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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Legtimacy of cross-border higher education policy: A comparative case study of Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah
by Farrugia, Christine, Ph.D., State University of New York at Albany, 2016, 214; 10243344
Abstract (Summary)

This study investigates the legitimacy of policies to import cross-border higher education (CBHE) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). This study compares two of the UAE’s higher education subsystems – Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah – to understand how higher education stakeholders in the UAE interpret foreign involvement in higher education and investigate how those interpretations contribute to stakeholders’ assessments of the legitimacy of the country’s CBHE policies. The legitimacy of cross-border higher education policies is a potentially contentious issue because the higher education resources that are imported into host countries under CBHE policies are usually intended to supplement existing higher education systems whose stakeholders may not welcome foreign involvement in higher education. Given the multiple actors and national contexts that are active in the UAE’s higher education systems, there are potential legitimacy challenges facing local CBHE policies. The purpose of this study is to explore this area of possible disconnect in the legitimacy of CBHE to more clearly understand how host country higher education stakeholders evaluate the legitimacy of CBHE policies within their own systems and to arrive at a theory of policy legitimacy for cross-border higher education.

This study approaches policy legitimacy in higher education by investigating how higher education stakeholders evaluate CBHE policies and derives a theory of CBHE policy legitimacy from the study’s findings. The following research questions guide the study:

1. What are the goals of CBHE policies? How do these goals serve to increase the legitimacy of the higher education subsystem?

2. How do resident higher education stakeholders evaluate the legitimacy of CBHE policies?

3. How do the findings of this study on legitimacy in a non-democratic environment resonate with existing policy legitimacy theories?

This qualitative study is a two-case comparison of CBHE policy in the emirates of Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), each of which has implemented CBHE policies in their private higher education sectors. Forty-five higher education stakeholders were interviewed across the two emirates between January and April 2012. Site visits and document analyses were conducted in both cases and an additional 40 higher education actors were interviewed in other UAE higher education systems, providing background context for the two cases analyzed in this study.

Support was found for the model of CBHE policy legitimacy proposed in the study. Salient components of CBHE policy legitimacy include the procedural elements of legality, decision norms, and representation, as well as normative legitimacy of the policies.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Lane, Jason E.
Commitee: Kinser, Kevin, Levy, Daniel C.
School: State University of New York at Albany
Department: Educational Administration and Policy Studies
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 78/05(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Higher Education Administration, Education Policy, Higher education
Keywords: Cross-border higher education, International branch campus, International education, Policy legitimacy, Transnational education, United Arab Emirates
Publication Number: 10243344
ISBN: 978-1-369-39606-5
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