In our study of higher education systems in Kazakhstan, Georgia, and Pakistan, we explored four key factors that make higher education important for developing countries. These factors include a Liberation approach to higher education, the need to finance student education through needs-based financing, and the contribution to social mobility. We also explored the lessons learned from these four countries. Let’s take a closer look at each of these elements.
Lessons learned from Kazakhstan and Georgia
Both Georgia and Kazakhstan have experienced a recent change in their government. Georgia has introduced one-stop shops, a product of the 2003 “Rose Revolution” that overthrew the Soviet-era leadership. While one-stop shops are typically associated with emerging democracies, they are also an effective solution to improving service delivery. Unlike Kazakhstan, which ranks 141st in the EIU’s 2017 Democracy Index, the government of Georgia has implemented one-stop shops to improve the way services are delivered to citizens.
In both cases, the Kremlin appears to have learned from the popular uprisings in Ukraine and Belarus. While there was no evidence to suggest that Putin is actively seeking to undermine democratic regimes in both countries, he could launch joint missions with the forces of Belarusian dictator Aleksandr Lukashenko and bury himself behind the CSTO. Meanwhile, the head of the CSTO’s “peacekeeping military mission” in Kazakhstan is a Russian colonel-general who is notorious for leading military operations to seize Crimea in 2014. And he also commanded Russian forces in Syria.
While political stability in Eurasia is often illusive, the regimes can look like stable when, in reality, they are vulnerable to a sudden shaky transition. In Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan, disputed elections led to instability despite a largely authoritarian background. The transition began peacefully, but it quickly turned into chaos. In both cases, the current government inherited a power base that was weak and lacked legitimacy.
The current situation in both countries is concerning, and Kazakhstan should develop a Russian language service in the region. While a change in leadership is inevitable, it is unlikely to improve the lot of the Kazakh people and solve long-standing problems. Elite factions’ jockeying for power is a distraction and will leave little time to address problems. Lack of confidence in the leadership will also encourage the crackdown on domestic dissent. These problems are alarming for the civil society and the Western world.
Liberation approach to higher education
The Liberation Approach to Higher Education in Developing Countries has a multi-faceted focus. Its goal is to foster the development of individuals by empowering them to make choices that benefit their lives and those of the wider community. Liberation means freeing people from oppressive environments, and it begins with a commitment to human freedom. Individuals must be able to exercise their rights without fear of government control, and the Liberation Approach aims to do that.
One of the defining principles of the Liberation Approach to Higher Education is that it works for people on the margins. Those at the bottom are the ones who are most likely to receive the education they need to overcome poverty. This approach promotes education as a means to liberate people and help them rise above it. Liberation-minded individuals see education as a tool for cultural realisation, social transformation, and self-empowerment.
The Liberation Approach to Higher Education in Developing Countries is one of the most important steps in addressing poverty in the world. The Liberation Approach identifies the limiting factors that prevent development in a particular country. It is critical to recognize that the Liberation Approach to Higher Education in Developing Countries is not a panacea. It must be considered alongside the essentialist approach to ensure the best development for the nation.
The Liberation Approach to Higher Education in Developing Countries aims to help people achieve economic independence by empowering the masses. By fostering self-reliance, higher education in developing countries can help people achieve their goals. The Liberation Approach to Higher Education in Developing Countries emphasizes the value of educating people to solve problems and improve their lives. It also encourages people to make choices that will benefit them. It is important to acknowledge the fact that the Liberation Approach is not a panacea and that individuals must make strategic decisions based on their own circumstances.
Needs-based financing of students
The main challenge for the financial sector in developing countries is ensuring that education is affordable for low-income households. While income-contingent loans might make economic sense, they are unwise in sub-Saharan Africa. There is a serious debate about graduate employment prospects in the region. Expansion of loan-fueled demand for university education will only increase demand for graduates, but they may end up doing little to help the community. This will lead to supply-driven funding and dilution of human capital.
In the Central African Republic and Ghana, for example, government spending on education reached almost 30% in 2011 and accounted for only 8% of the total budget. This is a stark contrast from the pattern that prevails in the US or other developed nations. By contrast, students from low-income households are not as likely to receive government scholarships or financial aid. Therefore, there is a need to rethink government funding of education.
While the taxpayer-funded model of funding university education can support a small number of elite universities, it lacks wide-ranging financial and human capital resources. The current trend requires greater diversity of funding sources and cost-shifting to the groups demanding higher education. Venezuela is one of the exceptions to this trend, where state-funded expansion of university education has reduced the quality of provision. Thomas Muhr’s contribution in this special issue addresses these concerns.
Loans are necessary to expand access to higher education in developing countries. However, student loans must be designed to grow with the need of the community. If loans are converted to grants, they will not expand access to universities. It will also limit the number of graduates in a developing country’s university. If these programs don’t expand access to higher education, they will simply fail to improve the quality of life.
Contribution to social mobility
One study examining the contribution of university education to social mobility in developing countries confirms the importance of education. Although social mobility is generally measured by years of schooling, educational mobility across generations is also important. Further, a detailed study of India enables cross-group comparisons. In this study, the highest upward mobility is observed among members of the Scheduled Castes and Tribes, whereas the lowest is observed for Muslims.
Among the factors associated with social mobility, the ranking of a university and its GPA have positive effects. While social mobility among domestic and foreign university graduates was negative, that of undergraduate university graduates was positively correlated. However, the spatial mobility of bachelor’s degree graduates is positively correlated with their father’s education and occupation. Moreover, the influence of university education on social mobility was more apparent for master’s degree holders.
While these factors contribute to social mobility in developed countries, higher education can have even greater impacts on the social mobility of rural residents. Higher education allows people to move from their rural homes to the city and then work in the city, thereby promoting capital conversion and social stratification. However, many graduates do not pursue higher education in big cities because the cost of living in these areas is very high and the opportunities are limited.
The contribution of higher education to social mobility has a complex role. Unlike traditional methods of predicting social mobility, it is often linked to social inequality and family background. A university education increases a person’s access to higher education but also reduces the number of people reaching each level. The model highlights that social mobility and educational attainment are not independent variables. The social structure also plays a major role. Furthermore, the greater the educational attainment, the greater the chances a person will achieve higher status.
Global perspectives on university education
This compelling book will appeal to higher education professionals, policymakers, and political commentators. Despite its academic jargon, it builds convincing arguments about key challenges facing the field. It demonstrates the impact of Altbach’s overall contribution to higher education. Although the book’s scope is broad, it is likely to be of most interest to people working in international higher education. Its focus on development challenges is particularly timely, considering the importance of higher education to the economy and society.
The report highlights the benefits of higher education for developing countries and discusses ways to improve its relevance in these countries. The study revealed various forms of public and community engagement that can improve the quality of education in developing countries. These efforts include the development of social capital and addressing skills gaps. In addition, it highlights how higher education institutions can serve as regional hubs for education. One way of doing this is through short-term programmes that retrain people, filling skills gaps and addressing outdated skills.
Most participants viewed the contribution of universities to development in terms of human capital. They pointed to the roles of universities in preparing future teachers, medical doctors, engineers, social workers, entrepreneurs, psychologists, chemists, biologists, physicists, and other professionals who can solve development problems in their respective sectors. While most higher education institutions fall under the national government, some of the participants elaborated on ways that local governments could support university development in their regions.
Participants also emphasized the importance of universities in empowering individuals and supporting holistic development. Human rights, human capabilities, and liberation approaches are underpinned by the anti-essentialist dimension. Some respondents highlighted the value of university education in promoting universal moral values and developing an environment-friendly worldview. These dimensions are complemented by a broader range of challenges. Overall, the findings show that universities play an important role in improving quality and equity in higher education.