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Written on 14-Dec-2015 by Fidel A. Captain. Revised 21-Apr-2016.

Abstract

This paper recommends measures that can be taken by Guyana, and most other developing countries, to ensure that its citizens have quality, affordable, and equally available post-secondary education. It does so by examining the state of post-secondary education in developing countries and in Guyana, describing applicable systems for quality assurance and institutional effectiveness in post-secondary education, and discussing the future of post-secondary education in developing countries. Recommendations are then made for a holistic approach to achieving quality education in developing countries through a prudent national ‘education for development’ policy, a community college, quality assurance mechanisms and institutional effectiveness mechanisms.

Introduction

The number of students worldwide enrolled in post-secondary (tertiary) education reached 170 million in 2009 and is expected to grow to at 1.4% per year between 2011 and 2020 to almost 200 million (British Council 4-5). One estimate says that the number of students worldwide will be 269 million by 2025 with a more than 3% average annual growth in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Central America and South America over the preceding 20-year period (Maslen). This means that worldwide there will continue to be a great demand for post-secondary education both by developed and developing countries.

Guyana, an English-speaking developing country in South America, has functioning elements of its post-secondary education structure that will help to meet the increased local demand for post-secondary education. However, the elements necessary for a quality 21st century post-secondary education are missing, such as a national ‘education for development’ policy and/or policy framework, proper quality assurance mechanisms, institutional effectiveness mechanisms and a community college.

This paper first examines the current state of post-secondary education in developing countries and Guyana and then it describes what constitutes quality post-secondary education, followed by a discussion on the future of post-secondary education in developing countries. Finally, recommendations are made that can be put in place by Guyana, and most other developing countries, to ensure that its citizens have quality, affordable and equally available post-secondary education. Four recommendations are made that take a holistic approach to achieving quality education in developing countries including Guyana. This four-pronged approach to achieving quality post-secondary education focuses on: i) policy, ii) quality assurance and assessment, iii) institutional effectiveness, and iv) community college development.