Washington, D.C., March 31, 2009—Many nations around the world recognize a key tool in international economic competitiveness requires expanding higher education opportunities for all, particularly historically disadvantaged populations such as minorities and those with low-incomes. Although past attempts to develop constructive higher education policies have been successful, those countries now understand it requires conducting in-depth research and analysis to expand access and success for every citizen.
In recognizing this critical need, the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) created a three-year initiative called the Global Policy Fellows Program (GPFP) to identify higher education policy models for both developed and developing countries. Launched in early 2007 with support from the Ford Foundation, GPFP provided an opportunity for 16 exceptional and diverse individuals from across the world—Brazil, Mongolia, the Netherlands, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, and the United States—to make thoughtful and innovative contributions to higher education policy research.
“A stronger capacity for policy development could help nations become more competitive, in part by leading to ways that draw more effectively on the abilities of historically disadvantaged populations and providing better access to higher education,” said IHEP President Michelle Asha Cooper, Ph.D. “It is our hope that policy recommendations from the GPFP initiative will influence a country’s general ability to produce students who have the necessary skills required to reflect cross-national understanding and knowledge.”
The early-career research and policy professionals spent nearly two years working in teams to explore a broad array of critical policy issues including admissions and testing, science and technology, finance, infrastructure capacity, privatization, and preparation. Through their efforts, GPFP participants crafted the following collaborative policy reports, with a final report to be released in June 2009:
- Educational Policies for Integrating College Competencies and Workforce Needs: Analyzes whether four countries—Brazil, Mongolia, Ukraine, and the United States—are preparing their college graduates with the competencies and skills necessary to compete within a dynamic global economic, political, and social context. It profiles how the countries are addressing three specific facets of the challenges in workforce development: basic skills development, internships, and stakeholders.
- The Effect of Transitions on Access to Higher Education: Focuses on how transitions within and between education systems affect access to higher education in four countries: the Netherlands, South Africa, Ukraine, and the United States. These four countries provide a diverse palette for demonstrating how issues surrounding access to higher education differ around the world.
- Privatization in Higher Education: Cross-Country Analysis of Trends, Policies, Problems, and Solutions: Examines the experience of four countries with privatization, including the development and expansion of private institutions, increased reliance of public institutions on private funding, and the operation of colleges and universities in a business-like manner. The countries—Brazil, Mongolia, the Netherlands, and Ukraine—and their different experiences help to illustrate various aspects of privatization to reveal common problems and the ways in which these problems are being addressed.