A Critical analysis of the UNESCO/OECD guidelines for quality provision of cross-border higher education
equivalence between diplomas
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AbstractIncl. bibl., abstract
The nation state is not helpless if it wishes to respond to the significant increase since the 1980s in the cross-border provision of higher education. In 2003, the General Council of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) nevertheless commissioned the development of practices and principles to further regulate cross-border provision of higher education. These were published in late 2005. UNESCO argues that any risks to students and others of 'poor quality' cross-border provision of higher education must be addressed. Even if it can be shown, however, that certain risks accompany trade in higher education services, this does not, in and of itself, justify the regulatory response suggested by the Guidelines for Quality Provision in Cross-border Higher Education, or any other response. This article argues that the guidelines have been defined without any consideration of the potential net benefits, which could be negative, associated with their implementation. Several important implications and limitations of the guidelines are also explored.