chapter  21
The impact of higher education on development
ByTristan McCowan, Rebecca Schendel
Pages 14

Describing the university as an ‘ivory tower’ has become something of a cliché. The idea that the university is, or is in danger of becoming, isolated from the world, endlessly gazing at its own intellectual navel and disregarding the wishes and needs of the broader society, provides a constant backdrop to contemporary policy discussions of higher education. Historically, it is for the most part true that the ‘membrane’ of the university was fairly impermeable in both directions: the knowledge generated and transmitted within the university drew little on the outside world and concerned itself little with applying itself to the outside world’s problems.