demand for foreign education even in Korea and Japan where there are many good quality university places.
Student flows in the worldwide environment of higher education
Looking at the global pattern of student movement:
There is massive demand in the Asia-Pacific countries, especially China.
The strongest demand is for English-language education, especially from the USA. The leading American universities receive an overwhelming number of applications from foreign students, but these universities run foreign education as foreign aid, not a business, and provide only a limited number of places.
Non doctoral American colleges, and other English-language nations, are second choice to the American Ivy League and are more entrepreneurial.
There is significant student movement between nations in Europe, mostly on a student exchange basis rather than a commercial basis.
Japan has a healthy balance between inwards and outwards movement. Numbers are low relative to the national student population but Japan is a significant provider of high quality foreign education to China and Korea, and to a much lesser extent other Asian nations such as Malaysia.
Mega-cities, world and Asia-Pacific region,
2000 and 2015
cities projected to have more than
ten million people in 2015 population in:
Asia-Pacific countries: millions millions
India Mumbai 16.1 22.6
Calcutta 13.1 16.7
Delhi 12.4 20.9
Bangladesh Dhaka 12.5 22.8
Pakistan Karachi 10.0 16.2
China Shanghai 12.9 13.6
Beijing 10.8 11.7
Tianjin 9.2 10.3
Japan Tokyo 26.4 27.2
Osaka 11.0 11.0
Indonesia Jakarta 11.0 17.3
Philippines Metro Manila 9.9 12.6
other countries: millions millions
United States New York 16.7 17.9
Los Angeles 13.2 14.5
Brazil Sao Paulo 18.0 21.2
Rio de Janiero 10.7 11.5
Mexico Mexico City 18.1 20.4
Argentina Buenos Aires 12.0 13.2
Nigeria Lagos 8.7 16.0
Egypt Cairo 9.4 11.5
Turkey Istanbul 9.0 11.4
Source: ADB 2003
In future Asian-Pacific demand for foreign education will increase markedly. Ten of the world’s 16 mega-cities with more than 10 million people are located in Asian nations (ADB 2003). These cities constitute immense pools of present and future demand for tertiary education. On some estimates Chinese demand for foreign higher education will be five times higher in 2015 compared to 2000 (Bohm 2002).
Like the national market in higher education, the global market has ‘upsides’ and ‘downsides’. Among the upsides, global student movement enriches national education systems. It encourages cultural encounters, broader learning, a plural approach to curriculum and language. It helps with future global networking. It makes universities more globally aware, and the nation as a whole more globally effective. Foreign student revenues improve education financing. Also, for students from developing and emerging economies, the global market provides additional opportunities supplementing what are thin national higher education systems. And everywhere, cross-border higher education contributes to greater mixing, tolerance and international understanding, now and in the future.
The downsides are several. When foreign education is seen as an opportunity to make money, this can erode academic values and foreign aid objectives, as in Australia and the UK. Like the national market, the global higher education market is a status market dominated by high status producers, neither fully contestable not customer driven. (Though note that lesser producers can strengthen their position by specialising in foreign student education). As importing countries see it, the global market supplements local provision, but it often leads to ‘brain drain’ via graduate migration – though less so in the case of wealthy importing nations such as Korea and Taiwan - and foreign education can erode national values.
The global market is structured by American universities. No doubt this is partly due to overall American economic, technological and cultural power, but the US has become very dominant in higher education itself, akin to its global dominance in film, TV and in the military sphere. In its table of the world’s top 500 research universities, based on measured research and publications performance, the Shanghai Jiao Tong University Institute of Higher Education found that 15 of the top 20 were from the USA, with four from the UK. There was one from Asia, the University of Tokyo.
World’s top 20 research universities, 2003
1 Harvard U USA
2 Stanford U USA
3 California Institute of Technology USA
4 U of California Berkeley USA
5 U of Cambridge UK
6 Massachusetts Institute of Technology USA
7 Princeton U USA
8 Yale U USA
9 U of Oxford UK
10 Columbia U USA
11 U Chicago USA
12 Cornell U USA
13 U of California San Francisco USA
14 U of California San Diego USA
15 U of California Los Angeles USA
16 U Washington (Seattle)
17 Imperial College of Science, Technology & Medicine UK
18 U Pennsylvania USA
19 U Tokyo Japan
20 U College London UK
source: SJTUIHE 2003
World’s top 101 research universities, 2003
source: SJTUIHE 2003
Of the top 50 universities, 35 – more than two thirds – were from the USA. Of the top 101 universities, 58 were from the USA, 15 from other English-speaking nations, five from Japan, and 23 from other Western European nations and Israel including five from Germany, and three each from Switzerland, Sweden and the Netherlands. In research Japan is the third strongest nation. But the American Ivy League universities are stronger in aggregate than all other national systems put together.
Part of the success of American higher education is that it uses the open global environment to engage with other nations. However, it does so without sufficiently respecting their cultures. The best Americans are highly sensitive to other cultures when abroad, but this is not the dominant approach. The major non English-language cultures are not going to disappear, so there are strategic limits to what American monoculturalism in education can achieve. A global engagement that relates to other cultures on the basis of equality of respect allows for a richer set of strategies. For example, one reason why the commercial on-line education industry has largely failed in Asia is that the designers of online software expect everyone to learn in English. While it is true that students who cross borders mostly want to learn in English, this is not necessarily true of students who access on-line education from their home countries. There are very many language groups in the Asia-Pacific countries not catered for. In addition to the 15 languages shown in the table on the previous page, another 14 Asian languages have 30 million speakers or more. The English-language providers of higher education are unlikely to develop on-line software for these markets. This creates a commercial opening for developers in Japan and Korea, countries that have the technical expertise.
Major languages used in the Asia-Pacific countries, 1999-2000
language main countries of use number of speakers world-wide
English Australia, New Zealand and widespread 1000
Putonghua (‘Mandarin’) China, Taiwan and migration 1000
Hindi and Urdu India, Pakistan, Nepal and migration 900
Bengali (aka Bangla) Bangladesh, India regional and migration 250
Indonesian/ Malay Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore 160
Nihongo (Japanese) Japan and migration 130
Punjabi Pakistan and India regional and migration 85
Wu China regional 85
Jawa Indonesia regional (Java) 80
Marathi India regional 80
Hankukmal (Korean) Korea and migration 75
Viet (Vietnamese) Vietnam and migration 75
Telugu India regional, Malaysia 70
Yue (Cantonese) China regional incl. Hong Kong and migration 70
Tamil India and Sri Lanka regional and migration 65
source: Linguasphere Observatory http://www.linguasphere.org/
Strategies in the global environment
This analysis of national and global markets in higher education has four implications for single universities, and for the national higher education system:
1. Education markets are a fact of life, but education is not ‘just another business’ and does not operate as a textbook economic market. There is more at stake than profitability or market share, and ‘win-lose’ educational individualism can produce negative outcomes for the group. The downsides of competition should be modified to better serve the national interest in higher education.
2. In the face of the demographic challenge, an intensification of competitive pressures is likely to drive good as well as bad institutions to the wall. It would be more appropriate to modify competitive pressures, using government policies that take the opportunity to strengthen the higher education system.
3. Global competition in higher education is also a fact of life. A national market with an intensified ‘win-lose’ dynamic weakens the overall national capacity to compete globally. American universities are dominant and can get away with this but other nations cannot. This suggests that Japan’s universities should cooperate more effectively, so as to compete more successfully abroad.
4. The further expansion of international education, particularly for East Asian students, could help to fill the demographic gap, increase revenues, and render Japanese universities more globally competent and cosmopolitan. A mixture of trade and aid approaches would best fulfil these multiple objectives.
Let me expand a little on this logic. The solutions to the two challenges, the demographic challenge and global challenge, are closely related:
demographic decline cheapens the public cost of higher education in Japan, releasing government funds for the improvements in quality that can better enable Japanese higher to meet the challenges of global competition;
by becoming more effective on the global scale universities can part fill the demographic gap, and generate further resources to improve quality.
The best Japanese universities are very strong indeed, but there is a long tail of weaker private institutions, possibly longer than in the USA, that is operating in the bargain market. Arguably, these institutions are limited in their capacity to work with foreign students and universities and to prepare students for the labour market, where standards are often globally determined, and globally transferable skills are needed. In other words, the national hierarchy is too steep. Given the fiscal savings from demographic decline, the downside of the ‘win-loss’ dynamics of national competition, including over-domination by the elite institutions, can be modified by lifting base level and middle level quality in the private and public sectors, reducing the intensity of competition and hyper-investment by families, while continuing to improve the top universities. The regressive effects of competition on poor families can be countered by broader scholarship schemes, which would also boost participation rates.
As noted, a market-based solution to the demographic challenge would weaken quality in many institutions. But additional subsidies to private institutions, directed into core teaching functions (and in some cases research) would provide protection and improve quality. At the same time policy makers could nurture performance-based governance and management in all institutions, and professionalised management and improved global linkages in the national and public universities.
The education of more foreign students is single best strategy for filling the demographic gap. China does not undergo the same demographic decline as Japan – by the year 2015, China’s numbers in the 20-29 year age group fall by only 1%, compared to 31% in Japan (OECD 2003). If the linguistic environment in the universities could be pluralised - not only English, also Peking-go and Korean – Japan could become the powerhouse of foreign education in East Asia. No doubt the appropriate strategy for Japan is a mixture of trade and aid approaches. However, to the extent foreign education is provided on a commercial basis, foreign students should not be seen just as ‘bags of cash’: foreign education enriches the resources and cultures of universities, and has potential spin-offs for Japan’s population, economy and culture.
Strengthening the global role of higher education in Europe, Japan and China will contribute to a more balanced global higher education market. Cross-border student and staff mobility can be enhanced by the negotiation of multilateral systems of recognition of universities and courses, and credit transfer; and by visa procedures more transparent and supportive of educational objectives. Global higher education is about academic cooperation and educational aid, as well as trade. In emerging nations, viable higher education systems are crucial to modernisation. By helping to build educational capacity in other nations, Japan again fosters a more balanced global education system, and enhances the ‘win-win’ element in that system.
Several qualities are required for a nation to be globally effective in higher education: strong capacities in research and communications/ IT, and healthy flows of students and staff in and out. Japan has strong research and IT; if universities were more culturally plural, student and staff mobility would improve. Globally effective nations and universities use the new openness of the global environment to engage with other nations and cultures, without losing their own identity. They move beyond a reactive strategy, to share in the shaping of the global higher education system, and make a distinctive contribution to the world. Singapore does this. There are signs that China is developing a similar approach in its universities. If Japan wants, it can play this role. No doubt it would require changes in Japanese universities. But it would have a powerful effect in reducing American domination of global higher education.
Thank you to Keio University, JAFSA and the Japan Association of University Administrative Staff for kindly inviting the lecture. Thank you to the Kajima Foundation, which generously sponsored my visit to Japan. Thank you to Professor Masahiro Yokota who facilitated the lectures and research work by myself and colleagues (Dr Erlenawati Sawir and Ms Hiroko Hashimoto) in universities in Japan, and also to Kazuhiro Kudo, Yoko Ota and Hiroshi Ota.
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