CGHE 2020 Annual Conference webinar: The public good of higher education

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the 2020 CGHE conference did not go ahead as planned on 1 April at Senate House, University of London. Instead we are bringing to a larger worldwide audience the pick of this year’s conference discussion as a webinar series. The fifth webinar in the conference paper series focuses on the public good of higher education.

Rajani Naidoo from the University of Bath and Talita Calitz of University of Pretoria will focus on the global South, analysing the case study of higher education in South Africa as a potent force for social transformation. Futao Huang from Hiroshima University will then discuss common goods in Japan, utilising insights from interviews with 16 key stakeholders at two different national Japanese universities.

Higher Education and the Public Good: Insights from the South
Rajani Naidoo, University of Bath
Talita Calitz, University of Pretoria
Funding, power relations and policy regimes entrench the belief that innovation in higher education travels in a one-way direction from rich western nations to the global South. However, this static picture of western dominance has been disrupted by patterns of inequality occurring within and across national systems of higher education worldwide. Drawing from a cross-country CGHE project on higher education in South Africa, we deploy South Africa as an illustrative case of how other national contexts can gain inspiration from the South. The scale of inequality in South Africa and the high visibility of the challenges creates fertile ground for innovative policy interventions, particularly on access and success. In addition, the role of the university as a force for social transformation and as a key contributor to the public good is kept alive by key policy actors. While major challenges remain, the policy interventions presented here highlight the shortcomings of neoliberal reform, and open up space to imagine alternative policy responses in other contexts.

Public and Common Goods in Japan’s Higher Education
Futao Huang, Hiroshima University
This paper discusses CGHE project research into the role of Japan’s higher education as a producer of public and common goods, drawing on findings from semi-structured interviews with 16 policy makers, presidents of national professional associations, institutional leaders, deans and professors from contrasting disciplines, and administrators from two different national universities in Japan. The paper also discusses the role of the government and relations between the government and higher education institutions. It identifies the main challenges Japan faces in relation to the contributions of higher education in terms of public and common goods, and how these outcomes of higher education can be optimised.