Not surprisingly, therefore, the attempts at a global solution mostly fail. It is too easy to overlook the differences, both the structural differences of the labour markets as well as of the culture systems, while engaging with global companies and global investors. There is no one size fits all in international markets - and definitely not in education, where the nation state is alive and well. Contrary to the assumptions made in the conference rooms in the West, the Chinese are not unhappy with their one-party state (which may indeed be more meritocratic than the political institutions in the West) and the Indians can perfectly reconcile a technology job and an arranged marriage (which may require adjustments, but is not that the essence of relationships, they would ask). And, indeed, the labour markets are set to diverge, rather than converge, as we shift away from export-led growth to economic growth driven by domestic consumption. And, finally, but fatally for those who believe in apocalyptic globalisation (a term coined by Pankaj Ghemawat of IESE), languages are not dead yet. Even if English is spoken in different countries, it is different English in different countries (which is an insurmountable problem for machine translation) - and local languages, as we deal more and more with inner markets, are more, and not less important.
Indeed, this is where one could see how an universal solution can emerge. As with many other things at this day and age, the key is not in closed proprietary education offerings in isolation of cultural and personal issues, but development of an open framework backed by technologies, and pedagogy, of personal engagement and development. This point of openness can not be overemphasised, given the diversity. However, while we talk about open frameworks, institutions and investors are chasing proprietary content, credentials and glitzy communication to win the game. Needless to say, they are likely to falter at the twin reefs of cultural distance and the very personal nature of education.