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The policy challenges of creating a world-class university outside the global ‘core’

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Abstract

Although the idea of the world-class university is not a new one, it has become increasingly commonplace in public policies around the globe, also gaining traction in states outside the global ‘core’. Kazakhstan, the only Central Asian member of the European Higher Education Area, is no exception as it too aspires to have a world-class university. This paper examines the policies of the Kazakhstani government towards a recently founded institution, Nazarbayev University, as it seeks to position Kazakhstan as a credible global knowledge economy, but also use the university as a means of fulfilling domestic nation-building objectives. Addressing the policy challenges of creating a world-class university in this particular Central Asian context, the paper contributes to a reshaping of our understanding of how certain states currently outside the global ‘core’ are using higher education as a neoliberal development strategy. This paper offers the prospect that there might not just be multiple paths to the creation of a world-class university, but also multiple interpretations of what it means to be a world-class university. Access the full article at http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/BugJKtrEFRnhfJpkeDya/full
The policy challenges of
creating a world-class
university outside the global
‘core’
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Abstract
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... According to the policy target, the ministry was well placed to gain an estimated $2.2 trillion of the world education market. Indeed, the Singaporean government has been successful in convincing world-renowned institutions to establish overseas campuses or offer programs in collaboration with local institutions, thus helping Singapore's universities become globally competitive [61,65,66]. At the same time, the sustainability of the highly ranked top university in Asian countries was based primarily on broader goals, including: Identifying these critical factors is associated with the sustainability of higher education institutions. ...
... According to studies by many researchers [66], global ranking is arbitrary depending upon which criteria are applied. However, [67] showed how much ranking could change by applying different measures such as the collaboration index, the total or per capita measure of publications and citations. ...
... The best conceptual approach to define WCU is to identify the characteristics of the newly formed WCU. Global university ranking systems are currently a measure of world-class universities and there are many theoretical and methodological issues involved in the ranking process [66]. ...
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In the 21st century, sustainability and indicators of world-class universities have come within the scope of an academic cottage industry. The complex problem of university sustainability implies a big challenge for countries and educators to implement important strategies in an integrated and comprehensive way. This paper highlights and analyzes the sustainability indicators of universities included as newly formed world-class universities (NFWCUs) in the top 100 from 2010 and 2018. The integration of three global ranking scales—the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), the Quacquarelli–Symonds World University Ranking (QS) and the Times Higher Education World University Rankings (THEs)—allows us to minimize the impact of the methodology used. This study integrates regression analysis by using statistical grouping, case studies and normative analysis. Our principal findings are as follows: among the commonly ranked top 100 universities in 2018, the ARWU, QS and THE counted 57, compared with 47 in 2010. Thus, comparing 2010 and 2018 shows that 44 of the universities appeared simultaneously in ARWU, QS and THE rankings and maintained a sustainable position in any ranking system in the family of top 100 groups. Three lower-ranked NFWCUs in the hybrid list for 2010 lost their ranking and did not appear in the group of top 100 universities in 2018, which are covered by some catch-up and young universities. The NFWCUs were from US, Australia, China, Singapore, Germany and Belgium. By systematic comparison, the US and UK continued to dominate the stability of NFWCUs in 2010 and 2018. The key sustainability indicators include a high concentration of talent, abundant resources to offer a rich learning environment and conduct advanced research. Generally, the factors were negatively associated with ranking suggesting that a higher score result in top ranking and vice versa. Teaching, research, citation and international outlook were negatively correlated with THE ranking in 2018. Similarly, Alumni and PUB were negatively associated with ARWU ranking in 2018. All factors except international student ratio were significantly correlated in QS ranking either in 2010 or 2018, where negative association was observed. The significant contribution of our study is to highlight that for the sustainability of universities, it is necessary to have an increasing emphasis on the effectiveness and efficiency of government-supported research, stability of investments and more approaches to employ international initiatives. The results also confirm the appropriate governance, developing global students and place emphasis on science and technology as additional factors in the approaches of pathways to NFWCUs, with delivery of outstanding educational programs and comprehensive internationalization as a key indicator for performance improvement and global university ranking systems.
... In many cases, national policies are based on global models which originate in Western societies and then diffuse among them (De Ruiter & Schalk, 2017;Kyvik & Aksnes, 2015;Homburg, Dijkshoorn & Thaens, 2014;Morris & Lancaster, 2006;Kuhlmann & Annandale, 2012;Degn, 2014). The non-Western states also implement global models in public sector in general (Haarhuis & Torenvlied, 2006;Kanapyanov, 2018;Sehring, 2009;Borras, Carranza & Franco 2007;Okuonzi, 2004;Sakketa, 2018) and in higher education in particular (Beerkens, 2009(Beerkens, , 2010Cai, 2014;Fussy, 2017;Rungfamai, 2016;Sabzalieva, 2017;Lamb & Currie, 2011;Eta, 2014;Kushnir, 2017;Oleksiyenko, 2014). ...
... As regards higher education, this study contributes, firstly, to discussion on academic identities (Henkel 2005;Henkel 2006;Leisyte 2015;Leisyte and Dee, 2012). Secondly, to reforms aimed at implementing global higher education models in the countries which do not belong the core ones (Fussy, 2017;Rungfamai, 2016;Eta, 2014), including the former post-Soviet countries (Kushnir, 2017;Oleksiyenko, 2014;Sabzalieva, 2017;CohenMiller & Kuzhabekova 2018;Kuzhabekova & Ruby, 2018). The study indicates what benefial conditions at different level of governance are required in order the global higher education models to achieve the intended outcomes in a new setting. ...
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The main thesis of the articles making up this dissertation is that policies drawn on global models may fail to achieve the intended outcomes in a new context not only because of faults in the implementation process but also because of faults in policies themselves in this new context. From a sociological institutionalists perspective, the latter can be called means–ends decoupling. Ukraine is one of the numerous post-communist and post-Soviet countries which sustain means–ends decoupling at the state level. The articles treat how in Ukrainian case, means–ends decoupling at the state level affected university management and individual academics. All three levels were explored separately through in-depth case studies on the implementation of global models of higher education, in particular the research university and the Triple Helix. Consistently, the studies show that means–ends decoupling at the state level creates complexity at the meso and micro levels, which leads to struggles for university management to integrate the different identities of research universities and to behavior among academics that is only loosely coupled to the expectations of global research universities. It is also shown that there are differences among Ukrainian universities in the degree of decoupling and in the coherence of reactions to it. Means–ends decoupling, in sum, entailed grave consequences for the society and economy as well as for individuals’ well-being.
... For example, the newly founded Nazarbayev University has established partnerships with the University of Pennsylvania (USA), the University of Cambridge (UK), and other leading universities around the world. The main policy of Nazarbayev University is the creation of the world-class university model aimed at establishing an innovation and knowledge hub in Astana (Sabzalieva 2017). This governance model provides Nazarbayev University with the opportunity to be completely autonomous in organisational, financial, and academic activities and HAS a special legal status. ...
... Today, universities that are part of the Russell Group in the UK are interested in expanding an educational market and flexible forms of cooperation and training. The experience of Nazarbayev University has shown that the partnership with leading universities in the world can give a sharp impetus to improving the quality of education and research (Sabzalieva 2017). Thus, by opening joint universities and branches of Western universities, it is a realistic opportunity to create equal, mutually beneficial cooperation with the world-class universities, which was mentioned by president K. Tokayev. ...
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This article discusses legal and economic issues in the higher education and tourism industry in the context of Kazakhstan. The study revealed that the creation of international university campuses in the Turkestan region can enable to develop a local tourism and become an attractive tourist destination and international educational hub in Central Asia. It is suggested to establish these campuses in partnership with the world's leading universities based on the experience of Nazarbayev University. There is a great chance to attract international students and tourists as well as establish Kazakhstan's Silicon Valley. To create endowment funds and ensure the financial independence of universities, it is proposed to pass a special land granting law enabling regions to allocate land plots to universities on a gratuitous basis, as seen in practice in the USA. Additionally, it was concluded that this region in geographical, territorial, climatic terms as well as the historical role of Turkestan are very favourable for the development of international tourism. The research was conducted based on the documentary analysis method and secondary data analysis. Legal acts and state programs and acts launched by thegovernment in higher education, tourism, and hospitality industries were collected from the official websites of state bodies and analyzed. Keywords: higher education; local tourism; student mobility; international university campus; legislation.
... In developing countries and middle-income countries, the priority has been to build research-intensive universities (Dembereldorj, 2018;Kiraka et al., 2020;Lee and Naidoo, 2020). For instance, Nazarbayev University, in Kazakhstan, was created by the deсree of the president N. Nazarbayev (Ruby et al., 2017;Sabzalieva, 2017), and similarly the Malaysian government invested in the Universiti Sains Malaysia to attain international stature (Lee and Naidoo, 2020). Based on the examples, national policymakers are active participants in accepting and reinforcing the Anglo-Saxon model of higher education. ...
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Global university rankings (GURs) have received unprecedented attention from so many higher education stakeholders, ranging from policy makers to the general public. We provide a critical overview of GURs drawing on a geopolitics of knowledge (GoK) lens. We highlight and introduce three major university rankings that have a global impact, such as ARWU, THE, and QS world university rankings. We illuminate how these three rankings perpetuate GoK in two ways: a) universalizing languages of quality and excellence and b) reproducing colonial knowledge/power relations. We argue that GoK is integral to articulating and challenging the global politics of knowing and being in contemporary higher education
... These texts provide thorough and consistent evidence to suggest that rankings not only serve the purposes claimed by their publishers, but also function as (re)shaping factors of the space they claim to be merely assessing. Of the most critical works within this group, it is particularly illustrative to note the studies that examine how league tables have been used to promote the adoption of neo-liberal policies (David 2016;Sabzalieva 2017), how international rankings have altered the definition and distribution of symbolic capital in the international field of management education (Wedlin 2011), how these devices shape management and policy discourse amongst research-intensive universities (O'Connell 2015), how law school rankings have had negative impact (Espeland and Sauder 2016) as well as how the use of bibliometrics in university rankings have generated 'perverse effects' (Gingras 2016), to name a few examples. Moreover, there is also empirical work indicating that the WCU is only viable for a well-off minority of countries, mostly from the global north, who can afford what is required to attain and maintain such status (Mittelman 2017). ...
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The notion of World Class University suggests that this category of universities operates at a global and not national level. The rankings that have made this notion recognised are global in their scope, ranking universities on a worldwide scale and feed an audience from north to south, east to west. The very idea of ranking universities on such a scale, it is argued here, must be understood in relation to the increasing internationalisation and marketisation of higher education and the creation of a global market for higher education. More precisely, this contribution links the rankings of world class universities to the global space of international student flows. This space has three distinctive poles, a Pacific pole (with the US as the main country of destination and Asian countries as the most important suppliers of students), a Central European one (European countries of origin and destination) and a French/Iberian one (France and Spain as countries of destination with former colonies in Latin America and Africa as countries of origin). The three poles correspond to three different logics of recruitment: a market logic, a proximity logic and a colonial logic. It is argued that the Pacific/Market pole is the dominating pole in the space due to the high concentration of resources of different sorts, including economic, political, educational, scientific and not least, linguistic assets. This dominance is further enhanced by the international ranking. US universities dominate these to a degree that World Class Universities has become synonymous with the American research university. However, the competition has sharpened. And national actors such as China and India are investing heavily to challenge the American dominance. Also France and Germany, who are the dominant players at the dominated poles in the space, have launched initiative to ameliorate their position. In addition, we also witness a growing critique of the global rankings. One of the stakes is the value of national systems of higher education and the very definition of higher education.
... In the majority of cases, studies on the implementation of global higher education models in the national context employ a macro perspective (Beerkens, 2010;Cai, 2014;Fussy, 2018;Sabzalieva, 2017;Lamb and Currie, 2011;Eta, 2014;Kushnir, 2017;Oleksiyenko, 2014 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 ...
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Purpose This article aims to explore the implications of means–ends decoupling at the state level for the implementation of the global model of the research university by the deans and department heads. Means–ends decoupling at the state level implies that the policies and practices of the state are disconnected from its core goal of creating public welfare. Design/methodology/approach Data that form the basis of analysis were collected through twenty-four semi-structured interviews with deans and department heads from the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences who were in their positions during 2010–2014, at two Ukrainian universities. Findings Apart from means–ends decoupling at the state level, which resulted in institutional complexity, case universities also sustained means–ends decoupling at the organisational level, which led to cultural complexity. Institutional and cultural complexities experienced by the deans and department heads, as well as their practices and values deviated from the global model of the research university, entailed them sustaining means–ends decoupling at the individual level. The degree of means–ends decoupling maintained by the deans and department heads at the individual level varied depending on organisational, disciplinary and individual cultural dimensions. Originality/value This research contributes to the policy development and implementation studies highlighting how mismatches in policies at both state and organisational levels hinder the achievement of the intended outcomes.
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The purpose of this study is to explore changes in ideas for World-Class Universities (WCU) by major policy actors (government, Ministry of Education, universities, National Assembly’s Education Committee, Ministry of Finance, Special Committee on Budget and Accounts, etc.) reflected in the BK21 Project. The ultimate goal of this research is to examine their gap with the recent global trends on WCUs. The research questions are as follows. First, it analyzed the main points of the overall project‘s programs, budget structure, and evaluation indicators by looking at the overall changes in the design of each step until the 4th stage of the BK21 project. Second, the research focused on the idea and discourse of policy actors − such as the government, the Ministry of Education, universities, the National Assembly’s Education Committee, the Ministry of Strategy and Finance, and the Special Committee on Budget and Accounts − in terms of discourse institutionalism. Third, based on this, the research analyzed the relationship between ideas and power (Carstensen & Schmidt, 2016) and how each agent had made adjustments to their reflect ideas in World-Class University Building Policy. Accordingly, this study analyzed policy discourse from the perspective of discourse institutionalism to comprehensively view the power and discourse process among policy actors at the level of ideas and discourse. Specifically, this study focused on the ‘framing’ of governments’ ideas, the ideas of the key actors appearing in the discourse process, and the discourse strategies they act to reflect their ideas in the final policy. This study used the process-tracking method to explore ideas that affected the BK21 Projects’ policy transformation. The contents of the analysis were the four periods in which the policy formation and revision was made from stage 1 to stage 4(1999~2020). Various materials related to the BK21 Project were used for analysis − press releases, research reports, public hearing materials, and minutes of the National Assembly meeting. Prior to the analysis, theoretical exploration has shown that today's social expectations for world-class universities were beyond the realm of the state and were in the realization of the role of universities as global public goods. This explains that the policy to foster WCUs can also be interpreted in various ways depending on what the main body of globalization is and in which sphere it aims at. Based on this, the study sought to interpret the ideas and discourse of major policy actors on world-class universities. As a result, the following key issues were identified: First, the analysis of major policy actors' ideas of WCU and the process of policy discourse showed that the government and the Ministry of Education devised policies with the idea that ‘creating a few world-class universities would improve the global reputation of higher education in Korea as a whole.’ Under these policies, weaker universities have brought about policy modifications by ‘giving shame’ to the Ministry of Education by citing cognitive justification and normative values. Specifically, despite agreeing with the government's ideas, they argued for balanced regional development, alleviating gaps between universities, and fairness. Although theoretically emphasized, the emphasis on Glocalization or regional-global connectivity did not gain much strength from the discourse of the nation's policy of fostering WCUs, which considered competition in the rankings more important. In addition, the tug-of-war between the National Assembly's Education Committee, the Ministry of Strategy and Finance, the National Assembly's Budget and Accounts Committee, and the Ministry of Budget and Policy − which exercise power over the size of the budget − is centered on the idea that the policy of fostering world-class universities should be able to create top universities in the world. By citing international indicators that tells that ‘the level of higher education in our country is low’, the Ministry of Education has secured an amount of government budget for WCU policies. This, in turn, leads to the burden of the Ministry of Education to show tangible results in these international rankings in short terms. This seemed to be the reason why the project’s quantitative evaluation indices could not change easily even if all agreed to the need for a change to a qualitative performance evaluation. Also, the National R&D Evaluation has rather became representative as the basis for the performance of the overall project and seemed to have influenced the quantified quality assessment. However, the Ministry of education and the financing boards were not just in a check-up relationship. Rather, by forming a positive network with the stakeholders in finance and budgets, the Ministry of Education wanted to maintain the principle of "select and focus” to foster WCUs, so it could rule out alternative ideas from minority universities more strongly. Second, as a result of examining the changes, the policy has undergone in accordance with the policy actor's idea of a WCU, the following are the results. The study has shown that in the early stages of the project, 'world-class universities' were used as rhetorical expressions to induce competition among domestic universities through budgeting and selective university support rather than showing excellence in the global market. In other words, the government and the Ministry of Education hid behind the scenes the purpose of reforming the university system and induced competition among universities among the nation. Thus, it ruled out alternative ideas from the university community and forced the contents of policies that were claimed to be unrelated to fostering WCUs. However, from the third stage, the Ministry of Education began to express its opinion that ‘efforts at the ‘university-wide’ level should be made to raise the ranking of world-class universities’, but its implementation was not reflected − offended against strong opposition from the Education Committee and the Special Committee on Budget and Accounts. By the fourth stage, the Ministry of Education persuaded the offenders of the need for university-level support and formed a favorable network with them, which enabled them to succeed in securing the budget for the Postgraduate Innovation Support Funds. Third, after looking at various interpretations of WCUs, the analysis of the ideas of Korea's WCUs is as follows. First of all, Korea was very interested in securing excellent research personnel at WCUs, and it was considered that forming world-class research conditions was a way to prevent the brain drain of domestic students and secure excellent international faculties and students from abroad. In particular, all of these were considered strategies for securing global competitiveness at the national level in Korea; while as, discourse on exchanges with foreign researchers from an academic point of view and accepting multiculturalism from a socio-cultural point of view were excluded. In addition, the BK21 project did not actively discuss the financial security of universities, and it was difficult for local universities and public universities to find industries that would positively consider industry-academic cooperation in the context of Korea. In the end, based on the normative idea of 'unfairness' each university face in finding industries to fund, the conditions for securing response funds were abolished after the first and second stage. Finally, looking at the subject of autonomy and responsibilities of universities, it was understood that the responsibilities of universities benefiting from the BK21 project were generally to produce results that would represent the economic and political superiority of the country and that at the university level, it was competing with other universities in Korea to secure abundant financial resources. This is a characteristic of the university policies of countries based on Confucian culture such as Korea, and the idea of WCU was far from fulfilling the public responsibilities of the international community which is emphasized today. In particular, as long as evaluation and reputation are used as the basis for achievement, it is believed that Korea's research universities will have a number of pre-determined tasks to expand their sphere of activity to the world. Based on the above discussion, this research produced policy suggestions such as granting responsibility to world-class universities to embrace regions-state-world, revitalizing consortiums with local leading universities, exploring strategies for academic politics, securing feasibility of qualitative assessment systems, and reaching agreements on evaluation systems with other ministries, including the Ministry of Science and Technology.
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