The Higher Education section of Bloomsbury Education and Childhood Studies refers to formal tertiary- or postsecondary-level education that leads to some form of workforce training, licensure, certification, or degree. Higher education has changed over time, where access was traditionally limited to only an elite few, it has now reached massification level in many countries and universal in some (such as South Korea and Taiwan). Workforce demands require individuals to be skilled and job-ready, and often determine what qualifications are required within specific higher education disciplines and fields of study.
There are different types of higher education training available to students, including technical and vocational education training, application-oriented training, continuing education, and adult education. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) defines higher education based on its ISCED 2011 classification, with various levels of training. Programs at ISCED level 6, or bachelor’s, undergraduate, or equivalent level, are generally longer and more theoretically oriented than ISCED level 5 programs. They are often designed to provide participants with intermediate academic and/or professional knowledge, skills, and competencies, leading to a first degree or equivalent qualification. They are traditionally offered by universities and equivalent tertiary educational institutions. Programs classified at ISCED level 6 may be referred to in many ways, for example: bachelor’s program, licence, or first university cycle. For international comparability purposes, the term “Bachelor’s or equivalent level” is used to label ISCED level 6.
Programs at ISCED level 7, or master’s, graduate, or equivalent level, have a significantly more complex content than programs at ISCED level 6 and are usually more specialized. The content of ISCED level 7 programs is often designed to provide participants with advanced academic and/or professional knowledge, skills, and competencies, leading to a second degree or equivalent qualification. Programs at this level may have a substantial research component but do not yet lead to the award of a doctoral qualification. The cumulative duration of studies at the higher education level thus lasts from usually four to eight years or even longer. Programs classified at ISCED level 7 may be referred to in many ways, for example: master programs or magister studies. For international comparability purposes, the term “Master’s or equivalent level” is used to label ISCED level 7.
W. James Jacob is currently Vice President of Innovation and International at Collaborative Brain Trust (CBT), USA. He has held several senior higher education leadership positions, including Professor and Chairperson at the University of Memphis Department of Leadership and as a leadership faculty member and Director of the Institute for International Studies in Education at the University of Pittsburgh. He is a results-oriented senior manager and researcher specializing in strategic planning, quality assurance, professional development, community engagement, and change management. He is the coeditor of two book series related to the development of comparative, international, and development education (CIDE) scholarship: International and Development Education and Pittsburgh Studies in Comparative and International Education. He has written extensively on CIDE topics with an emphasis on higher education.
Weiyan Xiong is a research assistant professor at Lingnan University, Hong Kong. He was awarded his PhD in Higher Education Management from the University of Pittsburgh School of Education in 2018. From 2013 to 2017, he served as the Senior Program Coordinator of the Institute for International Studies in Education, University of Pittsburgh. He also served as a visiting student researcher at UC Berkeley’s Myers Center for Research on Native American Issues. His research interests include indigenous higher education, comparative and international education, faculty professional development, and higher education management. He holds a master’s degree in Higher Education from Peking University, China.