Academic journal article International Education Studies

The Globalization of Higher Education - Be Responsible and Survive the Changes

Academic journal article International Education Studies

The Globalization of Higher Education - Be Responsible and Survive the Changes

Article excerpt

Abstract

The ongoing social changes taking place on a global scale have made universities respond to these new challenges by offering new study programmes, implementing modifications of study plans, taking up new research focus as well as by broadening the offer of adult education. These changes necessarily require modifications in terms of the structure and the style of management in university departments and institutes representing the most elementary university structure. In this article, a methodological analysis of university environment has been carried out as well as the identification of problems linked with the traditional styles of the central European university organization and management. Then follows the categorization of four styles of university management as they are recognized these days and subsequently the possibility of transforming the institutions of higher education into virtual universities (network universities) has been considered. Virtual (network) universities are most commonly associated with the styles of management encountered in enterprises and they are believed to be able to ensure the requirements as for the education of population in the environment of global society.

Keywords: global environment, central EU universities, management of higher education, descriptive and normative managerial styles, network university, "Nika" university

1. Introduction

The process of change as far as the strategy and the management employed at universities are concerned has been dealt with in a great number of expert works. A university is influenced by many factors such as quality of staff, location in the region, the attractiveness of educational programs, personnel and marketing management, relationships in the workplace, etc. These factors are significantly influenced by three factors when pursuing its activities - it is the threefold factor of economics, politics and technology. In a global society, economic influence becomes the least apparent; though the society try to become richer than earlier, universities tend to suffer from underfunding the same as it used to be in the past. Political influence is important especially in Central Europe where universities have been provided with valuable powers and they have become autonomous regarding their decision-making processes. Nevertheless, it is the influence of information and telecommunication technologies (ICT) accelerating the development of education and changing both its form and content in a particularly breath-taking way which has proved to be the most significant. But the huge development of ICT brings not only progress but also the risk of loss of individuality and uniqueness of the university environment: you can shave with a razor, or also cut.

The hyper-competitive, global, knowledge-driven economy of the 21st Century stimulates the necessary changes of higher education. A university degree has become a necessity for most citizens. Higher education is desirable for the most of carriers. In the knowledge economy, the key asset driving corporate capital is no longer unskilled labour but intellectual and human capital.

The process of changes is more complex when taking place at universities than in production enterprises. Academicians have to implement the changes "hand in hand with everyday agenda", continuously and in a competitive environment.

The article examines the most fundamental information from chosen specialist literature with respect to the influence exerted by the above mentioned factors, i.e. economic, politics (manifested especially in the legislative environment), and ICT technologies. The findings and conclusions of two important projects approached within the last two years are included: the Project of Comprehensive International Evaluation and the Project of a Long-term Development Vision of the Czech University of Life Sciences Prague until the Year 2020 (Harper, 2006; Havlicek, 2008; Shutt, 2005). …

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