Creating a Culture of Aspiration: Higher Education, Human Capital and Social Change

John Aubrey Douglass
2010 Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences  
In the United States, developing human capital for both economic and social benefits is an idea as old as the nation itself and led to the world's first mass higher education system. Now most other nations are racing to expand access to universities and colleges and to expand their role in society. Higher education will grow markedly in its importance for building a culture of aspiration and, in turn, the formation of human capital, the promotion of social economic mobility, and for determining
more » ... and for determining national economic competitiveness. This essay briefly discusses the vital role of human capital for national economies, past and future. It also examines the public and private benefits of higher education, the effort of nation-states, and region, to build a culture of aspiration, and the convergence of approaches towards building a "Structured Opportunity Market" in higher education. Increasingly institutions and developed and developing nations, and, in some cases, supranational entities such as the European Union, will move to most if not all of the components of the Structure Opportunity Market; those that don't will be compelled to offer in both domestic and international forums a rational reason why they are not adopting some aspects of the model. The paper concludes with a few observations on the emerging and growing higher education system in China.
doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2010.05.050 fatcat:shkxor7s6jfqrczxadv5ge5i2u