Paradise on earth?

Higher education

Exactly because global civil society consists of a vast mosaic of socio- economic groups, organisations and initiatives that are variously related to governmental structures at the local, national, regional and supranational levels, its organisations and actors are pushed and pulled in various and often contradictory directions: not only towards and away from businesses and non-profit civic organisations, but also towards and away from governmental institutions. Government-funded systems of mass higher education — now linked together across borders by shared languages, common teaching and research methods, staff and student exchanges, and compatible hardware — illustrate well these messy, sometimes productive tensions built into government-enabled civil organisations.

During the past half-century, the role of governing institutions in fostering higher education has had spectacular effects. Driven by a variety of policy objectives and hunches — military capability, national pride, liberal beliefs in the importance of education, but above all by expectations that during coming decades perhaps half of all jobs in the post- industrial turbocapitalist economies will require a minimum of sixteen years' schooling and training — governments of all kinds in all continents have invested heavily in the business of higher education. The huge increase in the numbers of state-funded students on various patches of the earth has definitely helped to create an impression that higher education is a world-wide development. It is easy to see why. The total numbers of higher education students world-wide have grown exponentially in recent decades — from 51 million in 1980 to 82 million in 1995, an increase of 61 per cent. The numbers now top 90 million. A majority of these students is concentrated in the richer OECD countries, where around half of the 18—23 age group is now enrolled in some form of higher education. In some OECD countries, change has been especially rapid. German student numbers have increased by 80 per cent since 1977; a similar pattern of expansion has been evident in France, where the number of higher

-129-

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Global Civil Society?
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Global Civil Society? *
  • Global Civil Society? *
  • Contents ix
  • Preface xi
  • Unfamiliar Words 1
  • Catalysts 40
  • Cosmocracy 92
  • Paradise on Earth? 129
  • Ethics Beyond Borders 175
  • Further Reading 210
  • Index 214
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