The History of Higher Education

A modern day university is an institution of higher education and research that awards academic degrees including Associate's, Bachelor's, Master's, and doctoral degrees. The Guinness Book of World Records recognizes The University of Al Karaouine in Fez, which was founded in 859 by the princess Fatima al-Fihri, as the oldest degree-granting university in the world. 

The medieval Islamic world was also home to medical schools that awarded medical degrees and diplomas to students, a qualification that can be equated to today's Doctor of Medicine degree. The Al-Azhar University founded in Cairo, Egypt, in 975, offered a variety of graduate and postgraduate degrees, including theological seminary, law and jurisprudence, Arabic, astronomy, philosophy, and logic. 

University of Salerno followed the University of Constantinople in the 9th century. Preslav Literary School and Ohrid Literary School in the Bulgarian Empire, also established in the 9th century AD, were the first institutions of higher education in Medieval Europe. The first degree-granting university in Europe was the University of Bologna, which was established in 1088. It was followed by the University of Paris (c. 1150), University of Oxford (1167), and the University of Cambridge (1209). The Roman Catholic Church was responsible for the development of a lot of medieval universities in Western Europe. Many historians state that universities and cathedral schools were a continuation of the interest in learning promoted by monasteries. 

In Europe, students proceeded to university when they had completed their study of the trivium-the preparatory arts of grammar, rhetoric, and dialectic or logic-and the quadrivium: arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy. There were also many notable institutions that were providing education and conferring degrees even outside Europe, for example the famous Hanlin Academy, established during the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD) in China. 

Many external influences, such as periods of Enlightenment, Reformation, and revolution, shaped universities during their development and transition from the medieval era to the modern one. By the 18th century, universities published their own research journals, and by the 19th century, the German and the French university models had arisen. There models of education were renowned across the globe. Universities mostly concentrated on science in the 19th and 20th centuries, and they started to become accessible to the masses after 1914. 

Until the 19th century, religion played a significant role in university curriculum. However, the role of religion and courses related to it began to diminish in the 19th century in most of the universities and colleges, and the German university model was adopted by most higher education institutes. The British also established universities worldwide, and higher education became available to the masses outside of Europe. Today, most universities and colleges follow a similar model and curriculum to provide higher education.

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Q:As I read about the course on the history of higher education, there was mention of the course on Busness Ethics. What are the contents of this course?

A:It is common to get to read about the course on Business Ethics while going through The History of Higher Education. This course usually is of around 2 credits in total. It is structured to offer students with strong understanding of the examination of the ethical values in a business setup. Students are also provided with ample hands on experience in this course.

Q:Till what time did religion play an important part in higher education history?

A:Religion can be seen to have played an important part in higher education history. It shaped various curriculums in earlier times. With progress along with other changes, education models also changed. It was in the 19th century that a decline was noticed, as attention drifted to science oriented subjects and then computer development.

Q:Can you tell me about jobs in higher education?

A:To find jobs in higher education you need to have good qualifications. Higher education includes both undergraduate and graduate level education. You can work as a lecturer, permanent faculty member of a credible university if you have the required credentials. For higher education the minimum education may be a bachelor's degree. The criterion differs from college to college.

Q:If you study history of higher education, how has the religion's role in education decreased?

A:History of higher education does show that earlier religion and studies had a major link. Religion shaped various curriculums. With the passage of time as the society progressed, new areas of study came to limelight. Science and technology took higher education further with new avenues to be explored. With its progress different areas of study with new modes of learning came to limelight.

Q:While going through an article about higher education history, I have heard that online learning is growing fast. Can you tell me why?

A:Yes, online learning is becoming the new trend in higher education. Many students are opting for this mode of education due to the numerous benefits. In an online program, you can reduce costs related to travelling and textbooks. All you need is a PC/laptop and a reliable internet connection to enroll in an online course.

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