A Comparative Study of the Vision and Goals of Higher Education in Selected Countries

Document Type : Review Article


1 Associate professor of Institute for Research and Planning in Higher Education (IRPHE), Tehran, Iran

2 Ph.D. student of Economics and Finance Management of Higher Education, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran


The purpose of the present article is to compare the prospects & objectives of higher education in six countries (Netherl&s, France, Singapore, Malaysia, South Africa, & Saudi Arabia). In the present qualitative research, George Brady’s comparative strategy (description, interpretation, juxtaposition, & comparison) was utilized. The results of this section were summarized in the form of tabulation & diagramming. In the final stage, in line with the purpose of the research, the perspectives & goals of higher education in the studied countries were compared with each other, & then, the similarities & differences were identified & analyzed The findings showed among the common points of these countries, we can enumerate attention to internationalization, digitalization, deepening the role of universities in the knowledge-based economy, ingestion, & enhancement of academic research capacity, selecting & managing talents along with academic human capital programs. In terms of differences of these countries, the specific perspective of each country for higher education was investigated, which is mostly influenced by the policies, the way of governing, & the atmosphere of discourse within these countries. In terms of the common goals we can name linking the higher education system with the labor market, financial development of universities, creating & promoting competitive advantage between countries, conducting mission-oriented research in solving national & international problems, & continuously improving the quality of higher education with an especial emphasis on e-learning. In terms of differences, each country pursues different goals according to its local structure & conditions, which are discussed in this study. Finally, fifteen ideas for Iranian policymakers are presented.


  1. Alshuwaikhat, H. M. & Abubakar, I. (2008). An integrated approach to achieving campus sustainability: assessment of the current campus environmental management practices. Journal of Cleaner Production, 16, 1777-1785.
  2. Asel, H. (2020). Corporate Governance in Saudi Higher Education According to 2030 Saudi Vision. Journal of Halal Service Research, 1(1), 19.
  3. Bursztyn, M. (2008). Sustainability science & the university: towards interdisciplinarity (No. 24). Center for International Development at Harvard University
  4. Chang, D. F., & Lin, N. J. (2018). Applying CIPO indicators to examine internationalization in higher education institutions in Taiwan. International Journal of Educational Development, 63, 20-28.‏
  5. Chang, K. H. (2020). Singapore Looks to Rely Less on Foreign Workers After P&emic. Bloomberg. Retrieved August 15, 2020 from https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-06-01/ singapore-looks-to-reduce-foreign-worker-reliance-after-p&emic.
  6. Cheese, P., Thomas, R.J. & Craig, E. (2008), The Talent-Powered Organization, Kogan Page, London
  7. Coccoli, M., Guercio, A., Maresca, P., & Stanganelli, L. (2014). Smarter universities: A vision for the fast changing digital era. Journal of Visual Languages & Computing, 25(6), 1003-1011.
  8. Daniel, B. (2015). B ig D ata & analytics in higher education: Opportunities & challenges. British journal of educational technology, 46(5), 904-920
  9. Davie, S. (2020). Home-based learning set to be regular part of schooling post COVID-19, says Education Minister Ong Ye Kung. The Straits Times Online. Retrieved June 29, 2020 from https://www.straitstimes. com/singapore/education/home-based-learning-set-to-be-regular-part-of-schooling-post-covid-19-says.
  10. DEAP (2020). The Netherl&s Non-paper on the 2020 update of the EU Digital Education Action Plan: file:///C:/Users/NEXUS/Downloads/The_Netherl&s._Nonpaper_on_the_2020_update_of_the_EU_Digital_Education_Action_Plan_(DEAP).pdf
  12. Department of Higher Education & Training. (2020). Strategic plan2020-2025, Republic of south Africa.
  13. Etzkowitz, H. (2016). The entrepreneurial university: Vision & metrics. Industry & Higher Education, 30(2), 83–97
  14. Farahani, Farhad; Masoumi, Leila; Rostami Moez, Masoumeh; Khamourdi, Zahra & Khatibiyan, Mahnaz (2019). A comparative study of public & private sector participation patterns in higher education of medical sciences in five continents. Medicine & Refinement, 28 (2) [in Persian].
  15. Hayter, C. S., & Cahoy, D. R. (2018). Toward a strategic view of higher education social responsibilities: A dynamic capabilities approach. Strategic Organization, 16(1), 12-34http://www3.weforum.org/docs/GCR2018/05FullReport/TheGlobalCompetitivenessReport2018.pdf
  16. Human Development Report (2019). http://hdr.undp.org/en
  17. Ithnin, F., Sahib, S., Eng, C. K., Sidek, S., & Harun, R. N. S. R. (2018). Mapping the futures of Malaysian higher education: a meta–analysis of futures studies in the Malaysian higher educations cenario. Journal of Futures Studies, 22(3), 1-18.
  18. Keikha, Ahmed; Zakersalehi, Gholamreza (2020). Comparative representation of the perspective & policies of higher education institution in seven countries of the world. Journal of Sociology of Social Institutions, 16 [in Persian].
  19. Lord, R., Lorimer, R., Babraj, J., & Richardson, A. (2019). The role of mock job interviews in enhancing sport students’ employability skills: An example from the UK. Journal of Hospitality, Leisure, Sport & Tourism Education.‏
  20. Madadi Neshat, Maryam; Barzou, Seyedreza & Cheraghi, Fatemeh (2020). Comparative analysis of nursing education program of National University of Singapore & Iran. Journal of Nursing Research in Iran, 15 (4) [in Persian].
  21. Mohammadizad, S., Azizi, N., & Salehiomran, E. (2019). Comparative analysis of Iranian polytechnic higher education with selected countries. Iranian Journal of Comparative Education, 2 (4)
  22. Nabavi, Seyyed Abdul Amir (2016). Interdisciplinary & multi-methodological studies: some considerations & suggestions. Quarterly Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies in Humanities, 8 (2) [in Persian].
  23. Naylor, D. (2013). Global research excellence: How Canada can compete & win. Address given to the Economic Club of Canada on May 7, 2013.
  24. Ntuli, H., Inglesi‐Lotz, R., Chang, T., & Pouris, A. (2015). Does research output cause economic growth or vice versa? Evidence from 34 OECD countries. Journal of the Association for Information Science & Technology, 66(8), 1709-1716.
  25. Oced (2020). EDUCATION POLICY OUTLOOK NETHERL&S. http://www.oecd.org/education/EDUCATION%20POLICY%20OUTLOOK_NETHERL&S_EN%20.pdf
  26. OECD (2020). EDUCATION POLICY OUTLOOK FRANCE:https://www.oecd.org/education/policy-outlook/country-profile-France-2020.pdf
  27. Ota, H. (2018). Internationalization of Higher Education: Global Trends & Japan's Challenges. Educational Studies in Japan, 12, 91-105.‏
  28. Panahi, Maryam; Abbaspour, Abbas; Khors&i Taskoh, Ali & Ghiasi Nadushan, Saeed (2020). Comparative analysis of cross-border higher education in the states of the Persian Gulf region with the approach of international poles of education. Management & planning in educational systems, 13 (2) [in Persian].
  29. Patalong, F. (2016). Vision 2030 & the transformation of education in Saudi Arabia. Al Tamimi & Company.
  30. Penang (2021). Covid-19: Impact on the Tertiary Education Sector in Malaysia: https://penanginstitute.org/publications/covid-19-crisis-assessments/covid-19-impact-on-the-tertiary-education-sector-in-malaysia/
  31. Pienaar, C. & Bester, C. L. (2008). The retention of academics in the early career phase: Empirical research. SA Journal of Human Resource Management, 6, 2, 32-41.
  32. Sustainable Development goals. (2018). TOWARDS A SUSTAINABLE & RESILIENT SINGAPORE. https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/19439Singapores_Voluntary_National_Review_Report_v2.pdf
  33. Teng, A. (2020). Big difference between textbook learning & the real world, says Education Minister Lawrence Wong. The Straits Times Online. Retrieved August 1, 2020 from https://www.straitstimes.com/ singapore/education/big-difference-between-textbook-learning-&-the-real-world-says-education
  34. THE FUTURE OF THE PLANET IN THE FRENCH HIGHER EDUCATION SYSTEM (2021). https://theshiftproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/TSP_Resume-aux-decideurs_ANG_201215.pdf
  35. The Global Competitiveness Report (2018).
  36. THE NATIONAL HIGHER EDUCATION ACTION PLAN (2020). inspiring HIGHER EDUCATION TRANSFORMATION: file:///C:/Users/NEXUS/Downloads/Documents/Malaysia_Education%20Action%20Plan%20Phase%202.pdf
  37. Trencher, G., Yarime, M., McCormick, K. B., Doll, C. N., & Kraines, S. B. (2013). Beyond the third mission: Exploring the emerging university function of co-creation for sustainability. Science & Public Policy, 41(2), 151-179.‏
  38. world population review (2019). https://worldpopulationreview.com/
  39. Yousefi, Hadi; Asadbeigi, Mohammad & Haji Khajelu, Rashid (2020). Deriving the criteria for promoting the rank of faculty members through the application of a comparative study of selected universities. Quarterly Journal of Research & Planning in Higher Education, 25 (4) [in Persian].