ANIE Network | Global universities unprepared for sea change ahead
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Global universities unprepared for sea change ahead

An overwhelming majority of the participants responding to a live poll during the webinar on the megatrends shaping the future of global higher education agreed that universities face transformative changes in the next decade – but only 12% believe higher education institutions are prepared for the sea change that lies ahead.

The polls were taken during the 60-minute webinar – for which 830 people registered to take part – which was organised by StudyPortals on 24 January. University World News was the media partner.

The webinar coincided with the publication of a new report Envisioning Pathways to 2030: Megatrends shaping the future of global higher education and international student mobility by Rahul Choudaha, executive vice-president of global engagement, research and intelligence at StudyPortals, and Edwin van Rest, CEO and co-founder of StudyPortals – the platform which provides information on 150,000 programmes from institutions in over 120 countries for students planning to study abroad.

The report spells out eight megatrends – the external forces transforming global higher education:


  • Aging world: finding new opportunities of education and employment;
  • Labour market shifts: increasing automation to affect global workforce;
  • Skills mismatch: gap between what employers demand vs what education provides;
  • Rapid urbanisation: shift towards cities in search of jobs and career advancement;
  • Stricter immigration policies: more barriers for mobility to high-income destinations;
  • Economic shifts: dependence on emerging markets for economic growth;
  • Capacity imbalance: demand in emerging economies vs supply in developed economies;
  • Budget pressures: higher education is facing decline in public funding.

The report also highlights the growing imbalance between lower- and middle-income countries, which will see demand for higher education from the traditional college-age population grow larger relative to the supply of institutions; while high-income countries will face stagnant enrolment unless they expand their pool to include the non-traditional domestic population (aged over 24) through lifelong, online, or blended learning and increasingly reach out to underserved students abroad through transnational education and international student recruitment.

Dr Rahul Choudaha moderated the webinar and introduced the other panellists: Dr David Finegold, president of Chatham University in the United States; Dr Fernando León García, president of CETYS University System, Mexico; and Dr Wendy Purcell, a professor at Harvard University in the US and former president and vice-chancellor at Plymouth University in the United Kingdom. Continue reading…