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The challenges of higher education institutions in developing countries: Why capacity development matters

Listed author(s):
  • Rita van Deuren

    (Maastricht School of Management)

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    Higher education (HE) is increasingly recognized for its contribution to socio-economic development, both in developed and developing countries. Investments in HE are investments in human capital leading to public and private returns. This recognition has contributed to the worldwide trend of massification of HE. Furthermore and related to this trend of massification, the HE sector is confronted with increased student mobility, a diversified student body, inequalities in access, growth of information and communication tools, increased autonomy, growing demands for accountability and debates on financing higher education. The HE context poses many challenges for higher education institutions (HEI), especially in developing countries: challenges that need to be overcome in order to show adequate performance. This paper discusses the main challenges faced by HEI in developing countries. Covered are themes such as managing expansion, maintaining and improving quality standards, funding, improving labour market relatedness, increasing managerial capacity and implementing new forms of teaching and learning. It is argued that enhancement of organizational capacity of HEI is considered a prerequisite for meeting these challenges and for showing increased performance. The concept of capacity development, as a deliberate and goal oriented process aimed at increasing organizational capacity, is introduced. The paper ends by demonstrating that research on capacity development in HEI in developing countries is likely to contribute to performance of HEI and thereby to wider national socio-economic welfare.

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    Paper provided by Maastricht School of Management in its series Working Papers with number 2012/16.

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    Length: 25 pages
    Date of creation: Sep 2012
    Handle: RePEc:msm:wpaper:2012/16
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    1. World Bank, 2010. "Financing Higher Education in Africa," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2448, January.
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