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Democratization of higher education and responsible internationalization:Bridging the gap towards an...

Broadly defined, democratization is the process of applying the principles of democracy to a given structure or system, allowing the same to exist in a more participative and open society (United Nations, 1996). In the context of higher education, democratization means the process of making higher education accessible and available to anyone who wants to access it for different purposes (Blessinger, 2015). One such purpose -- despite the system being unique per country given variations in socio-political and demographic contexts -- is the production or creation of knowledge. This has resulted in a pronounced increase in the worldwide demand for higher education, corresponded by an even more rapid increase in supply from higher education institutions (HEIs). In a 2014 publication by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), higher education participation in 2009 reached as many as 165 million students across the OECD member countries and selected non-OECD member countries, with enrollment projected to reach 262 million by 2025. In Asia, enrollment rates have been on the rise over the past two decades. By 2025, the projected enrollment for higher education in Asia is expected to reach over 300 million (Calderon, UNESCO, 2018). Such explosive growth in higher education participation in Asia is affected by an increased population over the past 20 years, along with emphasis placed on the relationship of education and an individual’s subsequent opportunities in life (UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2014).