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Universities in Transition: Privatization, Decentralization, and Institutional Autonomy as National Policy with Special Reference to the Russian Federation

Опубликовано на портале: 08-12-2003
Privatization, decentralization, and autonomy are powerful and related, but complex and multi-dimensional, ideas that are changing the relationship between governments and universities. Each of these dimensions is being driven in part by the need for more efficient and more responsive universities.
Within these concepts may lie promises of:
*a more responsive university—to the students, economic enterprises, and governmental agencies that need its students and its research;
*a better managed university—meaning a university that better empowers the individual faculty member and that maximizes the teaching, learning, and scholarship for its available resources;
*a more accessible university, promoting equality and social unity.

It remains possible, however, that out of these same concepts, in North America and Europe, as well as in Russia and other transitional nations, will come increasing austerity, less participation, less academic quality, a fragmentation of the national universities, and a loss of the university’s traditional unifying role that will not serve well the needs of any of these societies. The difference between these two scenarios may lie in the degree to which the government uses privatization, decentralization, and institutional autonomy to create more effective, efficient, and responsive universities—or, in contrast, as a cover for financial disengagement or a general collapse of state authority.

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