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Higher Education System in Developing Countries

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Higher Education Governance in Developing Countries,
Challenges and Recommendations:
Iran as a case study
Zahra Rasian

Abstract

This paper discusses the challenges to higher education in Iran and summarizes a
range of expert studies, including those of the writer. Common to all the studies is the
goal of improving Iran’s higher education system by analyzing its internal and external
challenges. This review makes several policy recommendations, including a turn from
bureaucratic management to transformational leadership, more resources dedicated to
workforce development and research, and outreach for help and advice from institutions
and experts.

N ONPARTISAN EDUCATION REVIEW / ESSAYS, Vol.5, No.3, 2009

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N ONPARTISAN EDUCATION REVIEW / ESSAYS Vol. 5 , No . 3

Introduction
Education is central to development and a key to attaining the M illennium Development Goals . It
is one of the most powerful instruments for reducing poverty and inequality and lays a foundation for
sustained economic growth (World Bank, 2009). A recent survey by T he Economist (2005) identified
four reasons why higher education faces fundamental change:
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the democratization, or “massification,” of higher education means that ever increasing
numbers of people in “developed” and “developing” countries are gaining higher
education qualifications;

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the rise of the knowledge economy for which universities are a vital driver;

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the globalization of higher education, turning the sector into an import-export industry;
and

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the competition higher education institutions face for students and funding.

T hese changes mean that higher education funding, recruitment, research, collaboration, and
teaching must take place in an outward-looking, international setting (Lunn, 2008).
In most developing countries, higher education exhibits severe deficiencies, with system expansion an
aggravating factor. Demand for increased access is likely to remain...

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