Tag Archives: Private vs. public funding

Universities: the twin challenges of fiscal austerity and technological change

Rainer Masera, Università degli Studi “Guglielmo Marconi”, Rome, Italy

University is often regarded as a public good, although it hardly conforms to the technical definition. In the post-war period, universities became primarily social goods, largely funded through the budget. This traditional approach is subject to inevitable revision. Pressures in public finances in advanced countries and demographic factors in emerging economies require different funding models, based on the recognition that university education represents also a private benefit to beneficiaries. The application of ICT technology to tertiary training represents a twin revolution: a perishable service can be made available endlessly and everywhere; the cost frontier can be drastically optimised. Intelligent application of new technologies and blended models can bring about a Schumpeterian process of creative destruction and revolutionise the existing university models to create new diversified paradigms of higher education, which extend to society as a whole.

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