Opening Up Trade in Higher Education

A role for GATS?

J. R. Shackleton

Published: December 2003

Internationalisation of higher education is too often treated as an issue for universities and national governments alone. The expansion of trade in HE services is part of a wider picture. The demand for liberalisation of world trade in all types of services has led to the creation of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). This article outlines the GATS processes, notes the scale of trade in higher education and considers the existence of barriers to its further expansion. The case for and against greater liberalisation is discussed, concluding that issues raised by GATS will not go away and are likely increasingly to affect the domestic HE agenda.

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