CGHE seminar 91

Higher education in federal systems: a comparative study

  • Thursday, 04 Oct 2018 12:30 - 14:00
  • Room 826, UCL Institute of Education
  • Simon Marginson, University of Oxford


Professor Simon Marginson will make the first seminar presentation of the findings from a large international comparative study of higher education in countries with federal systems of government.

The book Higher Education in Federal Countries: A comparative study (editors Martin Carnoy, Isak Froumin, Oleg Leshukov and Simon Marginson) has just been published by Sage.

The countries covered are the United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Australia, Germany, India, Russia and also China, which though it does not have a federal legal structure uses a large message of devolution to provincial administration.

The book develops an overarching comparative analysis of the dynamics of central and regional power in higher education, and the national case studies explain how each federal and federal-like higher education system has evolved and how it functions in what are highly varied contexts.

The editors conclude that there are no general rules and every higher education experience of federalism is conditioned by a distinctive history and set of present possibilities, but each nation faces a common set of issues and questions about federalism – which level of government has the power, is the division of power stable or fluctuating, how does this affect the evolution of higher education, what is the best arrangement for the country concerned, and what is likely to happen in future?

The case studies provide rich insights into issues and problems of higher education in each of the countries. The book is an original contribution to higher education studies and defines a new field of comparative analysis. It also provides important insights into comparative governance and the study of federalism and federal arrangements, with their particular historical, political, legal and economic dimensions.

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Simon Marginson

Simon Marginson

Professor Simon Marginson is Director of CGHE, and leads CGHE’s global higher education engagement research programme. He is Professor of International Higher Education at the University of Oxford, and Editor-in-Chief of the journal Higher Education. He focuses on comparative international and global aspects of higher education, including systems and strategy, and higher education and equality.

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