Education Impact Study: The Global Recession and the Capacity of Colleges and Universities to Serve Vulnerable Populations in Asia

Author: 
Gerard Postiglione
Description: 
ADBI Working Paper Series
JEL codes: 
Abstract: 
This paper reviews the capacity of colleges and universities to serve poor and vulnerable populations during past and present economic shocks. The main argument is that the environment of the global recessionan Asia far more economically integrated than during past economic shocks, with more unified aspirations to be globally competitive and socially responsibleneed not delay reforms in higher education. In fact, the global recession is an opportune time for higher education in the Asia and Pacific region to continue reforming governance and administration, access and equity, internal and external efficiency, and regional collaboration. This paper proposes a series of measures to increase the resilience of higher education systems in serving poor and vulnerable populations during the economic recession. These measures include: (i) tuition assistance, subsidies, and loans; (ii) information and guidance for first-generation college students on choosing appropriate programs of study; (iii) community-based vocational and technical higher education that provides jobs in a rapidly changing labor market; (iv) innovative forms of cost sharing between public and private institutions of higher education; (v) resource decisions made on the basis of performance-based objectives; (vi) intensification of philanthropic culture that provides scholarships for poor students; (vii) upgrading of research about problems confronting poor communities; and (viii) regional strategies across the Asia and Pacific region for closer instructional program collaboration among colleges and universities