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Higher Education: Changing Global Relations

The MCO Secretary General was a guest at the Centre for Global Higher Education’s Annual Conference on 1 March in London.

 

The Centre, funded by the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council and the Higher Education Funding Council for England, and located at University College London, had been operating for a year and was now engaged with 40 research projects involving 12 international universities.

 

The ‘changing global relations’ focus inevitable included several mentions of Brexit – but there was very limited agreement about the impact that it would have for both institutions in the UK and those in Europe and elsewhere.

 

Other ‘changing relations’ included those concerning competition between universities (and the economic myths and realities that were driving the changes), the engagement between universities and industry and changes in the relationships between students and their universities, the graduate employment premium and student financing models.

 

Reflecting on the current priorities of the MCO, the inclusion of the importance of values in a session entitled ‘Governance – in crisis?’ and the significance of values in a case study of the management of major student protests in Cape Town in 2016 emphasised how it is now more important for universities to focus on values in the context of novel situations, greater uncertainty and unpredictability.

 

The conclusion which the Secretary General reached was that the engagement of stakeholders in the discussion of values potentially provides a deeper basis for more secure agreements on an increasing range of issues.

 

Contributions from MCO signatories and other universities to this discussion would be welcome. Views can be emailed to davidjohn.lock@unibo.it

 

Further details about the Centre for Global Higher Education and its research projects can be found at www.researchcghe.org

 

Published on 7 March 2017