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【Seminar】 Global Trends of Higher Education

Philip G. Altbach visited the Graduate School of Education (GSE) in Shanghai Jiao Tong University and delivered an academic lecture on global trends in higher education on Oct. 18, 2019. GSE faculty and students attended this lecture. 

At the beginning, Prof. Altbach elaborated on the concept of global crisis, to which, he noted, two main reasons have contributed. One is the increasing inequality existing in different regions and the other is the inherent complexity of globalization. By citing the Sino-US trade war and Brexit as examples, Prof. Altbach illustrated the negative impacts of global crisis on international higher education in terms of faculty and students’ mobility, international research cooperation, and academic freedom. Stressing the impacts of current global crisis on higher education have not been fully manifested, he believed these negative effects would not disappear in a short time.

Then Prof. Altbach mentioned two seemingly contradictory trends in higher education: massification of higher education and the spread of global knowledge economy. While the scale of higher education in China will continue to expand in the next 30 years, and the development of global knowledge economy requires universities to continuously pursue excellence, the key is to ensure a sound funding and quality of higher education. 

During the discussion, GSE faculty and students raised a number of questions such as "the value of higher education", "essential elements to the construction of double-first universities", and "the importance of basic research in universities". Prof. Altbach encouraged newly-matriculated graduates at GSE that they are supposed to seek and stick to what interests them most in the field of higher education.