1st Edition

Reclaiming Public Universities
Comparative Reflections for Reforms

Edited By

Manisha Priyam

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after March 30, 2022
ISBN 9780815387176
March 30, 2022 Forthcoming by Routledge India
400 Pages 20 B/W Illustrations

USD $160.00

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Book Description

This book explores the nature of public universities and higher education reforms in emerging economies, with a focus on India, South Africa and Brazil. Drawing on context-based case studies, the essays in the volume highlight the state of public universities amongst the developing world with their shared colonial past and social, caste and race inequalities. Based on comparative and multidisciplinary studies, the book provides a critical account of the policy reforms and changes on account of globalization and markets in higher education in public universities of the Global South regions. 

The chapters also compare methodological approaches to university reform and restructuring of public universities and higher education systems in USA, Australia, the European Union and India, and examine the California model, the Bologna process, the Melbourne model, the University of Delhi reforms, and engage critically with the New Public Management inspired reform policies. The book further lays the groundwork for understanding “massification” in a contextual way, and the possibilities for expansion of scale of mass higher education through public provision.  

With its empirical findings and social theory analyses by global experts, the volume will be of great interest to scholars and researchers of education, higher education, sociology and social anthropology, development studies, public policy and administration, politics, political economy, and Global South studies. It will also be useful to educationists, policymakers and civil society organizations.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Reclaiming public universities: Comparative reflections for reforms

Manisha Priyam


Part I: Globalization and Reforms in Local Arenas: Adaptation, Crisis, and Contests


Chapter 1: Globalization in the United States: The case of California

William G. Tierney and Michael Lanford


Chapter 2: Academic challenges and solutions in higher education: An Australian perspective

Peter McPhee


Chapter 3: Understanding the European higher education area: The impact of the Bologna Process

David Crosier and Jasmin Maki


Chapter 4: Crisis and reforms in higher education in India: Some conceptual and methodological reflections

Ritty Lukose


Chapter 5: Decolonization of higher education: Opportunities and challenges of reclaiming the public university in the South African context

Felix Maringe and Ruksana Osman


Part II: The Indian Public University: Discursive Policy Terrains and Diverging Mission


Chapter 6: Knowledge, power, and autonomy: Policy contestations in Indian public universities

Sudhanshu Bhushan


Chapter 7: The Indian institutes of technology: A sociology of knowledge perspective

Amrit Srinivasan


Chapter 8: Managing a university in transition: Opportunities and challenges

Rajen Harshé

Chapter 9: Quest for Excellence in Indian higher education: Negotiating the trade-off between autonomy and accountability  Saumen Chattopadhyay


Chapter 10: Recovering the ‘public voice’: Defining quality in higher education in India
Reetika Syal and Manisha Madhava


Chapter 11: Comparative policy: Perspectives on systems of higher education in the US and India

Raquel M. Rall


Part III: Persisting Inequalities


Chapter 12: Stratification in Brazilian higher education

Arnaldo Mont’Alvao, Weverthon Machado and Carlos A. Costa Ribeiro


Chapter 13: Race-based affirmative action in Brazil’s higher education 

João Feres Júnior


Chapter 14: What is at stake when reforming educational pathways? Theoretical reflections from South Africa

Ruksana Osman and Felix Maringe


Chapter 15:Radical shifts in undergraduate education in India: Concerns and challenges

Albeena Shakil

Conclusion: Reclaiming the ‘public’: Reflections from reforms and universities

Manisha Priyam

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Manisha Priyam is Professor of Education Policy at the National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration, New Delhi, India. She has been a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, New Delhi, with an ICSSR fellowship award (2013-14). She has a Ph.D. in International Development from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Her research interests include educational policy reforms, school decentralization, gender and social equity issues in higher education. Her publications include The Contested Politics of Educational Reforms: Aligning Opportunities with Interests (2015).


‘This superb collection of essays on the nature of higher education in different settings will greatly advance debates on the place of universities in contemporary society. The contributors explain why it is so important for scholars to protect the idea of the university as a public good, drawing on case material from across the Global North and Global South. Incisive, accessible, and written by leaders in the field, the book is an indispensable guide to the futures of the modern university.’

Craig Jeffrey, Professor, School of Geography, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Faculty of Science, The University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


‘There is a growing consensus that higher education is in a process of radical change. The shift is of global dimensions, but the ‘university’ faces unprecedented challenges in the global south. This volume brings together scholars from different countries of the global north and south to engage in comparative conversations about both policy and social change in higher education. There can be no doubt that our research capacities must be turned inward now. In India, scholars have not turned their gaze sufficiently upon themselves; there has not been enough empirically grounded and quality research on higher education institutions. This volume is a much-needed step in that direction, and I look forward to it stimulating debates and discussions on defining questions in higher education of our time.’ 

Samita Sen, Vere Harmsworth Professor of Imperial and Naval History, Faculty of History, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK