OBHE Australian International Seminar!

'Employability and internationalisation'
9 July 2015, Melbourne        Info page      Programme          Registration


19 June 2015

***GUEST ARTICLE***   -----   ***GUEST ARTICLE***

Chile: Is it the end of the road for for-profit post-secondary education?

Dr Stephen Darwin, Higher Education Consultant, Chile 

Chile was the first country in Latin America to introduce a market-based model and tuition fees for post-secondary education. In 1980, under the influence of emerging US free-market economists, Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet opened up the then small and largely elite university system to deregulated private, including for-profit provision.

Today, Chile now has a significant post-secondary system, with around 75% of students attending new private universities, professional institutes and technical colleges created since 1980. However, Chile also now has the highest level of private contributions and lowest public funding per capita in the OECD. There has also been rising social concern about the failure of a number of private institutions, high dropout rates and the inconsistent quality of educational outcomes these institutions are producing. Now the Chilean government is proposing major reforms. What are the details of the government’s plan and how has it been received? Will changes spell the end of for-profit post-secondary education in Chile?

This article is open access.


22 May 2015

Tale of Two Sectors: why is Brazil’s for-profit higher education sector in the ascendant, while US for-profits stumble?

While a host of companies sell innumerable services to higher education institutions, and nonprofit universities are increasingly market-oriented, the genuine for-profit university remains rare. In many countries, legislative definitions of “university” exclude commercial entities, confining firms to sub-degree activity or a gray area between nonprofit and for-profit. At the same time, a growing number of governments have tweaked the rules to permit some measure of experimentation. The theory is that the profit motive might encourage the sort of higher education capacity that would complement the strengths of the conventional sector and compensate for its weaknesses. Serving nontraditional students, stemming the number of citizens leaving a country to study abroad, career-oriented programming, leveraging new technology and operational efficiency are the sorts of things governments have in mind.

Many such initiatives are small-scale and tentative, not least because the contribution of for-profit higher education is work-in-progress. Evidence for this is playing out in very different ways in the two countries with the world’s most developed for-profit higher education sectors- Brazil and the United States. In the US, the sector is in crisis. A major school chain- Corinthian Colleges- has been forced to close and a number of others either look vulnerable or are hastily divesting sickly assets. The largest US for-profit, University of Phoenix, enrolled over 450,000 students in 2010 but today is shadow of its former self with fewer than 220,000. By contrast, Brazil saw the merger of the two largest providers, Kroton and Anhanguera. The combined entity, under the Kroton brand, enrolls 1.1 million students and reported record profits.

What went wrong in the US, and which for-profit institutions continue to do well? Has the Brazilian sector learned the lessons of the US experience or will history repeat itself? In 2015, how should the for-profit higher education experiment be judged?

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6 May 2015

Digital badging, a few years in:  Gaining traction or losing steam?

In the past five years, digital badging has become increasingly used as a way to officially recognize informal learning or to capture aspects of education or skills that aren’t conveyed by traditional models of transcripts or degrees. As the possibilities of badging have been touted since its emergence, many higher education institutions have been keen to put its merits to the test.

While no comprehensive list of HEIs that have adopted badges currently exists, this article will look at some examples. What are the outcomes of some of these experimentations with digital badging? Have the purported benefits of badging been achieved? What evidence is there that demand for badging will continue, and what challenges hinder its widespread adoption?

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Forthcoming Events


1-3 July 2015:  UKCISA Annual Conference, Brighton, UK

6-9 July 2015:  HERSDA Higher Education Conference 2015, Melbourne, AUSTRALIA

6-10 July 2015:  Council of International Students Australia (CISA) Conference, Melbourne, AUSTRALIA

9 July 2015: OBHE Australian international seminar, 'Employability and internationalisation: student satisfaction, institutional models and alternative providers', PROGRAMMEREGISTRATION Melbourne, AUSTRALIA

20-24 July 2015:  The National Association of Disability Practitioners International Conference – ‘Working for disability equality in Higher Education – the global perspective’, Manchester, UK

30 August - 2 September 2015:  37th Annual European Association for Institutional Research (EAIR) Forum, From here to there - Positioning Higher Education Institutions, Krems, AUSTRIA

15-18 September 2015:  The 27th Annual European Association for International Education (EAIE) Conference, 'A wealth of nations', Glasgow, UK

5-8 October 2015:  Global Access to Post-Secondary Education (GAPS) Initiative Conference 2015 - Access to Higher Education, Meeting the Global Challenge, Kuala Lumpur, MALAYSIA

6-9 October 2015:  29th Australian International Education Conference (AIEC) - International education: global, responsible, sustainable, Adelaide, AUSTRALIA

7 October 2015: Universities UK and UK HE International Unit, Transnational Education Conference, London, UK

14 October 2015:  Westminster Higher Education Forum Seminar, 'UK universities as a destination of choice for international students - recruitment, regulation, student experience and global competition', London, UK

14-15 October 2015:  OECD Conference on Higher Education Futures, SINGAPORE

28-30 October 2015:  International Association of Universities conference, 'The internationalisation of higher education: Moving beyond mobility', Siena, ITALY

10-11 November 2015:  The 2nd MENA Higher Education Leadership Forum, Abu Dhabi, UAE

19-21 November 2015:  QAA's 10th European Quality Assurance Forum, London, UK

22-25 November 2015:  Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE) Annual Conference, Niagara, Ontario, CANADA

25 November 2015:  Westminster Forum on Higher Education, 'The future for quality assessment in Higher Education', London, UK

2-3 December 2015: 'Evaluating TNE: Case studies, outcomes, potential', REGISTRATION, London, UK

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