Massification and internationalization of education Essay

Massification and internationalization of education


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In the past years, internalization of education has been diversifying at a higher rate. As compared to older days, education was based only on certain locality compared to the current treads where it has taken a new dimension of diversification. Education has become globalized as there are a big number of people moving to other countries for education no matter the back ground, race or religion. This has contributed to education being a boundless commodity among the international community.

Massification and internationalization of education

In illustrating the transition from elite to mass to open access higher education the writer successfully distinguished the three phases of higher education transformation. The writer gives us an insight into how higher education came into existence. He shows the gap in enrollment brought about by differences in social classes with those in the upper classes making the biggest enrollment.

When describing the phases of transition the writer seemed to dwell more on the elite education and portrayed it as superior compared to mass education. This leaves one wondering why then the rapid transition shown by many European countries from elite education system to mass education system. It is outlined in the document that graduates from elite education landed powerful positions in the government while graduates from mass schools landed modest position. What needs more clarification is what happened to those graduates from elite education who could not secure powerful positions in the government considering the fact that such positions are not many to go by? How about those from mass education who had a fairly competent intellectual capacity? Couldn’t they fill in the elite positions in the government?

One of the outstanding features of elite and mass education practiced at the same time is that it brought about unnecessary divisions in the development of the society with those with the resources enrolling for elite education and those without having to contend with mass education despite their intellectual capability. This is to say, with the two education systems there was no equity.

In the document the writer tells us that the number of those who enrolled for higher education grew rapidly after WWII but does not outline the possible contributing factors.  The distinction between past and contemporary education is well outlined in the document with the contemporary ones having less authority and control of the students’ life. However, in trying to distinguish elite higher education from other levels of education, the writer used ambition as the most important factor a student must have to recruited hence portraying that those students enrolled in colleges have no ambition.

The changes that are required in transition of phases in the development of modern higher education systems are explained in the document. The writer shows that changes in the size of the system in countries offering elite education usually begins when it is providing spaces for around 15% of the relevant age group. When over 30% are admitted it shows that the country is sending most of its children to higher institutes of learning and hence must create more institutes of learning as it moves to open access. Changes in attitudes over access influence the development of modern higher education systems. The community starts seeing it as a right to enrolled for those who qualified when over 15% of the relevant group has access to higher education.

In terms of functions of higher education elite education prepares one for elite roles in the society while mass education prepares one for leading roles in all the technical and economic organizations of the society. Elite institutions are highly structured compared to mass institutions which are highly flexible allowing for movements between courses and fields. In elite institution as explained in the document tutorials are used as a form of instruction while in mass institutions large lectures are used. In universal learning there is a lot of reliance on use of distance learning and other technological aids as forms of instruction.

Forms of entry into the different types of higher education vary.  For elite institutions the student enters immediately after completing secondary school education. For mass institutions, students may enter immediately or after sometime. Elite systems tend to be alike in terms of how they conduct their affairs. On the other hand mass and universal systems are very diverse in terms of standards and how they move about their affairs. In terms of locus of power and decision making for elite institutions it is controlled by a small elite group in the political, academic and economic sectors. They know one another and share a lot in common. Mass higher education is continually influenced by these elite groups but more guided by democratic political processes and attentive audiences such as alumni or the employers of graduates of mass higher education.

When the system makes a move in the direction of universal access, large portions of the population begins to be affected by it. What is taught in the universities and colleges begins to of general interest to the media and the public. Academic standards of elite systems are generally high and are most likely to be shared. For mass higher education systems, standards become varied, differ in severity and character for different part of the system. Institutes of universal access tend to evaluate whether there has been any value added as a result of the educational experience. It forms the basis of universal higher education access.

While there is a general acceptance of meritocratic criteria by the mass system, in elite system it is modified to give special advantage to what are perceived as disadvantaged sectors.


Trow, A. (2005) Reflections on the Transition from Elite to Mass to Universal Access: Forms and Phases of Higher Education in Modern Societies since WWI, Berkeley, University of California,



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