Este último autor reflecte sobre as diferentes missões atribuídas historicamente às universidades,
When the ancient universities were established (Alexandria in Egypt, Bologna in what is now Italy,Mustansiriyah in what is now Iraq, Taxila in what is now India), the purpose of university education was clear. It was to pass on to future generations the accumulated wisdom of society.para partilhar depois as suas preocupações com o ensino superior actual
In the 1860s, the Morrill Land Grant Act transferred valuable tracts of land owned by the federal government of the United States to state governments in exchange for university instruction in agriculture, home science, and the mechanical arts. This marks the addition of applied professional (some called it vocational) training to university curricula. Most other countries have followed this example, with perhaps the last being England, which made engineering a university-based subject 100 years later. Universities now had a dual purpose: to pass on the accumulated wisdom of society, and to train students for technical occupations.
In the 19th century, German educators developed a different philosophy of tertiary education. For them, the purpose of a university was to advance the frontiers of human knowledge through research and publication.
In the United States and in many other countries, including Germany, the purpose of a university is now a blend of these three missions: pass on knowledge, train professional workers, and advance the frontiers of human knowledge. Some educational systems have added a fourth mission: community or public service.
- There is no clear philosophical mission for tertiary educational institutions.
- There is almost universal agreement on the need for quality control, but no clear definition of what constitutes quality tertiary education.
- There is no clear identification of the public to be served.
- Because of these deficiencies, tertiary education is now in a state of competitive marketing.
- Because of these deficiencies, tertiary education is now in a state of caveat emptor (buyer beware).
Tertiary education throughout the world is in greater turmoil now than at any time since the Protestant Reformation in Europe. Those who are providers of tertiary education are being subjected to philosophical, administrative, and financial pressures from an increasing number of directions. Those who clearly define their mission, their goals, their degree programmes, and their quality standards will have a better chance to have their degrees officially recognised internationally.