Understanding the impact of globalisation on universities

  • J. Currie


This article discusses the concept of globalisation as a neoliberal ideology with materialist consequences for universities. It distinguishes between globalisation and internationalisation, emphasising that in globalisation there is the transcendence of the nation to establish a borderless economy. It describes how universities are seeking to be transnational players in this global economy. The article uses Sklair's (2001) four criteria to measure globalisation: foreign direct investment, world best practice, corporate citizenship, and global vision. This article applies those four criteria to universities. For example, it describes how universities make foreign investments in off-shore campuses to produce export dollars as a means to survive their declining budgets from the government. It also shows how adopting benchmarking as a world best practice is used to demonstrate the quality of their institutions. These practices appear to be taken up by globalising professionals without thinking about the long-term goals of universities and may do irreparable damage to the integrity of these universities. It urges academics to become involved in the critical debate about globalisation and its effects on universities and on the wider community.

(South African Journal of Higher Education: 2003 17 (1): 16-23)

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eISSN: 1011-3487