Data on the growth of participation in tertiary/higher education, student mobility, research paper output by country and university, and cross-border research collaboration, suggest that the world is undergoing a tremendous expansion in the activity and contribution of higher education.
This is especially apparent in the rise of China and Singapore as scientific powerhouses and the emergence of East Asia as an education and science zone that is larger than Europe. Yet this contribution of higher education is increasingly under-funded in most (not all) countries; and in many (though not all) countries the position of higher education is more politically exposed and less stable than it was.
The ructions of economic globalisation and income inequality in many countries are generating national/global tensions that affect not only cross-border mobility in higher education but national and local support for cosmopolitan universities. In some countries populist politicians have targeted universities, educational professionals and science.