African Journal of
Business Management

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Bus. Manage.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1993-8233
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJBM
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 4193

Full Length Research Paper

The impact of globalisation on higher education: Achieving a balance between local and global needs and realities

Marius Meyer1, Melanie Bushney2 and Wilfred I. Ukpere1*
1Department of Industrial Psychology and People Management, University of Johannesburg, Republic of South Africa. 2Department of Human Resources Management, University of South Africa, Republic of South Africa.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 08 April 2011
  •  Published: 04 August 2011


The business world has changed dramatically over the last decade to address the reality of globalisation in the sphere of business. However, most universities have remained intact as local universities servicing local needs of citizens studying at their closest universities. For instance, a small number of universities have managed to attract students from other provinces, countries and regions.  The question arises: to what extent have universities in South Africa embraced to the reality of globalisation? Are higher education institutions preparing students to work globally, or do they still function as institutions operating with a local mindset for a local market? Although South African universities have been widely criticised for not producing graduates meeting the needs of the local economy, these institutions are now challenged to prepare students for global markets. Only one local university achieved a ranking in the top hundred universities in the world according to the latest international ranking of universities. This reality poses several challenges for universities, for example, globalising curriculum to meet global needs and realities, as well as sourcing more academics from different parts of the world to infuse a global focus in the development and delivery of a global curriculum. Similarly, local universities are expected to play a key role in the socio-economic transformation of South Africa, while being challenged to meet international standards. This dichotomy places severe strain on the resources of universities, of which many may not be ready to compete globally, especially in the light of the rapid growth of private higher education, and big business, resorting to corporate universities to meet their needs. This paper seeks to determine the impact of globalisation on higher education with specific recommendations for achieving a balance between global and local higher education needs and realities.


Key words: Tertiary education, global curriculum, corporate universities, international standards, local.