22 SES 02 D, University Governance: Rankings & Profiles
Until the 20th century, higher education in Europe was governed by two main actors – the state and the academic community. The recent decades have seen the rise of what Hans Weiler calls a “new game” in higher education (Weiler, 2000, p. 333). While the old game was a “straightforward and rather boring affair” (Weiler 2000, p. 333) involving only two players, there is now a third player in the game called “the market”.
The new player proved most assertive in Central and Eastern Europe, where a market-oriented conception of higher education was promoted in the post-communist transition by institutions such as the World Bank, OECD, and the Soros Foundation (Weiler, 2000). In the wake of the political transformation, market-based principles were incorporated into legislation across the region to expand higher education provision and access. In Poland in particular, reforms of the early 1990s followed the market-based model of higher education (Clark, 1986). The state set the sector loose, adopting a neo-liberal “policy of no policy”. Neo-institutional scholars predicted that higher education (HE) in Poland would continue to converge towards a market-based model of HE governance, especially as they joined the Bologna Process. These predictions, however, have not come true.
Left to themselves by the state in the post-communist transition, universities reverted back to the “Humboldtian” tradition of they had known before World War II, emphasizing higher education as a public good, and the university as a guardian of the European humanist tradition. In an era of enormous massification, the academic establishment in Poland remained strongly attached to the notions of academic self-rule in a disinterested quest for new knowledge, without specific purpose to social or economic development (Szostek, 2004; Maliszewski, 2007).
The aim of this paper is to investigate the factors accounting for the persistence of the “Humboldtian” model of the university in a country that had otherwise been a model of policy convergence towards the market model (Dobbins, 2011).
Clark, B. R. (1986). The higher education system: Academic organization in cross-national perspective. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. Dobbins, M. (2011). Higher Education Policies in Central and Eastern Europe: Convergence Towards a Common Model?. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Maliszewski, T. (2007). Zmiany instutucjonalne w szkolnictwie wyższym w kontekście wyzwań współczesności (Institutional changes in higher education in the context of the challenges of modernity). Nauka I Szkolnictwo Wyższe, 1(29), 57–73. Szostek, A. (2004). Morality, culture, and modernity: challenges to the university. Higher Education in Europe, 29(4), 467–474. Weiler, H. N. (2000). States, markets and university funding: New paradigms for the reform of higher education in Europe. Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education, 30(3), 333–339. Wise, A. K. (2010). Postcolonial anxiety in Polish nationalist rhetoric. The Polish Review, 55(3), 285–304.
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