The Rise of Private Higher Education in Jamaica: Neo-Liberalism at WorkReport as inadecuate

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Bulgarian Comparative Education Society, Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Bulgarian Comparative Education Society (10th, Kyustendil, Bulgaria, Jun 12-15, 2012)

The rise of private higher education in Jamaica plays a key role in expanding educational access to the masses. The shift towards the neo-liberal perspective has directed the focus of education policy reforms toward emphasizing economic efficiency, diversity in choice, and market mechanisms. The purpose of this qualitative study was to gain insight, from the perspective of high level administrators at four local private higher education institutions in Jamaica, on why private higher education institutions have flourished as key providers of Jamaican higher education, how these institutions facilitate access to higher education, and to what extent private institutions contribute to achieving Jamaica's higher education goals. The researcher utilized a holistic, multiple-case study design. Methods employed in this study included face-to-face individual interviews, document analysis, and site visits to private higher education institutions in Jamaica. Human capital theory was used as an analytical lens to examine the extent to which the neoliberal framework is appropriate for understanding how higher education is unfolding in Jamaica. This paper focuses on the general conclusions of the research, which suggest that Jamaican private higher education institutions serve to challenge the status quo by providing access to members of the society who had been marginalized by the public higher education system. [For complete volume, see ED567040.]

Descriptors: Foreign Countries, Privatization, Higher Education, Neoliberalism, Educational Change, Access to Education, Case Studies, Interviews, Human Capital, Educational Trends, Trend Analysis

Bulgarian Comparative Education Society. Blvd Shipchenski prohod 69 A, 1574 Sofia, Bulgaria. e-mail: info[at]; Web site:

Author: Coates, Chad O.


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