23 SES 08 B, Inside a Global Player: Looking at the OECD ‘from within’
The paper discusses the work of the OECD in the field of higher education, focusing on the organisation’s history, its agenda of higher education and the account of previous research (e.g. Hunter 2013; Wende 2011; Rizvi and Lingard, 2010). Higher education has been in the midst of the OECD’s educational agenda since the inauguration of the organisation. It has seen to have grown in importance within the OECD until the early 2000s, which is to a significant degree to its expansion (Schuller and Vincent-Lancrin 2009) but also to its redefined role in the knowledge economy (Henry et al. 2001). In recent years, however, the number of studies on higher education has evidently dropped as the OECD’s emphasis has shifted particularly to the development of educational assessments. The thread of the paper is that, notwithstanding the shifting themes, the OECD work on higher education has been characterized by two leitmotifs; the problematisation of higher education and the idea that the global competitiveness can be enhanced through intergovernmental cooperation in higher education, which both have underlined the role of the OECD in higher education development. These leitmotifs underlie the structure of the paper, which first looks at the OECD approach to higher education from “a bird’s-eye view”. Here, the paper draws on an extensive historical analysis of the OECD publications and documents on higher education, with emphasis on the thematic reviews of tertiary education in the 1990s and the early 2000s (e.g. OECD 2008). Second, the paper examines the OECD from within by revisiting the vast interview data of the earlier research (Kallo 2009) as well as by reviewing more recent accounts of the OECD work on higher education (e.g. Kallo 2017, Kallo and Semchenko 2016, Shahahan 2016, Shahjahan and Madden 2015).
Kallo. 2009. OECD Education Policy: A Comparative and Historical Study Focusing on the Thematic Reviews of Tertiary Education. Jyväskylä: FERA. Kallo, Semchenko. 2016. Translation of the UNESCO/OECD Guidelines for Quality Provision in Cross-Border Higher Education into Local Policy Contexts: A Comparative Study on Finland and Russia. Quality in Higher Education 22: 20–35. Kallo. 2017. Role of OECD in the Field of Higher Education Research. In J. C. Shin and P. Teixeira (eds.) Encyclopedia of International Higher Education Systems and Institutions. Dordrecht: Springer+Business Media. Mundy. 2007. Global Governance, Educational Change. Comparative Education 40: 339−357. Rizvi, Lingard. 2010. Globalizing Education Policy. London & New York: Routledge. Schuller, Vincent-Lancrin. 2009. OECD Work on the Internationalization of Higher Education: An Insider Perspective. In International Organizations and Higher Education Policy: Thinking Globally, Acting Locally... Shahjahan, Madden. 2015. Uncovering the images and meanings of international organizations (IOs) in higher education research. Higher Education 69: 705−717. Shahjahan (2016). IGOs (IOs), epistemic tools of influence, and the colonial geopolitics of knowledge production in higher education policy. Journal of Education Policy 31: 694−710. Wende. 2011. The Global Institutions: The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. In Handbook on Globalisation and Higher Education...
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