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Plenary I - P. Henriquez Guajardo


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  • 1. International Association of Universities14th General ConferenceSan Juan de Puerto Rico28 de noviembre del 2012Higher Education and the Global Agenda: Alternative Pathways tothe FuturePedro Henríquez-Guajardo, DirectorUNESCO International Institute for Higher Education in LatinAmerica & the Caribbean (IESALC). 1. At the 2009 World Conference on Higher Education, UNESCO and its Member States were called to pursue capacity building for quality assurance in higher education in developing countries and to put in place and strengthen appropriate quality assurance systems and regulatory frameworks with the involvement of all stakeholders. So far, the sector has had an unprecedented growth in the rate of higher education participation worldwide -19 % of the age cohort in 2000 to 26 % in 2007. Global enrolments have increased fivefold in less than forty years1. Global (world) enrolment in 2000 was 100 million students. The number went up to 165 millions in 2011 and it is estimated that it would go up to 263 million in 2025. For the region, similar statements may be made. LAC had 7,0 million in 1990. Following global trends, the number went up to 19,7 million as registered in 2008. Currently, the region (37 countries) concentrates 12,4 % of global enrolment2 in higher education.1 UNESCO. Education Sector Technical Note on Quality Assurance in Higher Education, Draft to be approvedby DIR/ED/THE. Working document, 2012.2 Henríquez, P. Trends of Internationalization in Latin American and the Caribbean. Current role of iESALC,Presentation,. IV Latin American & Caribbean Conference on Higher Education Internationalization.Universidad de La Salle, Bogotá, Colombia, November, 2012. 1
  • 2. 2. Likewise, the situation has also dramatically shifted regarding higher education providers and institutions. The State is no longer the main provider, especially due to the decrease on public financial sustainability of the system, which if not the most important reason it has affected its capacity to respond to the growing demand within each country, mainly in developing regions (Africa, Arab Subregion, Asia and the Pacific and LAC). On the contrary, there has been rapid expansion in the number and variety of providers of different and diverse origins (private institutions, open universities, cross-border providers). In LAC, for instance the number of HEI has gone beyond 10.000 institutions (2011, national reports) of which a 37% (3864 institutions) are universities3. The rest belongs to other institutional conditions; they are not defined as universities but they behave and contribute within the tertiary education sector. 3. Looking at the future role of Universities, special attention must be given to the levels of coverage reached in several regions of the world both in basic and secondary education. Mass education at every level is of particular significance. With more children completing primary education, the demand for secondary education is growing. This fact despite that “regional average, however, hides substantial differences between countries”. Secondary education is the natural pathway to higher education. Therefore much attention must be paid not only to its net coverage but also to its contents. Some asymmetries are present in identified situations throughout the developing world. In any event, with some3 Brunner J.J. and Ferrada, R. Educación Superior en Iberoamérica. Informe 2011. CINDA/ Universia. RILeditores, Santiago de Chile, 2011. 2
  • 3. exceptions, it is expected that net coverage will reach higher levels in the medium term and natural outcomes of such situation will press demand on HEI, especially universities. In 2010, coverage lowest level in basic education was 76% in Africa but the world average for developing nations at the regional level was 90%. The same year, the average for developed regions was 97% 4. Furthermore, increasing graduate numbers will require higher education to be more attractive to groups that are currently under-represented (low-income backgrounds, ethnics and migrant groups). Purposes of inclusion, equity and employability include making courses as relevant as possible to the needs of the labour market and creating new and more flexible and consistent ways to study (including distance, modular, or part- time learning). The situation will dramatically change during next 15 years when the demographic bond will reach its peak and gradually decrease for the population will age, in accordance to WB estimates. Consistency and consolidation will be two major targets for higher education institutions, especially universities. 4. Agreements contained in 2009 WHEC declaration signed by Member States have been very clear when referring to higher education as a public good; a human right that must be exerted by any citizen with no discrimination and whose provision is a shared responsibility by the State, higher education institutions, and the society. Our duties in UNESCO as a clearing house ideas and provider of institutional capacity deal with permanent application of a regulatory framework; quality and quality assurance of higher education in4 United Nations. The Millenium Development Goals. Report 2012. Goal 2 Achieve universal primaryeducation. Page 16. 3
  • 4. developing countries; fostering international collaboration; propelling knowledge transference through networks; fostering mobility and international exchange of students and academic/ researchers and, proposing strategies to oppose negative consequences of brain drain and other recommendations5. 5. One of the key risks of expanding and diversifying provision is potential declines in quality. In response to mass higher education our responsibility is to deal with the diversity of educational offerings emerged; different types of institutions with different lengths of study programmes and varying modes of instructional delivery. All of them to fit fast enrolment expansion and increasing demand for higher education. Special attention must be given to the rapid growth of private and for profit as well as transborder providers in higher education which in some countries are able to receive huge amounts of increasing enrolment easily overcoming public and traditional providers. UNESCO/OECD have produced significant information resources on this topic in “Guidelines for quality Provision in Cross-Border Higher Education”. 6. I am quoting here an interesting (and unavoidable) statement containing another very significant part of the reasons that may explain the introduction of new ways of relationships and institutional development that higher education institutions should pursue to deal with higher education at the beginning of XXI st century. “The value of trade in higher education was estimated at about US$30 billion in 1999 accounting for 3% of5 UNESCO. Comunique of the 2009 World Conference on Higher Education. The new Dynamics of HigherEducation and Research for Societal Change and Development . París, 5-8 July, 2009 4
  • 5. the total service trade in OECD countries (Larse, OECD 2002). By 2005 education spending had grown to around US$ 2,5 trillion. In 2006 the private higher education market was estimated to be worth US$ 400 billion in the world. Another aspect of the cross border revolution can be seen with the increasing creation of virtual learning environments, on line learning and e-universities”6. In relationship to the latter, UNESCO and the Commonwealth of learning have developed some orientations contained in “Quality Assurance for Distance Higher Education Institutions and Programmes”. 7. The continuation of a relatively successful route which has been followed since the introduction of MDG’s and EFA’s goals to be aimed after the year 2014 and beyond deserves a strategic construction of stages and steps in the particular case of Higher Education. We do believe that main lines of performance cross political and institutional issues concerning all actors involved. The former ideas I have presented concentrate some main factors which will have to be faced to find a reasonable and feasible response to XXI st century Higher Education challenges. To be more accurate I would like to call to your attention regarding current duties of the Organization whose consolidation, we believe, may help us to find a comprehensive way of analyzing and building a collective manner for universities to sustain and strengthen their role as “major stakeholders and vital contributors” for educational development. 8. National systems on HE and Higher Education Institutions must take as a key responsibility that they are expected to6 UNESCO Education Sector Technical Notes…idem Page 2, Draft, 2012. 5
  • 6. change and “transform themselves to cope with the emerging knowledge revolution”.7 In the future, the challenge is to address efforts towards the findings of the best institutional position to deal with education and higher education profound changes. From our standpoint, basically it will be necessary to conceptualize tertiary and university education associated to main functions of the level and to agree on regulatory frameworks both national and international for quality, quality assurance and accreditation (following Prof. Serageldin we have to caution “against the wrong business model in HE and also caution against turning away from the broader socio-cultural mission of the university towards the profitable and the excessive service of economic interests”)8. 9. The trends to concentrate both conceptual as well as practice in quality reflects the progressive shift in international discourse and practice over the last 15 years. Many initiatives have been started, several new bodies and agencies created and methods and instruments introduced. Regarding our participation, important strides have been taken with UNESCO´s six Conventions on the Recognition of Qualifications (Studies, Titles and Diplomas), which are legally binding instruments aimed at promoting and facilitating academic mobility via the recognition of qualifications from foreign higher education systems. However not all the countries who firstly ratified such agreements have maintained their commitment to fully apply them. Current7 Serageldin, I. Tomorrow’s Universities and the Seven Pillars of Knowledge Revolution. Peliminary Draft.Final IAU University Paper, =ctober, 2012.8 Serageldin, I. ibid 6
  • 7. asymmetries and dispersion of higher education systems and institutions may explain such attitude; it seems like if actors “react depending upon immediate effects”, with no strategic purpose and design at all. Accordingly, it is mandatory to face the completion and consolidation of regional and global processes to reach higher stages of recognition. Establishing robust national quality assurance mechanisms for higher education are key components of successfully implementing the Conventions, since they build international confidence in the rigor of a country’s HE institutions and qualifications thereby significantly increasing recognition and inward and outward mobility of learners, learning and labour.9 10. During the next decade, UNESCO will continue to support Member state’s efforts to build higher education quality assurance systems based on a spectrum of accountability tools. UNESCO will use its clearinghouse function to share quality assurance and accountability tools through policy advice, advocacy and capacity building activities. Main targets will be conceptualization and consolidation of the notion of quality in HE and strengthen capacity building measures for existing QA agencies, capacity building in Member States where are no QA arrangements in place and work with networks of QA, in order to develop common language, share good practise and be mutually supportive of respective initiatives.9 UNESCO. Education Sector Technical Note on Quality Assurance in Higher Education, Draft to be approvedby DIR/ED/THE. Working document, 2012, p.2 and in continuation p.4 7