Centre for Educational Research and Innovation - CERI

"Globalisation, Market forces and the Future of higher education” - Expert Meeting (Lisbon, Portugal 4-5 May 2006)


An expert meeting on “Globalisation, Market forces and the Future of higher education” was held in Lisbon, on 4-5 May 2006.

Twenty experts and stakeholders from 12 countries met in Lisbon to discuss the possible impacts of globalization/internationalisation and of the rise of markets and quasi-markets in higher education as well as the key drivers of change in these areas. The meeting was generously hosted by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education of Portugal. It was divided into four sessions:

  • general trends around globalization and market forces;
  • market and quasi-market forces in higher education;
  • the different directions that the internationalization of higher education could lead to;
  • possible futures scenarios for tertiary education systems.

The meeting was mainly based on brainstorming and interactive discussion.

Some conclusions from the meeting:

  • Despite the growing rhetoric around market forces, participants stressed that markets and quasi-markets were still very limited in higher education,
  • They viewed the increase of private resources in higher education as a pragmatic policy shift in the light of other social priorities, notably health. Regional differences were highlighted.
  • While some participants minimised the impact of globalisation at institutional level, it was stressed by former Education Ministers that it was central to current policy-making.

A more detailed report and the background papers will be posted on CERI website later this year.

A larger seminar on “University futures” was also hosted by the Gulbenkian Foundation on May 4th., convening key actors and stakeholders of Portuguese higher education. The aim of the meeting was to introduce different types of work carried out by the OECD, including thematic reviews, and to discuss of the transformative impact of globalization on higher education.  It was opened by Eduardo Marçal Grilo (Gulbenkian Foundation) and Manuel Heitor (Secretary of State for Science, Technology and Higher Education of Portugal), and closed by the Portuguese Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education, José Mariano Gago.  They emphasized the key role of international analysis and comparison in taking forward national policies.


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