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“Massification” continues to transform higher education

University World News   2 September 2012

Higher education participation and enrolment has expanded considerably over the past century, and particularly since 1970. However, growth predicted over the 30 years from 2000-30 is likely to be higher than that experienced between 1970 and 2000. The number of students enrolled in higher education by 2030 is forecast to rise from 99.4 million in 2000 to 414.2 million in 2030 – an increase of 314%.

If an extra five years is added to these projections, the number of students pursuing higher education by 2035 is likely to exceed 520 million.

This growth is being fuelled by the transformation that we are witnessing in the developing and emerging regions and countries of the world – a growth that will only accelerate in the next decades.

The East Asia and the Pacific region is expected to exceed enrolments of 100 million students between 2020 and 2021 and to exceed enrolments of 200 million between 2033 and 2034.  By 2035, 42% of global enrolments (or 212.9 million enrolments) will be from this region, a sharp contrast to the 25% proportion it attained back in 2000.

China will remain the country in the world with the highest number of students enrolled in higher education by 2035 (anywhere between 20% and 30% of the world’s total).  Other countries projected to have large numbers of enrolments by 2035 are Indonesia (world’s top 10), and Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines (all three in the world’s top 20).

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