The effects of ICT on Higher Education in Mexico


  • Wietse de Vries Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla
  • Germán Álvarez-Mendiola Departamento de Investigaciones Educativas - CINVESTAV - IPN


ICT, digital society, knowledge production, academic capitalism, organizational change, working conditions


This article analyzes how information and communication technology (ICT) changes higher education in Mexico. While it has modified operations and working conditions in almost all sectors of the economy, such as banking and services, its impact on higher education remained limited until 2019. In 2020, however, the COVID-19 pandemic led to its rapid adoption in most higher education institutions.

The analysis considers three perspectives. The educational perspective analyzes how universities use ICT for teaching and learning. It generally stresses that the benefits outweigh the drawbacks but that, before 2020, few students and teachers have embraced these technologies. However, it hardly ever looks at the implications for academic staff or the university as an organization.

Another view is organizational theory, which analyzes how the structures and rules of the game change when institutions adapt to outside demands. In this field, research on the effects of ICT in various institutions shows that organizations can become more efficient, competitive and provide better client services. However, there is little research on whether ICT has caused an organizational change in higher education.

Academic capitalism provides a third view. Higher education institutions are knowledge-producing organizations, and incorporating ICT can change the mode of production from a pre-capitalist to a capitalist one. This change affects who owns, manages, commercializes, and profits from knowledge.

Considering changes from these perspectives, we conclude that digitalization favors ICT providers but hardly benefits academic staff. At the same time, the national government is unconvinced of online teaching and has cut the budget during the pandemic. As a result, Mexican higher education will probably de-digitalize and return to traditional forms of instruction.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

Wietse de Vries, Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla

Full professor and researcher

Germán Álvarez-Mendiola, Departamento de Investigaciones Educativas - CINVESTAV - IPN

Full professor and researcher


Agasisti, T., & Catalano, G. (2006). Governance models of university systems - towards quasi-markets? Tendencies and perspectives: A European comparison. Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, 28(3), 245-262.

Agasisti, T., & Johnes, G. (2010). Heterogeneity and the evaluation of efficiency: the case of Italian universities. Applied Economics, 42(11), 1365-1375.

Allen, E., & Seaman, J. (2017). Digital Learning Compass. Distance Education Enrollment Report 2017. Babson Survey Research Group.

Álvarez, G., & González, A. (2017). Marketing Context and Branding Content of Private Universities in Chile and Mexico. In A. Papadimitriou, Competition in Higher Education Branding and Marketing (pp. 426-454. Palgrave Macmillan.

Álvarez, G. & Morales, M. D. (2019) Trends in Private Higher Education in Mexico. In P. Zgaga, U. Teichler, H. G. Schuetze, A. Wolter (Eds). Higher Education Reform: Looking Back- Looking Forward (pp. 257-276). Second Revised Edition. Berlín: Peter Lang.

ANUIES (2018), Visión y acción 2030: Propuesta de la ANUIES para renovar la educación superior en México, Asociación Nacional de Universidades e Instituciones de Educación Superior (ANUIES), México,

ANUIES (2019). Estado actual de las tecnologías de la información y la comunicación en las institu-ciones de educación superior de México. Ciudad de México. Asociación Nacional de Universi-dades e Instituciones de Educación Superior.

ANUIES (2021). Estado actual de las tecnologías de la información y la comunicación en las instituciones de educación superior de México. Ciudad de México, Asociación Nacional de Universidades e Instituciones de Educación Superior.

Baker, D. (2007). Strategic change management in public sector organizations. Oxford: Chandos Publishing.

Bates, T. (2002). The continuing evolution of ICT capacity: The implications for education. In G. M. Farrel, The changing face of virtual education (pp. 29-46). Vancouver BC: The Commonwealth of Learning.

Bauman, Z. (1992). Intimations of Postmodernity. London and New York: Routledge.

Becher, T. (1989). Academic Tribes and Territories: Intellectual Enquiry and the Culture of Disciplines. Milton Keynes: Open University Press.

Brunner, J. J., Labraña, J., Ganga, F., & Rodríguez, E. (2019). Circulación y recepción de la teoría del "academic capitalism" en América Latina. Archivos Analíticos de Políticas Educativas, 27(79).

Bruns, H. (2013). Working Alone Together. Academy of Management Journal, 56(1), 62-83.

BUAP. (2020, June). Convocatoria cursos en linea.

Casanova, H. & González, M. A. (2021). Universidad y pandemia: entre el triaje educativo y la reivindicación de lo público, In: Lomelí, L. & Casanova H. Universidad y futuro: los retos de la pandemia (pp. 141-168). México: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.

Centre for Educational Research and Innovation (CERI). (2005). E-learning in Tertiary Education. Where do we stand? Paris: CERI-OECD

Clark, B. R. (1998). Creating Entrepreneurial Universities: Organizational Pathways of Transformation. Oxford: IAU Press and Pergamon.

Clark, B. R. (1983). The higher education system. Academic organization in cross-national perspective. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Cuban, L. (2001). Oversold and underused: Computers in the Classroom. Cambridge, MA.: Harvard University Press.

Dahlstrom, E. (2015). Educational Technology and Faculty Development in Higher Education. Research report. Louisville, CO: ECAR.

de Freitas, S., & Oliver, M. (2005). Does E-learning Policy Drive Change in Higher Education? A case study relating models of organizational change to e-learning implementation. Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, 27(1), 81-96.

De Garay, A. (2017). La glocalización del corporativo Laureate. Distintos mercados, distintas estrategias. El Cotidiano (205), 65-76.

De Vries, W., & Álvarez, G. (2005). Acerca de las políticas, la política y otras complicaciones en la educación superior mexicana. Revista de la Educación Superior, 34(134), 81-105.

Delanty, G. (2001). Challenging Knowledge: The University in the Knowledge Society. Buckingham: Open University Press.

Deming, D. J., Goldin, C., Katz, L. F., & Yuchtman, N. (2015). Can Online Learning Bend the Higher Education Cost Curve? American Economic Review: Papers & Proceedings, 105(5), 496-501.

Didriksson, A., & Herrera, A. (2002). La transformación de la universidad mexicana. Diez estudios de caso en transición. Ciudad de Mexico: UAZ/Porrúa.

DiMaggio, P., & Powell, W. (1983). The iron cage revisited: Institutional isomorphism and collective rationality in organizational fields. American Sociological Review (48), 147-160.

Domínguez, P. (2022). AMLO pide a universidades regresar a clases presenciales; "ya se pasaron", dice. Milenio. 04.01.2022.

Enarson, H. L. (1973). University or Knowledge Factory? Science, 181(4103), 897.

Fay, D., & Lührmann, H. (2004). Current themes in organizational change. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 13(2), 113-119.

Fernández, E. (2009). El sistema-mundo del capitalismo académico: procesos de consolidación de la universidad emprendedora. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 17(21), 1-43.

Fernández, M. (2013). Aquí no hay química. La difícil relación del profesorado con la tecnología. Panorama Social, (18); 145-147.

Forbes. (2019, May 29). Claudia Sheinbaum anuncia una nueva universidad en CDMX. Forbes, p. 1.

Fuchs, C. (2013). Theorising and Analysing Digital Labour: From Global Value Chains to Modes of Production. The Political Economy of Communication, 2(1), 3-27.

Fuchs, C. (2017). Information Technology and Sustainability in the Information Society. International Journal of Communication (11), 2431-2461.

Fullan, M., & Donnelly, K. (2013). Alive in the Swamp: Assessing Digital Innovations in Education. NESTA.

Gaebel, M., Kupriyanova, V., Morais, R., & Colucci, E. (2014). E-learning in European Higher Education Institutions: Results of a Mapping Survey. European University Association.

Gibbons, M., Limoges, C., & Nowotny, H. (1994). The New Production of Knowledge: The Dynamics of Science and Research in Contemporary Societies. London: Sage.

Gil, M. (2012). La educación superior en México entre 1990 y 2010. Una conjetura para comprender su transformación. Estudios Sociológicos, 30(89), 549-566.

Harari, Y. N. (2018). 21 Lessons for the 21st Century. New York: Random House.

Herrera, M. Á. (2009). Disponibilidad, uso y apropiación de las tecnologías por estudiantes universitarios en México: perspectivas para una incorporación innovadora. Revista Iberoamericana de Educación, 48(6).

Jarvis, P. (2012). Universities and Corporate Universities. The Higher Learning Industry in Global Society. Abingdon/New York: Routledge.

Jessop, B. (2017). Varieties of academic capitalism and entrepreneurial universities. Higher Education, 73(6), 853-870.

Kent, R. (1993). Higher Education in Mexico: From Unregulated Expansion to Evaluation. Higher Education, 25(1) 73-83.

Kim, J. (2016, August 08). How Much Does Higher Ed Spend on IT? Inside Higher Ed.

Korte, L. (2020, April 02). Colleges spend thousands managing COVID-19 as they face an uncertain financial future. Statesman.

López, R. (2003). Formas de gobierno y gobernabilidad institucional: análisis comparativo de seis instituciones de educación superior. Ciudad de México: Asociación Nacional de Universidades e Instituciones de Educación Superior.

Marginson, S. (2013). The impossibility of capitalist markets in higher education. Journal of Education Policy (28).

Marshall, S. (2010). Change, technology and higher education: are universities capable of organizational change? ALT-J, Research in Learning Technology, 18(3), 179-192.

Mendoza, J. (coord.) (2022). Modelo y política de financiamiento que garantice la obligatoriedad y gratuidad de la educación superior (Documento de Trabajo). Mexico City: SES/SEP, May 31st.

Mokyr, J. (2002). The Gifts of Athena: Historical Origins of the Knowledge Economy. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Mora, J. G., & Vieira, M. J. (2009). Governance, organisational change and entrepreneurialism: is there a connection? In M. Shattock, Entrepreneurialism in Universities and the Knowledge Society. Diversification and Organizational Change in European Higher Education (pp. 74-99). Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill/UNESCO/Open University Press.

Moreno, C. I. (2014). Políticas, incentivos y cambio organizacional en la educación superior en México. Guadalajara: Universidad de Guadalajara-Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.

Moreno, C. I. & Cedillo D. (2022). Educación superior y ciencia en el PPEF 2023: otra oportunidad perdida, Nexos, September 21, 2022.

Muñoz, H. (2019a). Universidad pública: poder, relaciones y prácticas políticas. Perfiles Educativos, 40(165), 165-184.

Muñoz, H. (2019b). La burocracia universitaria. Revista de la Educación Superior, 48(189), 73-96.

OECD. (2018). Education at a Glance 2018: OECD Indicators, OECD Publishing, Paris,

OECD. (2019). The Future of Mexican Higher Education. Promoting Quality and Equity. OECD Publishing, Paris,

Oppenheimer, T. (2003). The Flickering Mind. Saving Education from the False Promise of Technology. New York: Random House.

Orlikowski, W., & Iacono, S. (2001). Research commentary: Desperately seeking the "IT" in IT research. A call to theorizing the IT artifact. Information Systems Research (12), 121-134.

Ortega, J. C., & Casillas, M. (2014). Perspectiva crítica del impacto de las TIC en el contexto educativo. In A. Ramírez & M. Casillas, Háblame de TIC. Tecnología digital en la educación superior (pp. 71-84). Córdoba, Argentina: Brujas.

Perelman, M. (2003). Intellectual Property Rights and the Commodity Form: New Dimensions in the Legislated Transfer of Surplus Value. Review of Radical Political Economics, 35(3), 304-311.

Pérez, M. A. (2018). Tecnologías de la mente. Las formas de la mediación del aprendizaje. In. Z. Navarrete & I. Rojas (eds.). Tecnologías de la información y la comunicación en educación superior. Políticas y usos didácticos (pp. 209-229). Mexico City: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.

Piña, A. A., & Bohn, L. (2014). Assessing online faculty: More than student surveys and design rubrics. Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 15(3), 25-34.

PULSO. (2020, June 03). Plantea rector de la UASLP que el 60-70% de las clases del próximo semestre se impartan en línea. PULSO.

Ramírez, A. & Casillas, M. (2014). Háblame de TIC: Tecnología digital en la educación superior. Córdoba Argentina: Brujas.

Rashdall, H. (1987). Universities of Europe in the Middle Ages (New edition). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Rubio, J. (2006). La política educativa y la educación superior en México 1995-2006. Un balance. Ciudad de México: Secretaría de Educación Pública/Fondo de Cultura Económica.

Scott Poole, M., & Van de Ven, A. (2004). Handbook of organizational change and innovation. New York: Oxford University Press.

Shattock, M. (2010). Managing Successful Universities (second edition). Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill/Open University Press.

Silas, J. C. (2013). Estado de la educación superior en América Latina: el balance público-privado. Ciudad de México: ANUIES/ITESO

Slaughter, S., & Leslie, L. (1997). Academic Capitalism: Politics, Policies and the Entrepreneurial University. Baltimore MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Slaughter, S., & Leslie, L. L. (2001). Expanding and Elaborating the Concept of Academic Capitalism. Organization, 8(2), 154-161.

Slaughter, S., & Rhoades, G. (2009). Academic Capitalism and the New Economy: Markets, State, and Higher Education. Baltimore MA: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Soete, L. (2005). Innovation, technology and productivity: Why Europe lags behind the United States and why various European economies differ in innovation and productivity. In M. Castells, & G. Cardoso (Eds.), The Network Society: From Knowledge to Policy. Washington DC: Johns Hopkins Center for Transatlantic Relations.

The Economist. (2014, June 28). The future of universities. The digital degree. The staid higher-education business is about to experience a welcome earthquake. The Economist.

Trowler, P., Saunders, M., & Bamber, V. (2012). Tribes and Territories in the 21st Century: Rethinking the significance of disciplines in higher education. New York: Routledge.

Waks, L. J. (2004). In the Shadow of the Ruins: globalization and the rise of corporate universities. Policy Futures in Education, 2(2), 278-300.

Zell, D. (2003). Organizational change as a process of death, dying and rebirth. Journal of Applied Behavioral Science (93), 73-96.

Zemsky, R., & Massey, W. F. (2004). Thwarted innovation: What happened to e-learning and why. West Chester, PA.: The Learning Alliance at the University of Pennsylvania.




How to Cite

de Vries, W., & Álvarez-Mendiola, G. (2024). The effects of ICT on Higher Education in Mexico. Journal of Comparative & International Higher Education, 16(2). Retrieved from



Empirical Article