IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

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


  • Rita van Deuren

    (Maastricht School of Management)


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.

Suggested Citation

  • Rita van Deuren, 2012. "The challenges of higher education institutions in developing countries: Why capacity development matters," Working Papers 2012/16, Maastricht School of Management.
  • Handle: RePEc:msm:wpaper:2012/16

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: First version, 2012
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. World Bank, 2010. "Financing Higher Education in Africa," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2448.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:msm:wpaper:2012/16. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Maud de By). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.