paper argues that APEC member countries must adjust, indeed
change, their higher education policies and infrastructures
in order to protect their interests and enhance the benefits
through globalisation and the increasingly open trading
environment. Within the context of globalisation, APEC
higher education policies must include Cyber Education
Networks between the member countries and as such need
to be seen as part of sound overall economic development
strategy. Thus transparent signals about the direction
of knowledge economy, regulatory policies, strategic planning
and transition periods for implementation of a Cyber Network
are required to steer the process. Both governments and
the private sector need to invest into Cyber Education
Network in order to develop and advance their economic
position through knowledge economy.
far as knowledge economy is concerned APEC member countries
are at crossroads, balancing the challenges of globalisation
and the demands of its national interests for increased
services such as higher education. The focus appears to
be still on the concept of Economies of Scale with
its cult of efficiency.
In the face of globalisation, the development of
Cyber Education infrastructures and services is becoming
crucial if APEC member countries wish to meet the challenges
and opportunities of economic growth based on knowledge
economy. This paper argues for a concept of Economies
of Scope through which Strategic Plans for Formulation
of APEC Cyber Education Network in an environment
of Knowledge Economy can be achieved.
and developing countries are increasingly becoming dependent
for their economic well being on their abilities to shift
from industrial economy to knowledge economy (OECD, 2000).
The concept of knowledge economy emerges from the acceptance
that economic development and growth can be better achieved
if knowledge and technology are utilised to the fullest
extent (Drucker, 1993).
can be defined as a phenomenon where knowledge is becoming
increasingly important for the economic success of government,
society, industry and individuals, impacting on learning
and skills development, innovation, and provision of goods
and services (Johnston and Blumentritt, 1998). This is
Substantive increase in the codification of knowledge
that together with networks and digitalisation of information
leads to commodification of knowledge. (Codified knowledge
is the formal and universal knowledge emerging from research).
Increased codification of knowledge, shifting the
balance of stock of knowledge, producing a shortage of
tacit knowledge and skills. (Tacit knowledge is a ．tool
to handle codified knowledge・).
Codification of existing knowledge that enhances:
(a) changes in an organisation and creation and dissemination
of new knowledge, and (b) a nexus between diverse areas
of knowledge and skills, thus reducing knowledge destruction,
and increasing the acceleration of turnover of existing
stock of knowledge.
An increased provision of an impetus for the dissemination
of information rather than re-invention of knowledge and
information through Computer and Information Technology
(CIT) leading to potential minimisation of capital for
a given quantity of knowledge.
An increased relative amount of agglomeration of
stock of knowledge is used for economic growth, yet the
accumulated knowledge is not necessarily used entirely
The importance of economic, political and cultural
distribution power in the capacity to transfer
knowledge and technology within and across networks becomes
Learning becoming (a) an important factor for individuals
and organisations and (b) an activity which is attained
by undertaking cognitive and other activities, by using
information and knowledge and by interacting with others.
Learning organisations, which are becoming increasingly
Creativity, problem solving, initiative, flexibility
and an ability to change are seen increasingly as important
(Fransman, 1994; Nonaka and Takeuchi,
It is important also to note that
a transition to Knowledge Economy may lead to systemic
market failure because it is so radically different from
industry based economy. Thus conventional economic understanding
in terms of production, services and importance of needs
to be revisited and changed (Benhabib and Spiegel, 1994).
Of course knowledge in the form
of human resources and technology has always played an
important economic role throughout history. However, two
main factors became more pronounced at the beginning of
the 21st century. Firstly, there is an unparalleled
expansion on a global scale of Computer and Information
Technology (CIT). The uniqueness of CIT is that it can
provide access to information anywhere in the world in
a fraction of a second. It provides communication opportunities
through which data, interaction and transaction can be
provided to any person and organisation cost effectively
(Bates, 1995; Harasim, 1993). Secondly, as a global economy
is advancing and changing the way of how we think about
production and distribution of goods and services, the
relative importance of knowledge is becoming increasingly
significant for APEC member countries.
The dependence on knowledge economy
brings with it the need to reconsider not only economic
but also higher educational strategies. The concept of
global educational networks is emerging, for example,
through the consortium of universities known as Universitas
21. Networking between universities is not knew, but
using CIT as a way of networking provides new opportunities
for university-industry collaboration. One such option
is the development of Cyber Education Networks, which
have the potential to enhance the development of more
productive and successful knowledge work force, or what
is called by some the ．cognitariat・ (Davis, 1996) and
human resources. The rationale for Cyber Education Network
is simple: In order to be successful in a global economy,
countries need to restructure their workforce. This requires
at times a painful reordering of the workforce, and at
some point, the industrial economy work force needs to
be pulled into the ．cognitariat・. This reordering can
only be achieved through education and training. However
in order to maintain the existing equilibrium throughout
the epoch of retraining, new ways of accessing education
and training must be implemented. A work force cannot
be simply pooled out of the labour market. Thus, there
is a need for individuals to be able to access education
and training in their own time and from the ．best・ available
provider (Jakupec 2000). Given this background, there
are a number of issues to be considered here if one wishes
to attempt to develop Strategic Plans for Formulation
of APEC Cyber Education Network.
Knowledge and Economics: From Economies of Scale to Economies
There is a stark difference between
the role of universities and the higher education sector
of the 1990s and the beginning of the 2000s. In the late
1990s, for example, there was the tendency by governments
in many developed and developing countries, including
APEC member countries, to focus on internationalisation
utilising the notion of Economies of Scale. As
far as higher education was concerned, the driving force
was the Taylorist concept based on mass education systems
and the Fordist and Global Fordist notions of knowledge
production through principles of standardised and at times
inflexible learning environments (Garrick and Jakupec
2000). At the same time there was a need to utilise a
variety of educational technologies in order to provide
access to higher education to a large number of individuals.
Give the dominant Fordist and Global Fordist ideology,
educational technology and practices followed assembly
line principles (Campion 1996).
Universities and higher education
systems in the 1980s and 1990s were required to support
national economies by producing specialists in specific
disciplines such as engineering, accounting, management
and information technology (Jakupec 1996). This led to
restructuring of higher education systems in a number
of countries, including amalgamations on claims of efficiencies
that can be achieved through Economies of Scales.
For example, GAL (1997) argued that Australian universities
are competitive with other Western nation universities
due to the Economies of Scale that have been achieved
through amalgamations in the late 1980s. In essence the
prevailing ideology was that economic growth could be
better achieved through Economies of Scale. Another
examples of Economies of Scale are the mega-universities,
which provide higher education to a large number of students.
They operate on an unprecedented scale of 100,000 or more
students (Daniel 1996).
The higher education institutions
in many developed countries such as Australia and United
Kingdom were required to follow business principles in
terms of governance, course offerings and thus knowledge
dissemination and accumulation. It was argued that greater
gains could be made by the higher education sector, if
the Fordist and Global Fordist approach was adopted. The
underpinning assumptions were that fiscal achievements
could be based on Economies of Scale through production
of standardised course design and delivery.
At the end of 1990s cracks started
to appear within those higher education systems, which
modelled themselves on Global Fordism and Economics
of Scale. Post-Fordism and Economies of Scope
superseded Fordism (Huber, 1992). Higher education institutions
learned very quickly that the Fordist rigidity of mass
education did not provide the benefits it was claimed
previously (cf. Felderer and Obersteiner, 1999). Thus
the concept of Economies of Scope was introduced
and partially adopted by higher education institutions
such as the universities that formed Universitas 21.
A brief comparison between some
important characteristics of universities under the two
given economic assumptions are
self-contained activities operating in a global
hierarchical academic and administrative structure
expertise with other organisations
activities operating with partner organisations
in a global market
horizontal organisational integrations with multiple
hierarchical academic and administrative structures
The key issue for success became
the concept of flexibility in relation to locations, expertise,
operations, organisational integration and the dominant
philosophies. The underpinning idea is not that efficiencies
will be achieved through Economies of Scale, but
that flexibility will allow institutions to reduce waste
and increase the productivity of both academic labour
and capital investment through Economies of Scope.
It is important to note that a focus on flexibility has
the potential to avoid extreme specialisation and compartmentalisation
through sharing of responsibilities, teamwork, job-rotation,
and multi skilling. This, so the theory goes, can be achieved
through knowledge management, integrating theory (thinking)
and practice (doing) into all aspects of organisational
endeavours. At organisational level this means that obstacles
to information flow at institutional and inter-institutional
levels need to be minimised if not removed.
There is a need for APEC member country governments to
put in place mechanisms leading to removal of obstacles
to information flow between participating universities
of APEC member countries.
In other words, in order to achieve
more with less, educational institutions need to become
flexible organisations. They need to merge flexibility
of delivery, course content, choice of educational technologies,
learning environments, and high quality of service (including
student support) and programs (including a degree of customisation)
with the speed of low cost mass production and delivery
of learning materials and services. But more importantly
they need to develop networks and post-Fordist structures
Today flexible post-Fordist approaches
allow universities to achieve higher levels of productivity
through Economies of Scope, in the provision of
more diverse and customised programs and services without
forfeiting the advantages of Economies of Scale.
This can be achieved through a greater utilisation of
academic, administrative and technical staff and an integration
of academic, administrative, technological and entrepreneurial
cultures of a university and subsequently through network
arrangements amongst universities.
essence, Economies of Scope can be achieved when
costs can be reduced by operating one or more enterprises
under the same administrative and managerial cover, sharing
overheads. Economies of Scope can also be
accomplished where cost savings opportunities are brought
about by sharing resources and infrastructures anywhere
along operational ．value chains・ (Benjamin and Wigand,
example, if a number of universities within APEC member
countries were to form a network, they could provide educational
opportunities for a significant number of students without
necessarily having to duplicate each other・s resources
and infrastructures. Thus the scope of delivery increases
without the proportional cost associated with capital
investment by individual universities.
Using this example, it could be
argued that Economies of Scope are much more conducive
to diversification and flexibility than Economies of
Scale. The latter being supply driven (if we build
it they will buy it) the former is demand driven (if they
want it we will build it). It is important here to notice
that in order to diversify and move from a supply driven
capacity towards a demand driven enterprise depends mainly
on the ability to reuse the existing knowledge. Thus,
one will be able to distinguish between principles of
Economies of Scale and Economies of Scope
on the basis of how knowledge is re-used. Adopting the
former, knowledge is used for provision of ever increasing
numbers of identical educational services and products.
In the case of the latter knowledge is accumulated and
diversified through networks and used for provision of
flexible and divergent educational services and products
(Davenport and Prusak, 1989; Koulopoulos et al 1997).
Policies in Member Countries
member countries continue to witness a shift from industrial
to post-industrial knowledge economics (Kumar1995). The
crucial point is that the shift is uneven between the
developed and developing member countries. The national
economic growth on basis of knowledge economy and productivity
depends to a large extent on two factors. The first factor
is the ability of individual countries to increase the
rate of technical progress and the second is the ability
of educational institutions in individual countries to
accumulate and disseminate knowledge not only nationally
but also globally (Foray and Lundvall, 1996). Thus, of
crucial importance are networks and systems that can flexibly
and effectively disseminate knowledge and information.
CIT is the most advantageous technology for storing and
accessing information and knowledge. Using CIT, Cyber
Education Networks provide learning opportunities for
individuals and human resource development for employers
(Jakupec and Garrick, 2000). Learning through Cyber Education
Networks is becoming increasingly important for realising
productivity capability of CIT for long-term economic
policies, especially those relating to linking economic
growth to education require a new focus in knowledge based
global economies (GAL 1997; Jakupec1997). Endorsement
of Cyber Education Networks by APEC Governments is one
important initiative, which can be achieved through development,
utilisation and enhancement of national and multi national
innovation systems, which encourages institutions and
private enterprise to invest in Cyber Education. Thus
there is a need for governments to develop policies focussing
on the strategies that
enhance knowledge dissemination and expansion
upgrade and maintain relevant human capital
promote organisational change.
strategies can be formulated as follows:
There is a need to increase support from governments for
innovation of Cyber Education Network by moving from mission
oriented higher education technology projects to expansion
oriented higher education technology programs.
All three social partners (universities, governments and
industry) should facilitate the development and expansion
of Cyber Education Network infrastructures in order to
provide favourable conditions for university-industry-government
collaboration. This will allow greater access to education
and training to a wider variety of industry sectors and
commercial enterprises, individuals and society.
All three social partners should promote broad base access
to skills, knowledge and capabilities formation and qualifications,
and to encourage life-long learning. This should include
initiatives leading to (i) flexible broad-based formal
education, (ii) establishing incentives for employers
and employees to engage in continuous and life-long education
and training in order to provide a better match between
work force supply, and industrial and commercial demand
for human capital.
Governments need to provide a conducive economic and political
environment, and supporting infrastructures for technological
changes through appropriate financial, competition, information
and other relevant policies. These policies should: (i)
enhance technological change in order to obtain productivity
gains , and (ii) promote organisational changes at university-industry
level so as to increase flexibility, networking, multi-skilling
Education and University-Industry Collaboration: A question
of Knowledge Dissemination and Knowledge Economy
Cyber Education will play an important
role in the Knowledge Economy because it has the potential
to disseminate knowledge throughout the society, globally
and locally, and across economic infrastructures. In this
context, there is a need to be cognisant of the factor
that in Knowledge Economy the dissemination of knowledge
is as important as the creation of knowledge. But this
is only a valid proposition if knowledge distribution
networks, such as Cyber Education Networks support knowledge
dissemination and creation. In such a case Cyber Education
Networks transcend national systems of knowledge innovation
and can be shared globally. Essentially, Cyber Education
Networks support the advance and use of knowledge in economy
through industry-university collaboration. This is important
for a successful transition from industrial economy to
knowledge economy, especially as countries need to diffuse
innovations and to assimilate and maximise the contribution
of technology to education and training. This requires
knowledge creation as much as knowledge assimilation trough
industry and commerce. (OECD, 1996).
If this argument is accepted,
Cyber Education Networks in APEC member countries will
have an important role to play in knowledge creation.
This is not only important for economic progress, but
also for the development and maintenance of a common cultural
basis for the exchange of knowledge and information, and
thus a better understanding of the cultural and social
characteristics, history and heritage of the individual
APEC includes both, developing
and developed countries. Their economies therefore are
characterised by different degrees of economic, political
and cultural distribution power in the capacity
to transfer knowledge and technology within and across
networks of researchers, research and educational institutions,
and university-industry collaborative enterprise. It must
be noted however, that any distribution power of
a country to transfer and disseminate knowledge will largely
depend on policies, incentives and strategies of governments
with reference to education and research institutions
such as universities. Thus, effective dissemination of
knowledge is subject to government-industry investment
into higher education institutions and systems, and the
ability of industry to adapt and use the created and disseminated
knowledge for economic and social well-being of individuals,
groups, organisations, and commercial and industrial entities
Industries and individual companies should balance investments
the production of and the capacities to disseminate
and use knowledge for the purpose to partake in a knowledge
Governments must balance not only investments into knowledge
creation such as research and knowledge dissemination,
but also into dissemination of knowledge to social and
economic actors, including enterprises and individuals
who can exploit and use this knowledge for social and
order to enhance knowledge dissemination, many developed
and developing countries are endeavouring to develop linkages
between universities, industries and government and non-government
enterprises. This requires a strategy of university-industry
collaboration. The results and initiatives are at present
haphazard and not well coordinated. A more focussed strategy
may well be in place here:
Governments should provide incentives for universities-industries
collaboration to develop efficient Cyber Education Network(s).
collaborations in developing and maintaining an efficient
Cyber Education Network, has the potential to increase
access and relevance of university educational mission,
and to invigorate new learning, teaching and research
directions. Thus, Cyber Education Networks built on universities-industries
collaborations can be used as a vehicle for effective
dissemination of economically useful knowledge and for
enhancing the flexibility of accessing knowledge by individuals
and corporations for skill and human resource development
(Jakupec and Yoon, 2000).
of accessing knowledge is the key to dissemination of
knowledge. There are two points to be made here. The first
point is that universities have ．resources・ that need
to change without the need of significant additional capacity
building. However, universities have a long and proud
tradition and changes are not easily achieved. In universities
the most important kind of resources are academics and
the managerial capacity of the leadership. Both need to
accept and initiate changes to the academic, administrative,
technological and entrepreneurial cultures of the organisation.
This is important if a successful universities-industries
collaboration to establish and maintain a Cyber Education
Network is to be achieved. In order to realise these changes,
academics, administrators, technologists and senior managers
need to apply existing knowledge, skills and experiences
to new, but related areas.
Universities need to change academic, administrative,
technological and entrepreneurial culture from traditional
to flexible models of knowledge accumulation and dissemination.
The second point is that industries
have traditionally a rather limited appreciation of academic
work in creation and dissemination of knowledge. With
reference to the latter, the advent of flexible learning
has created new demands on academics to teach and facilitate
learning, thus, the academic tradition is changing. Equally
important is the factor that industries assume the supremacy
of directly economically exploitable knowledge over pure
academic knowledge. Perhaps because of a lack of understanding
of academic activities by the industry and a greater focus
on knowledge economy, academics and universities find
themself torn between traditional forms of knowledge creation
and knowledge dissemination and those imposed upon them
by governments and industry requirements. There are two
schools of thought to be considered here. Firstly, there
is the school of thought which states that if academics
are to create knowledge for the future they should be
given the freedom explore their own ideas. Academics and
researchers should be encouraged to pursue their own research
directions and curiosities, even if the knowledge created
has no immediate benefit to economy. The second school
of thought is that as the most important scientific understandings
have emerged from research findings directly related to
industrial and technological problems, academics and universities
should focus on finding solutions that are of immediate
benefit to industry.
The first school of thought cannot
be right and the second school of thought must not be
right. In a knowledge economy with all its impacts on
our economic social and cultural life, it can be argued
that there is a strategy that industry needs to adopt:
Industries need to raise the profile of academic work
through collaboration with universities in creating knowledge
that provides opportunities to probe their own knowledge
creation and dissemination.
Balancing the claims of the two
schools of thought is somewhat difficult. But is there
a need to balance it at all? The argument can be put as
follows. Firstly, as most of knowledge created in the
universities is freely reported at conferences and in
publications, and disseminated to students it is difficult
for industries to capitalise directly from it. Secondly,
research results and thus newly created knowledge is mainly
enabling rather than directly beneficial for economic
exploitation. Thirdly, newly created knowledge may provide
indirectly solutions to existing problems of industries.
Industries can adapt this knowledge free of charge to
their particular situation without having to invest heavily
into their own research, which may lead to a dead end.
As a result a free Cyber Education Network can assist
industries directly or as a basis for strategic research
and knowledge dissemination.
and Cyber Education Networks
The utilisation of CIT and Cyber
Education Networks has drastically improved the opportunities
for organising, codifying and communicating knowledge
at reduced costs in comparison with other forms of technology
and media. This has lead to incongruence between tacit
knowledge and codified knowledge. The former is knowledge
that is used as a tool to handle or improve what is in
focus, such as an idea. The latter is more formal knowledge
based on research, technology and development efforts
in organisations. Codified knowledge is characterised
by being global and universal (Glasmeier, 1994; Cooke
and Morgan, 1998).
However increased codification
of knowledge, through CIT and Cyber Education Networks,
is creating a decline of tacit knowledge. This is especially
the case where knowledge management is substituted with
information management. As information becomes more easily
accessible and less costly, the expertise and ability
relating to the choice and efficient use of information
become more important, and tacit knowledge in form of
the skills needed to articulate and guide codified knowledge,
becomes more crucial than ever.
The skills required of individuals
in an organisation will be those that are complimentary
to investments in CIT and Cyber Education Networks and
at the same time these investments need to compliment
capital input into human resources and their development.
That means that the investments in both human resources
and Cyber Education Networks cannot be seen as substitutes
for each other. This is of course not dissimilar to the
industrialisation period where machines replaced labour
and manual skills and thus became the locus of the economic
attention. In an era of knowledge economy, Cyber Education
Networks will be the focal point of codified knowledge,
whereas the work will be based on uniquely human tacit
skills. Also, there will be a shift from the manual labour
force of the industrial area to a cognitive work force
of the post-industrial and global economic epoch. There
will be a strong demand on conceptualisation skills, inter-personal
management communication and innovation skills, fostering
the development of innovation and knowledge networks.
Increasingly, the success of countries
in a knowledge economy will depend not only on their expansion
and utilisation of knowledge but also, and more importantly,
on their knowledge creation.
Efforts to establish a Cyber Education
Network throughout APEC member countries will not be easy
to achieve. The idea is being developed in a climate of
growing public financial restraint. Present indications
are that there is not much enthusiasm from governments
to address the potential benefits of Cyber Education Networks.
Perhaps one reason is that it is difficult to evaluate
what economic impact such a network may have. Thus, it
is understandable that governments and industry are reluctant
to allocate funding to such a project. If this stands
to reason, than there is a need for a better understanding
of the economic, cultural and social advantages that a
Cyber Education Network could bring to the whole society,
including commerce, industry, universities and individual.
Those governments, industry and universities which are
not addressing the issue of how knowledge should be disseminated
with new technologies, will inevitably not be able to
participate in and become part of knowledge economy. Thus,
the question is not if but how APEC countries
should develop Cyber Education Networks. The question
is how should knowledge be disseminated to individuals,
industry and other private and government enterprises,
in order to enhance economic growth and competitiveness.
The challenge for governments, industries and universities
is to adapt to their new roles as partners in knowledge
creation and dissemination. Neither the governments, industry,
or universities should loose sight that education has
more than economic imperatives and that research as a
vehicle for knowledge creation needs to include pure and
curiosity driven research that goes beyond mere commercial
imperatives. This freely accessible knowledge through
Cyber Education Network can bring economic and non-economic,
social and cultural benefits to APEC member countries,
their industries, universities, communities and individuals.
From the above discussion it is
evident that in addition to the already stated strategies
there is room for canvassing some immediate and general
strategic advantageous points here. Firstly, due to the
increased inter-dependence among APEC countries on the
basis of trade, education and training, investment and
capital flow, technology and technology transfer, it could
be argued that there is a need for governments to integrate
policies of collaboration relevant to these areas. Secondly,
given the factor that knowledge economy is fundamentally
different from the industrial economy, there is a need
to approach knowledge creation and knowledge and information
dissemination in a new key. Thirdly, education and training,
as much as innovation and knowledge creation, underpin
knowledge economy. Thus governments and industry need
to incorporate knowledge creation and dissemination in
their key economic policies.
is much emphasis on the role of governments in this paper.
This is unusual in an era of globalisation, where the
role of governments and nation states are challenged.
So why should APEC governments take initiatives in developing
a Cyber Education Networks? Perhaps as the new role of
governments in a global knowledge economy has changed,
they can act as hosts for activities associated with,
and facilities required for, knowledge economy, including
knowledge creation and dissemination through Cyber Education
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