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AbstractThe paper presents and describes the main trends of development and risks of modern education system at the global scale. The paper characterizes the challenges higher education is facing, resulting from the globalization, and the impact of new educational technologies related with ICT and the Internet on universities. Phenomenon of the creation and growth of open and virtual universities is described. Data are presented about unprecedented growth of student numbers and their global mobility, as well as the attempts to overcome the gap between poverty and wealth.