PROPHE presented a panel on for-profits at the 59th Conference of the Comparative International Education Society meeting in Washington, DC, March 10, 2015. The title of the panel was The Emergence of the For-Profit Private Higher Education Sector: Dynamics in China, Vietnam, and the US.
Here we post information on that panel. Specifically, we show:
1. Chair: Dr. Francisco Marmolejo, Tertiary Education Coordinator, World Bank’s Education Global Practice
Dr. Marmolejo introduced the panel topic, noting the large worldwide growth and importance of private higher education in general and for-profit private higher education in particular. He also introduced the panelists, noting that Qian Li could not be present to deliver her PPT in person.
2. Panelist: Dr. Daniel Levy, SUNY Distinguished Professor, Department of Educational Administration and Policy Studies, SUNY Albany
Global Dynamics in the Emergence of For-Profit Sectors
3. Panelist: Dr. Kevin Kinser, Associate Professor, Chair, Department of Educational Administration and Policy Studies, SUNY Albany
Degree Granting For-Profit Higher Education in the US
4. Panelist: Lan Hoang, Doctoral Student, Department of Educational Administration and Policy Studies, SUNY Albany
The Emergence of Vietnamese For-Profit and Non-Profit Private Higher Education: For-Profit Ascendant?
5. Panelist: Qian Li, PhD Candidate, Beijing Normal University
For-Profit Higher Education as a Fledging Sector in China: An Analysis of National Policies and Local and Provincial Variations
6. Discussant: Dr. Gerard Postiglione, Associate Dean (Research), Chair Professor, Faculty of Education, University of Hongkong
II. Given that we can show the full PPTs here, we do not summarize their content, but we do sketch some topics highlighted in the open discussion, as prompted by questions and comments from the audience. Chairman Marmolejo opted to conduct two separate rounds of open contributions from the floor followed by responses from each of the panelists.
One focus was on the prospects for the continued expansion of for-profit higher education. This included debate over how strong the dynamics of present expansion are and whether they are sufficient to drive further forward. A key sub-question eliciting contrasting perspectives is how much and how the existence and expansion of private higher education in general facilitates for-profit expansion in particular. An additional thread was how much for-profit expansion into additional countries involves a Westernization, in what senses, with what implications. Inevitably, exploring complexity led to clarification of competing characterizations (even definitions) of both private higher education and its for-profit component.
Inevitably too, claims were generated from specific country and regional examples. The single country most often considered was China, especially in Prof. Postiglione’s comments and his repeated references to Qian Li’s PPT. An additional inevitability is that, while most of the open discussion (like the PPTs) was empirically focused, policy implications emerged, alongside perspectives on the ways in which the for-profit role is constructive or destructive. Regulation, actual and desirable, was repeatedly discussed.
Each of these avenues of discussion led to considerable comparative analysis—across time, regions, countries, and higher education sectors (both private vs. public and for-profit private vs. nonprofit private). Further intriguing comparisons were made between for-profit in higher education and for-profit in health care.