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The effect of digitalisation on higher education has been described as a turning point in its history. Worldwide demand for higher education is forecast to grow exponentially over the next ten years with some forecasts predicting that e-learning will grow by a factor of 15, accounting for 15 per cent of total provision. 

This new research poses urgent questions, including: how are ‘global’ trends in educational technology refracted through national and regional policies and processes? What are their social impacts? How are educational technologies linked to social issues? How are digital technologies implicated in the commercialisation, marketisation and commodification of higher education? How can HEIs build the skills people will need in the data-driven economies of the 21st century?

The study compares “giants” through original research into the state and influence of the digital globalisation of knowledge and its impact on higher education systems and institutions in Europe and South Asia. While digitalisation is being driven by globalisation, political, economic and social conditions vary between the two regions, and between countries in each region.

The study takes a case-study approach in four countries in South Asia (Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Nepal), and three in the EU (the UK, Germany, Finland). It also considers the crucial role played at the regional level in Europe by the European Union.

The comparison of these two contrasting regions raises globally relevant questions which will inform future interventions and give special attention to how lessons learned apply to higher education systems across the world.

See also