THE PROMINENCE OF THE NAPOLEONIC MODEL OF HIGHER EDUCATION IN THE KNOWLEDGE ECONOMY
Drawn on a historical analysis of the main pillars of modern higher education systems which are globally diffused and transcend international boundaries (Clark 1983; Ben-David 1977; Fox and Weisz 1980), professional higher education, thus higher education for employment and direct application is identified as a French historical model of thinking the role of higher education which was remarkably fostered from the era of Napoleon. In this article we examine how the professional model of thinking the role of higher education addresses and incorporates other models which perceived the roles of higher education in the modern society similarly or differently. The analyses led to the identification of ten models with related roles on the basis of which a questionnaire composed of thirty two questions was administered to teachers and students of higher education management. The first observation that results from the desktop review on the history of the French model of higher education is a dominant transition from structural to programmatic professionalization, whereby professionalization which was a function of specialised establishments is becoming the function and mission of all academic programmes. This pattern is discernible in France itself or within the French model overseas, the case herein of Cameroon. A main result of the study is that although professionalization remains prominent and indeed a priority, it only covers about half of the roles of higher education some of which could address some of the objectives aimed at in professionalization policies and strategies. We also conclude that recent changes in the higher education landscape have brought into lime light, alternative models which call on a change in perspectives about the role of higher education and changes in professionalization strategies. This is the case of the knowledge and learning economy models which may suggest the importance of professionalization tackling employability capacities through learning, problem solving and other survival approaches rather being limited to employment and direct application.
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