Christopher S. Collins is currently Associate Professor, at the Department of Higher Education, Azusa Pacific University, in California. Collins travels globally to give talks and lectures on higher education, and networks with academics to determine increasingly effective solutions to tertiary problems. His global travels include talks and consultancy on the issue of higher education, and on issues pertinent to high education.
Global wealth is concentrated less and less in factories, land, tools, and machinery. The knowledge, skills, and resourcefulness of people are increasingly critical to the world economy. Human capital in the United States is now estimated to be at least three times more important than physical capital. The developed world is reacting quickly, with education a major political priority. High quality human capital is developed in high quality education systems, with tertiary education providing the advanced skills that command a premium in today’s workplace. Most developed countries have seen a substantial rise in the proportion of their young people receiving higher education. Lifelong learning is also being used to help workers adjust to rapidly changing economies. And what about developing countries?
Will they be able to compete in the knowledge economy or do they face a future of increasing exclusion. Today, more than ever before in human history, the wealth—or poverty—of nations depends on the quality of higher education.Those with a larger repertoire of skills and a greater capacity for learning can look forward to lifetimes of unprecedented economic fulfillment. In the coming decades the poorly educated face little better than the dreary prospects of lives of quiet desperation. Malcolm Gillis, President of Rice University, 12 February 1999 skills required for the twenty-first century? This challenge is well understood by most residents of the developing world. President Benjamin W. Mkapa of Tanzania, for example, is concerned that higher education in Africa is becoming increasingly obsolete.