Geographical and Institutional Decentralisation

Part of the Higher Education Dynamics book series (HEDY, volume 27)

In Western Europe, the expansion of the organisational field of post-secondary education outside universities has been characterised by the establishment of a large number of schools in cities, towns, and local communities throughout each country. This development can be described as two interrelated decentralisation processes: geographical decentralisation, which means that higher education spreads to regions and local communities outside the traditional university cities, and institutional decentralisation, which means that higher education spreads to institutions outside the traditional universities (Kyvik 1983). These processes were enhanced in the 1960s, when regional political issues acquired increased attention in many countries, and the mapping of higher education institutions and programmes was drawn into this debate.

On the basis of the general literature on this subject, we may distinguish between three principal reasons for geographical decentralisation. First, in all countries, and at least up to the 1980s, strong arguments were raised in favour of establishing a dispersed pattern of post-secondary educational institutions in order to improve opportunities for access to higher education through geographic proximity to schools and colleges. Second, many pointed to the need for skilled labour in the various regions and that this need could be covered partly by setting up more educational institutions in each region. Finally, the establishment of post-secondary schools and colleges throughout the country has been regarded as a means of improving economic, social, and cultural conditions in local communities and nonurban regions (Furth 1992).


High Education Teacher Training Professional School College Sector Teacher Training College 
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© Springer Science + Business Media B.V 2009

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