Effective higher education systems are critical for countries to advance. In South Asia, reforming governance structures and practices is a crucial step.

Higher education systems in South Asia have not kept pace with the changing requirements of the modern global economy.

With increasing progress at the secondary level, demand for higher education is likely to expand.

Therefore, higher education systems face upward pressure as they need to absorb more students and deploy more teachers. South Asian countries are already experiencing a mushrooming number of higher education institutions. Moreover, most of them have achieved middle-income status; advancing further will require strategic investments in higher education. Furthermore, quality needs to be enhanced, particularly to strengthen industry and labor market linkages and promote research capacity. South Asian countries rank low on global innovation capacity.

A rapidly changing world fueled by the Fourth Industrial Revolution beckons a transformation in education and training systems.

A version of this article appears in the print on March 16, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.