Universities in Britain and across the world are facing fresh concerns over funding due to globalisation, a survey has revealed this month.
A study by the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) found that traditional financial problems have been compounded by increased competition for students caused by globalisation, with International league tables influencing students' decisions.
An Australian vice-chancellor said: "[International] ranking is here to stay but it remains very problematic.
"Global comparisons should be possible but it is important that we develop relevant and robust methodologies for providing comparisons across the Commonwealth and more widely."
According to the study, the financial problems caused by this increased competition are most keenly felt in developing countries.
A vice-chancellor from a Caribbean university said: "Inadequate funding has resulted in a physical facility that requires rehabilitation, an inability to attract and retain highly qualified staff and inadequate learning resources [for] distance education programmes, laboratory and research equipment."
A respondent from Zambia said: "We have trebled the number of students, but infrastructure has not changed since the 1980s.
"Funding is not available from government for infrastructure and public universities cannot charge economic rates of fees because it will create strikes by students and the government will not allow increases in fees."
Many of those polled highlighted the belief that universities will have to adapt radically to compete in the global marketplace.
A British interviewee said: "The potential increase in [UK] student fees after 2009, accompanied by students increasingly perceiving themselves as customers, presents a key challenge to all UK higher education institutions in terms of improving their market articulation and the responsiveness of academic process and services."
Another British university staff member said: "Higher education [must] shift from an 18-25 intake sitting in classrooms and labs to learning that adapts to individual and targeted circumstances. [We must] demand new approaches to learning and knowledge generation and dissemination."