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Education Policy and Leadership


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International Journal of Innovation and Economic Development
Volume 7, Issue 6, February 2022, Pages 14-23

Education Policy and Leadership

DOI: 10.18775/ijied.1849-7551-7020.2015.76.2002
URL: https://doi.org/10.18775/ijied.1849-7551-7020.2015.76.2002

1Sarkhan Jafarov, 2 Yusif Aliyev

1,2 Guba branch of Azerbaijan State Pedagogical University, Guba, Azerbaijan

Abstract: There are several approaches in the world to determining the criteria for assessing a state’s education policy. But despite the differences, they all document the growing role of modern universities in the development of society. In many respects it is important both in terms of guaranteeing the sustainability of society and in terms of ensuring a breakthrough direction in its development. In contrast to recent times, this role has grown significantly. Due to the fairly conservative and limited social system in its function, such universities become a central link in the development of innovative economies and social spheres – the science that produces the socio-economic development of a particular region, Education, innovation centers, national or as well as global processes.

In University 3.0, the third mission (innovation and commercialization of knowledge) is considered as important as the first two (education and science). Therefore, such universities in the knowledge economy become an instrument for economic growth and they trade closely with companies and governments. In other words, the scientific activity of a university is no longer “self”. It aims to produce results that can be sold (commercialized), used externally and introduced into production.

Around the world, states are trying to stimulate and support these processes. In many countries, this is facilitated by opposition from high-tech companies to the reduction of the final amount of independent basic and applied research, in favor of collaborating with universities on basic research projects.

As part of its innovative activities, University 3.0 is involved in supporting business activities, analysis and consultation by experts from local governments and local authorities, opening facilities, infrastructure for citizens, monitoring regional development, services to citizens are provided for lifelong learning and support student entrepreneurship projects that take into account the interests of the community.

The university model of the regional innovation system suggests that universities play a fundamental role in the interactive innovation process. In this model, the university is a major producer of knowledge that can act as a link between innovation and production at the regional level.

Keywords: Educational policy, University 3.0, Leadership, Lifelong learning

1. Introduction

In a highly competitive and rapidly changing environment, modern universities respond not only to internal problems, but also to the extent to which they respond to and influence environmental changes. The implementation of these provisions is possible on the basis of a strategic approach to university management, which can be traced in the educational policy of the state and provides leadership.

The advantages of educational policy in the implementation of strategic planning: the ability to determine the direction of development of the university. This provides the coherence and coordination required for administrative action, the ability to instill confidence and a solid foundation in university staff in the face of ever-increasing uncertainty in the future, to shape the institution’s uniqueness, consolidate the university community, attract new resources and increase the university’s competitiveness in many ways.

One of the key characteristics of the conditions under which a strategic plan for the development of educational institutions is implemented within the framework of educational policy and leadership is ensured is the uncertainty of the external environment and the reaction of large companies as competitors to the behavior of an educational organization.

Strategic planning in the field of education is a means of determining the main direction of development of the education system. By concentrating limited resources in key areas, the interests of stakeholders such as students, alumni-employers, funding structures, and internal stakeholders such as faculty and staff are enhanced.

2. Purpose and Objectives

One of the tasks of the education policy of any state is the spread of its influence in the international arena. Today, universities are striving to take and strengthen their positions in the world ranking systems, demonstrating the status and reputation of universities in the global market of educational services. This ranking serves as a guideline for future students and their parents when choosing a place to receive a prestigious education and in the formation of individual trajectories of vocational training.

The analytical data obtained indicate the effective role of the “soft power” of education, but it is emphasized that this tool works only in the long term. A number of conclusions are drawn about the barriers that world universities face on the way to their recognition as world leaders of higher professional education. It is possible to achieve quick victories and enter the Top 500 of the best universities in the world, but it is unlikely that it will be possible to stay on the prestigious list if there is no permanent growth of indicators for several years, which cannot be imitated. A world-class university must attract talented youth, qualified faculty and academics. The decline in the concentration of talent and research results leads to the loss of the educational organization of the geopolitical mission. Insufficient funding can also hinder a breakthrough and sustainable increase in the reputation of universities.

Therefore, a significant proportion of domestic universities claim to be highly competitive in their higher education systems facing the following strategic top priorities:

  1. At the level of national and internationally competitive research universities in various pioneering scientific disciplines focused on solving global problems related to answering key societal challenges. In these areas, we ensure high publishing activity and the effectiveness of scientific research in the form of a portfolio of know-how that has the potential for implementation and commercialization, and we ensure constant reproduction of staff in new forms.
  2. Form an ecosystem of university innovation and entrepreneurship. It requires 1) a unique and specialized infrastructure for the development of innovation, 2) a system of interaction of world universities, scientific organizations, companies, investors and innovation Support center, etc.).

The direction of the future 4.0 university model presupposes the potential for integration of universities and their social mission, and a significant increase in the formation of the university as a large-scale multifunctional ecosystem.

3. Methodology and Approach

Many researchers (Abankina I. V., Belikov A. A., Gaponova O. S., Dudyrev F. F., Koreshnikova Yu. N., Korshunov I. A., et al.) react to mass differentiation in post-secondary education around the world. Does government support from some large universities have a broad impact on the higher education system? This is academic. Leadership programs often wreak havoc on a country’s higher education system. The large amount of resources allocated to small groups of universities leads to the emergence of new elite groups that are privileged by other universities. In addition to financial incentives, universities in the elite group are beginning to attract the intellectual potential of other universities, especially regional universities, at both faculty and student levels. The experiences of China and Japan show the same picture.

Consequently, the overall impact of the initiative on the highest quality of universities may be less obvious than it would be if a direct comparison were made between universities included in this initiative and universities with equivalent characteristics that are not part of the initiative.

4. Findings and Result

For more than a decade, the United States has been using the education mechanism to spread its influence in the world. And, as it seems, including this factor, along with the factor of military leadership, is the reason for the current leadership of the United States in the world arena. In this regard, it is extremely important to analyze the strategic directions of the development of education in the United States in the context of its use as a “soft power”, as well as to identify specific mechanisms that allow this state to achieve the most effective results from this use.

According to a number of domestic experts, the US educational policy in the world today can be considered one of the most successful. So, G.Yu. Filimonov writes: “Thanks to its planetary reach, the educational policy of the United States has become an effective method of“soft power”that allows to form the world political, economic, intellectual and military elite, faithful to the dogmas of liberal democracy and market economy in the American way” (Filimonov, 2012). At the same time, as E.I. Usacheva, “it is believed that the elite trained through these educational programs will influence the policy of their (democratic) country, making it more beneficial for the United States, while immigrants from“non-democratic”countries will be prepared as new opposition leaders and activists “(Usacheva, 2016).

As the author of the concept of “soft power” J. Nye himself notes, countries such as the United States are well aware that education is one of the most important tools for achieving dominance in the world political arena in the long term (Nye, 2018). In addition, according to J. Nye, colleges and universities can help raise the level of discussion and promotion of American foreign policy (Nye, 2018). As a result, in his works, J. Nye argues that the main assets of the United States in strengthening and expanding “soft power” are two instruments directly related to education: international exchange programs and the attractiveness factor of American higher education.

Undoubtedly, the educational programs that this state implements around the world are a serious instrument of the US “soft power”. As former US Secretary of State J. Schultz noted, educational policy can be compared to “gardening”, because in the course of its implementation, “seeds of ideas and ideals”, “aesthetic and political guidelines “(Schultz, 2017).

The bulk of American educational exchange programs are implemented on the basis of the Fulbright-Hacy Act (Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961). According to P. McGill Peterson, the Fulbright Program, sponsored by the US Department of State, is an excellent example of public diplomacy promoted through higher education. Its main goal is to foster mutual understanding between people and nations, and this program has always been “a mixture of government and people generated by” soft power. ” The program today claims to be the largest movement of students and scholars around the world that any country has ever sponsored. It is often referred to by government officials as one of the greatest diplomatic assets in the United States”(Mcgill Peterson, 2014).

It should be noted that in addition to the Fulbright Program, a number of similar programs operate in the USA, the most famous and significant of which are: Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellows Summer Institute Program, Hubert H. Humphrey Program, Edmund S. Muskie Program, Future Leaders Exchange, Global UGRAD Program and several others. These programs have a different focus and are designed for different categories of students and different regions.

According to L. Savin, if we talk about American “soft power”, then education, in this case, is not only a system of colleges, institutes and universities where American youth is trained, but also state programs for foreign students, education and training of American citizens abroad, grants through civil society, the massive diffusion of American educational and research centers in other countries, and interagency coordination of law enforcement agencies (Savin, 2015).

Recently, public diplomacy has become more relevant in the EU strategy and strategic documents. In the Program, which defines the Partnership Instrument for Cooperation with Third Countries, for the period 2014-2020. the term “public diplomacy” is mentioned at least three times. Despite the fact that the term itself does not receive decoding, nevertheless, it becomes clear from the document that it means activities to disseminate knowledge and increase the level of recognition of the European Union, promote its values and interests (Partnership Instrument, 2018).

Before talking about education as an instrument of European “soft power”, we believe it is necessary to clarify how the European Union understands the term itself, and what content it puts into it. As noted by the domestic researcher P.I. Kasatkin, “European approaches to understanding“soft power”deserve special attention” (Kasatkin, 2018).

Thus, Europe already in the 1970s. realized the potential of “soft power”, with the help of which it could restore its position in the world arena. But in the second half of the 20th century, in the conditions of the Cold War and the absence of unified European proto-state structures and mechanisms, such concepts could be purely theoretical in nature. After the collapse of the USSR and the beginning of the active construction of a single political European space, which found its organizational form within the European Union, the united Europe again returned to the idea of using “soft power”, but now to achieve its exclusive interests in a multipolar world.

M. Hauer-Tyukarkina believes that the European Union has many different “platforms” for realizing the potential of “soft power”. As one of them, he defines the organizational and programmatic platform, which includes education: “Organizational and programmatic platform – all target audiences Educational and cultural programs Leonardo Da Vinci, Erasmus, Sokrates, Youth in Action, etc. EUNIC (The European Union National Institutes for Culture) – Association of cultural institutions of the European Union countries that carry out educational programs abroad. For example, the members of the Association are such world-famous cultural organizations as the Goethe Institute (Germany), the Cervantes Institute (Spain), the British Council (Great Britain), etc. The purpose of the Association is to promote European states in third countries, popularize European languages” (Hauer-Tyukarkina, 2015).

Investments in science are quite promising for solving many problems. S. Marginson notes that the degree of success in research activities determines the value of the university “brand” even at the level of the bachelor’s education market (Marginson, 2019).

Figure 1: Expenditures of the BRICS countries on education and R&D (Poyrazli& Lopez, 2020)

Let’s assess the level of accessibility of higher education in BRICS countries (Figure 2).

Figure 2: Number of students, including foreign students,students in universities of the BRICS countries

Figures include only universities ranked in the QS World University Rankings 2020.

Academic achievement programs in world practice have existed since the late 2000s. It aims to increase the global competitiveness of the country’s higher education system by creating a group of higher education institutions in the country that are in line with the best universities in the world and / or in quality. In several countries, the state has launched projects aimed at forming a group of world-class universities. For example, the German Academic Excellence Initiative began in 2006, the Polish and French initiatives in 2011, and the Spanish programming period 2009–2014. Considering the foreign experience of conducting academic programs, one should pay attention to China.

In the mid to late 1990s, China embarked on a program to establish an international university. Project 211 was launched in 1995 and Project 985 was added in 1998. These projects set the task of developing talented elite specialists and bringing a certain number of major Chinese universities to international rankings. The objectives of the implementation of these projects are the development of scientific directions, the development and implementation of new technologies at the universities selected to participate in the program, and the creation of innovative research centers on their basis.

In 2015, China announced “Double First Class”, the largest education development program. It aims to raise global awareness of China’s university system by 2049 (to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China). The list of implementation plans, universities and disciplines was published in 2017. China’s exceptional programs are enormous. Usually more than 100 universities are involved instead of 10 or 20.

Australia’s current national strategy is to increase the number of students pursuing higher education abroad by 72,025. Australia is well positioned to meet this ambitious goal and is promoting educational services to the global marketplace with a program that generates interest in national tourism and one package that is very different from programs that recruit students from other regions. We have a marketing program. The Korean and Japanese programs were launched in 1999 and 2002, respectively, and are based on close collaboration between American and British universities and research institutions to guarantee academic freedom and promote internationalization.

Japanese Top Global University Project (2014–2023) Includes two plans. Plan A strives for high positions in the world university rankings. Plan B aims to introduce Japanese society to the globalization process. Key criteria in terms of the program include institutional reforms in terms of leadership, management, structure, curriculum, and student recruitment.

The BK21 PLUS program complex in Korea (21 programs for large universities and students) is focused on updating the research potential of universities and training world-class specialists.

Very professional scientific activity. The country also has world-class university projects. The point is trying to create economic value through promotion.

Pay universities with global information and smart grids to ensure competitiveness and internationalization in higher education. Participating universities have the opportunity to strengthen their research capabilities in strategic areas, strengthen their role in the international arena and establish world-class chapters and centers.

Israel has also organized its own path with the Center of Excellence. This is an association of outstanding researchers in the narrow field of teaching knowledge in higher education institutions. The center promotes innovative research (I-CORE, 2010, SEPISGZ for Research Research) and brings together research efforts to make the country more visible in the scientific landscape of the world.

In Germany, the Academic Excellence Program aims to strengthen the cutting-edge research needed to increase competition in the high-tech industry. Germany’s strategic improvement program aims to strengthen Germany’s position as the best location for long-term research and to expand its international presence.

The program aims to fund competitive, internationally oriented research projects based on universities as well as university consortia, promote priority areas of university activities, and create training courses and career opportunities for young researchers. Germany also has good connections with universities (along with Finland and Israel). In these countries, funds are channeled to thematic clusters. So it’s easy to judge success. Nobody else compares sports colleges, elementary colleges, or drama colleges.

In Finland and Sweden, where the Center for Academic Excellence was established, attention and budget are focused on supporting and developing the strongest university units, rather than on general university development programs for universities. And here it is also important to note the importance of cooperation and integration with the global academic community.

In European countries there are very strong ties between universities and exchange between universities is especially beneficial. For example, in Norway with many joint scientific grants and funding from the European programs Erasmus + (exchange of radiation subjects and teachers) and Horizon 2020 (exchange of scientists from different parts of the world).

In France, the Law on Higher Education and Research was adopted in 2013, and since 2015, universities have been integrated with research institutes through three mechanisms: mergers and expansion, and the creation of a community of universities and institutes.

The Spanish government has also launched an excellent program that replicates previous initiatives developed in Germany (Excellence Initiative 2006-2012) and France (PRES). 2006, 2008, Operations Campus, 2008) and the United Kingdom (New University Challenge, 2008). This program has helped create joint projects and student groups that support collaboration in the so-called “knowledge triangle” (science, innovation, education). The International Excellence Initiative has helped establish links with local governments, companies and other political and economic forces to obtain financial and administrative support in Spain.

Pan-European short-term and long-term alliances have also been created. The Coimbra Group Universities, established since 1985, unite 39 universities from 23 countries. The expansion of university units will increase the influence of universities participating in the international arena, as well as their weight and importance.

Traditional contacts have been established, large-scale educational projects have been implemented, and individual universities have learned about them. Due to membership in the alliance, the number of alliance members in the world has increased, and the university is a kind of “brand” of Coimbra.

As part of the European University Initiative in 2019, the European Commission selected 22% of the approximately 1,000 universities in the European Union. They have formed 17 university alliances from 24 countries. By 2024, there should be about 20 so-called “European universities”. It is a network of universities across the EU, where students can take one or two semesters of study at different universities and at different levels of education.

The United States also has academic leadership programs and initiatives. The American Center of Excellence in Education (CEE), a private nonprofit organization, helps college students achieve successful careers in science and technology and take leadership positions.

Table 1: Comparison of different academic programs by countries

Indicator / country Germany France PRC South Korea
Strategy name Superiority strategy (Exzellenzstrategie) Excellence Initiatives and Science – Innovation – Territories – Project Double growth of first class universities (Double First Class / First Class 2.0) World Class Universities Project
Terms of implementation 2019-2025 Economy “(Initiative d’Excellence (IDEX) / Initiatives Science – Innovation – Territoires – Economie (I-SITE)) 2017-2050 2020-2027 (Phase 4 Brain Korea 21)
Goal and tasks Strengthening Germany’s position in the international research arena and strengthening global competitiveness through the support of cutting-edge scientific 2020-2025 (PIA4 program) Providing support to leading Chinese universities, as well as the development of priority scientific disciplines with the aim of joining China Enhancing the competitiveness of Korean higher education, economics and industry in interdisciplinary areas
Total funding by track – Clusters of Excellence (funding the most relevant research) 2.7 billion euros; The goal of the IDEX program is to form in France from 5 to 10 interdisciplinary research and educational centers of the world level – “World Class Universities”; – creation of new faculties and student training programs;
Number of participants – “Universities of excellence” (strengthening the position of German universities in the international arena) 1 billion euros. – IDEX: support for territorial associations of higher education institutions. – “World Class Disciplines”. – attraction of foreign researchers;


Thus, Western universities are characterized by extensive internationalization, which, from the point of view of the International Education Association, is perhaps the most important criterion for success.

It covers all areas of the university, from cooperation with students to financial and scientific activities. A prime example of such an association is the International Strategy Advisory Service (ISAS 2.0) of the International Association of Universities or Universities (IAU).

5. Conclusion and Recommendation

In the period of society’s transition from industrial to post-industrial, information age, universities are undergoing especially profound transformations that involve their institutional changes. Experts identify five main models of universities that exist now and are likely to persist in the future (Table 2):

Table 2: Five models of universities of the present and the future

University models Characteristics
The elite university universities with a strong global brand, significant endowment, rich centuries-old history and world-class professors.
The mass university universities that will provide quality education for the growing “middle class” around the world.
The niche university universities with a narrow specialization that have managed to take their place in the international division of intellectual labor and become world leaders in certain areas of research or education.
The local university universities that play a key role in the development of the economy at the city or regional level.
The lifelong learning mechanisms a new form of higher education that will allow you to study various study modules provided by both educational institutions and specialized companies, without visiting any one university.


In the modern world, the importance of education as the most important factor in the formation of a new quality of the economy and society is increasing along with the growing influence of human capital. Third generation universities are shaping entrepreneurial ecosystems, promisingtechnological markets and ensure the global competitiveness of the domestic economy.


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