Globalization or glocalization? Higher education reforms in Singapore

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Journal article

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Asia Pacific Journal of Education

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Globalization and the evolution of the knowledge‐based economy have caused dramatic changes to the character and functions of higher education in most countries around the world. However, the impacts of globalization on universities are not uniform though business‐like practices have been adopted to cope with competition in the global marketplace. The pressure for restructuring and reforming higher education is mainly derived from growing expectations and demands of different stakeholders in society. In recent years, widespread concerns over widened access, funding, accountability, quality, and managerial efficiency are perceived as the prominent global trends related to university education. Because of the divergent political, social, economic, cultural and historical backgrounds, national/local governments may adopt similar strategies in response to pressures generated from globalization. Nonetheless, through a close scrutiny of the ways that national policies are made, we may find that governments around the globe, particularly in East Asia, have tried to make use of the globalization discourse to address/justify the local policy/political agendas. This paper aims to examine the latest higher education reform initiatives proposed by the Singapore Government, with particular reference to reflect upon how the Singapore Government reforms its university systems in the context of globalization. It is argued that the latest comprehensive review of public university governance and funding brings about a changing role of the government in the regulation, finance and provision of higher education in Singapore and eventually alters the state‐university relationship.



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Mok, J. K. H., & Lee, M. H. H. (2003). Globalization or glocalization? Higher education reforms in Singapore. Asia Pacific Journal of Education, 23(1), 15-42. doi: 10.1080/0218879030230103