Blackboard Releases Report on Globalisation & Higher Education

New Challenges, Opportunities for Institutions are Highlighted

Blackboard Inc. (NASDAQ: BBBB), a leading provider of educational enterprise technology, released a report today on major challenges and opportunities facing institutions of higher education in a time of globalisation, suggesting that they must innovate and adapt to more effectively meet new political and economic needs.

The report suggests that as higher education is increasingly linked to national and regional economic competitiveness and growth, it has become a high level priority and imperative for governments worldwide, consistent with other major policy priorities.

As a result, institutions of higher education now face intense pressure to improve access, engagement, and outcomes for students-while ensuring high quality and greater transparency-at a time when rising demand across the globe has far outstripped investments in higher education. From 1990 through 2002 alone, worldwide higher education enrollment increased from over 68 million to more than 110 million, according to the report, which is based on interviews with higher education leaders, international experts and national policymakers around the world.

Many institutions are responding with innovative, but often isolated, approaches to increase access and efficiency, according to the report. In addition to highlighting these approaches, the report aims to provide a broad range of leaders and stakeholders with a better understanding of strategies that can help to address the effects of globalisation in ways that extend across institutions and borders.

The report was released at BbWorld Europe® '08 in Manchester, England, where report author Gordon Freedman, Vice President Education Strategy at Blackboard, noted that great strides are being made in the United Kingdom and elsewhere to develop government policies to coordinate reform efforts more closely with higher education leadership and employers.

"Globalisation has transformed nations, markets and economies, and now poses a threat-and an opportunity-to institutions of higher education that have not kept up with the pace of change," said Freedman. "As institutions adjust to new economic realities and the demands of new generations of students, they must work to deliver high quality services in more affordable ways to be successful."

The report focuses on five core challenges faced by most institutions worldwide and provides eight critical responses to those challenges that offer institutions and governments a common path toward greater academic success in the 21st century. The report also outlines steps that some institutions are taking to respond to new demands from employers, students and economies, including:

- The strategic use of technology across and beyond academic programmes;
- The use of communication and community building tools to improve student engagement within and across institutions and regions; and
- The development of systems to better monitor and improve institutional assessment and accountability.

However, the report notes that these efforts must be more systematic and involve a broader range of stakeholders-governments, employers, and others-in order to fully address the demands of the global economy. "Institutions will need to develop the expertise to be leaders in the knowledge economy, not just to react to pressures for change," Freedman said at BbWorld, where more than 350 senior education leaders, academics and managers from across Europe, the Middle East and Africa gathered to share ideas on best practices and innovative breakthroughs in education technology.

The complete report, Education Imperative Core Challenges and Critical Responses, is available at For additional information and perspective please see Gordon Freedman's Policy and Innovation Blog at For more information on BbWorld Europe, please visit
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