Call for papers 65

(July-december 2025)

Topic: Private education, public impact?

Deadline for reception: January 10, 2025


Program for Research on Private Higher Education (PROPHE) University at Albany/Dr. Daniel C. Levy
ITESO, Jesuit University of Guadalajara/Dr. Juan Carlos Silas


Particular higher education (as it is designated in official Mexican nomenclature) or private higher education (as it is known colloquially and in the academic tradition) has grown steadily over the last 50 years, positioning itself as a type of post-secondary academic formation that primarily serves as a complement to the education offered by national States. In the Mexican case, the first non-governmental institution to offer higher education was the Escuela Libre de Derecho (Free School of Law) in Mexico City, in 1912, formally recognized by presidential decree in 1930. Five years later, the Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara (Autonomous University of Guadalajara) was founded; due to its size and presence in the second half of the 20th century, it is often mentioned as a groundbreaking institution. What is undeniable is that the 70s, 80s and 90s saw vigorous and diversified growth in Mexico, Latin America and other parts of the world, especially in what is now called the Global South.

Accounting for close to a third of worldwide enrollment, private higher education as a phenomenon calls for systematic observation, especially in terms of how it relates to the surrounding community. This relationship encompasses a wide range of factors, including social impact, academic relevance, educational and workplace transcendence, direct impact on community tensions, etc. One of the leading academic groups studying this phenomenon is the Program for Research on Private Higher Education or PROPHE (, established in the year 2000 at the State University of New York at Albany. Since its foundation, this Program has played a key role in generating and circulating knowledge on this topic.

Research on private higher education during most of the 20th century (roughly between 1950 and 1980) was primarily descriptive, focusing on the size of the institutions, the growth of their enrollment, and the disciplinary fields represented in their academic offerings. The lack of analysis was understandable as it was an emerging phenomenon at the time. A few analytical works were published in the 80s; among the most prominent were “Higher Education and the State in Latin America: Private Challenges to Public Dominance,” a seminal book by Levy that came out in 1986, and “Private Sectors in Higher Education,” by Geiger (1986), which laid the groundwork for careful scrutiny of these institutions.

As years passed, the analyses spread to other regions: Latin America, Asia and Africa, and to a lesser extent, to Europe, Oceania and English-speaking countries in the Americas. Some of the publications that have made significant contributions are those of Acosta (2005), Álvarez (2011) and Silas (2005), which look at the way private higher education has advanced in Mexico; ADB (2012), Joshi and Paivandi (2015), and Praphamontripong (2011) analyze the diversification in Asia; Mabizela and Otieno (2007) make a noteworthy contribution to the study of private education in Africa; Bernasconi (2011) and Teixeira et al. (2017) focus on Latin America; Slantcheva and Levy (2007), and Kwiek (2017) address the topic in European countries, especially those of Central Europe; and finally, Bjarnason (2009), Buckner (2017), Hunt et al. (2016) and Kinser et al. (2010) take a global perspective.

With the turn of the century and the succession of economic, political, cultural and even health crises, it is clear that private institutions of higher education have had to adjust their way of operating and relating to society in order to ensure first their survival, and then their impact on the community. Today it is relevant to ask a series of questions: What are the elements that characterize private higher education? What types exist (denominational, business-oriented, for-profit and non-profit)? What operational models do they use? And how do they interact with their surrounding communities? This call for papers seeks to explore the multifaceted roles that private institutions of higher education play in the community, and to analyze their impact on, and relationship with, their social, academic and productive context. We also propose to look at the way these institutions contribute to equality, educational quality, research, and engagement with the productive sector, as well as their interaction with public policies and regulatory frameworks.

Given the geographic breadth of the phenomenon of private institutions, we invite academics, researchers and professionals from the field of education to submit unpublished articles analyzing the topic of the role of private higher education in the community. The submissions should focus on results of empirical research, national and regional (not just Mexican) case studies, analyses grounded in empirical data, and critical reviews that offer in-depth understanding of the following thematic areas:

  1. Access and equality

   - Admission policies and their impact on social inclusion

   - Availability of scholarships and financial aid

   - Strategies for incorporating students from different social or economic backgrounds

  1. Typologies

   - Critical reviews of existing typologies

   - Relations between different types of private institutions

   - Engagement of different types of private institutions with areas of the community

  1. Academic quality and accreditation

   - Accreditation mechanisms and evaluation of academic performance

   - Innovations in study plans and pedagogical methodologies

   - Comparison of public and private institutions in terms of educational quality and educational results.

  1. Relations with the productive sector

   - Strategic alliances with companies and productive sectors

   - Internship and entrepreneurship programs

   - Adaptability of curricula to labor market demands

  1. Contribution to research and development

   - Creation of research initiatives and innovative projects

   - Collaboration between institutions and with public and private organizations

   - Impact of research on technological and social development

  1. Financial sustainability and governance

   - Finance models and income diversification

   - Governance policies and transparency

   - Participation of the academic community in decision-making

  1. Relations with publicly-financed universities and institutions

   - Collaboration and cooperation programs with public institutions

   - Student transfers and joint projects

   - Competition and complementarity in educational offerings

  1. Dialogue with governments

   - Government policies and their impact on private education

   - Participation of private institutions in educational policy-making

   - Subsidies, government support and regulatory frameworks


Instructions for authors

Articles should be original and unpublished, and not be undergoing review at other publications. Submissions are accepted in Spanish, English and Portuguese. All submissions will be subjected to double-blind peer review. Manuscripts should follow Sinéctica’s editorial standards, available on our webpage.



For any additional information, please contact Juan Carlos Silas Casillas: (edition coordinator).

We look forward to receiving your valuable contributions that enrich the debate on the role of private higher education in the community.


Key words: private higher education, access and equality, academic quality, productive sector, research and development, financial sustainability, governance, educational policies.


Bibliographic references

Acosta, A. (2005). La educación superior privada en México. IESALC–Unesco.

Álvarez, G. (2011). El fin de la bonanza. La educación superior privada en México en la primera década del siglo XXI. Reencuentro, vol. 60, pp. 10-29.

ADB (2012). Private Higher Education Across Asia. Mandaluyong City, Philippines.

Bernasconi, A. (2011). A Legal Perspective on “Privateness” and “Publicness” in Latin American Higher Education. Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis: Research and Practice, vol. 13, No. 4, pp. 351-365.

Bjarnason, S. (2009). A New Dynamic: Private Higher Education. Unesco.

Buckner, E. (2017). The Worldwide Growth of Private Higher Education: Cross-national Patterns of Higher Education Institution Foundings by Sector. Sociology of Education, vol. 90, No. 4, pp. 296-314.

Geiger, R. L. (1986). Private Sectors in Higher Education. University of Michigan Press.

Hunt, S., Callender, C. and Parry, G. (2016) The entry and experience of private providers of higher education in six countries. Centre for Global Higher Education, UCL Institute of Education, London.

Joshi, K. M. and Paivandi, S. (2015). Private Higher Education. B. R. Publishing Corporation.

Kinser, K. et al. (2010). The Global Growth of Private Higher Education. Wiley.

Kwiek, M. (2017). De-privatization in higher education. Higher Education, vol. 74, No. 2, pp. 259-281.

Levy, D. C. (1986). Higher Education and the State in Latin America: Private Challenges to Public Dominance. University of Chicago Press.

Mabizela, M., Levy, D. C. and Otieno, W. (eds.). Senegal. Journal of Higher Education in Africa/Revue de l’Enseignement Superieur en Afrique.

Praphamontripong, P. (2011). Government policies and institutional diversity of private higher education: Thailand in regional perspective. Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis: Research and Practice, vol. 13, No. 4, pp. 411-424.

Silas, J. C. (2005). Realidades y tendencias en la educación superior privada mexicana. Perfiles Educativos, vol. 27(109/110), pp. 7-37.

Slantcheva, S. and Levy, D. C. (eds.) (2007). Private Higher Education in Post-Communist Europe. Palgrave Macmillan.

Teixeira, P., Landoni, P. and Gilani, Z. (2017). Rethinking the Public-Private Mix in Higher Education. Sense Publishers.