The Giants Awake: The Present and Future of Higher Education Systems in China and India


  • Philip Altbach Center for International Higher Education, Boston College (CIHE)



Higher Education, China, India


China and India are now the largest and third largest academic systems in the world—the United States is second. They are growing rapidly—much of the global enrolment expansion between now and 2050 will be in just these two countries.  China enrolls around 22 percent of the age cohort and India only 10 percent—thus there is much room for growth. Both India and China continue to the largest “exporters” of students—mainly to the large English-speaking academic systems. Each country has had a different approach to higher education development. India has failed to build top quality universities—only the Indian Institutes of Technology are recognized as “world class” institutions—and these are small and specialized. Most of India’s energy has gone into provide access to students. China, on the other hand, has in the past two decades devoted much effort and funding to building a top tier of research universities and now has a dozen or more successful institutions that are beginning to compete successfully globally. Both countries have growing private higher education sectors, and both face considerable challenges as they try to serve a growing demand for access.


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Author Biography

Philip Altbach, Center for International Higher Education, Boston College (CIHE)

Doctor por la University of Chicago. Ocupa la cátedra J. Donald Monan, S. J. y dirige el Center for International Higher Education en Lynch School of Education, Boston College. Ha sido socio senior de la Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching y se ha desempeñado como editor de Review of Higher Education, Comparative Education Review y de Educational Policy. Preside el Consejo Asesor Internacional de la Escuela de Posgrados en Educación en la Universidad de Shanghái Jiao Tong y es Profesor Invitado del Instituto de Educación Superior de la Universidad de Pekín en la República Popular China.



How to Cite

Altbach, P. (2014). The Giants Awake: The Present and Future of Higher Education Systems in China and India. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 22, 46.



Revista de Política Educativa