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IAU Durban Conference, August 20-25, 2000
                                  11th General Conference: Universities as Gateway to the Future
                                                                               Opening Address

UNESCO's Opening Address
by
Noureini Tidjani-Serpos, Assistant Director-General, UNESCO


I. Introductory Remarks
It is an honour and privilege to be with you today to personally convey the greetings of the Director
General of UNESCO, Mr Koichiro Matsuura, to this illustrious gathering of university leaders and
personalities.
Mr Matsuura salutes the IAU on attaining 50 years of service to the academic world, as well as to
society at large. This is indeed a momentous achievement and one worthy of the attention it has drawn
which is witnessed by the wide attendance from your members and by the presence of your many
collaborators.
The Director General very deeply regrets that his previous engagements did not permit him to be with
you on this occasion. Thus, he charged me with reiterating the ongoing importance, which UNESCO
attaches to co-operation with the IAU and to the university community present today.
The audience at Durban is indeed a special one - you represent the core stakeholders in higher
education who have stalwartly supported UNESCO in its efforts to develop and strengthen this area of
the educational system throughout the past decades in order to meet the demands of social change.
The Director General, mindful of this long and loyal association, has asked me to reaffirm his high
regard for the academic community and to express his wish that this invaluable co-operation be
consolidated further in the years ahead.
A special tribute is due to Professor Mori, the IAU President whose exceptional talent for diplomacy is
matched by his total dedication to the principle of university excellence as a tool for social
development. His visionary leadership has been extremely influential both in the academic world and
beyond and his stewardship deserves only the highest praise.
It is true that IAU was launched by UNESCO 50 years ago to, as the Organization itself has eloquently
stated, to "re-knit the academic community" after the ravages of a world war.
Since 1950, a half century has passed - a period of enormous and far-reaching change, such as had
been imagined by only a very few of our pundits on the future.
50 years constitutes a life span: achievements can be reviewed for their success and failure. As in life,
no such period is to be defined in one or other terms because the complexity of experience and the
factors shaping this must be considered and weighed in the assessment.
UNESCO extends its warmest congratulations to IAU on this special golden anniversary. May the
next 50 years be equally impressive through the dynamism and success of its co-operative projects.
Tribute to South Africa
I would also like to seize this opportunity to thank the Government of the Republic of South Africa for
the warm welcome given to the participants of the 11th General Conference. This hardly comes as a
surprise to us, as we are aware of the primary importance accorded to the development of higher
education by post-Apartheid South Africa – The excellent contribution made by the special
commission on reform and renovation of higher education is still present in our minds. It is a source of
pride for Africa..
"University – Gate way to the future" is the theme of the 11th General Conference. Although we will
have our eyes turned towards the future, let us briefly revisit the origins of the university.
Alfonso Borrero Cabral gave an excellent presentation in his book "The University Today", published
in 1995.
Europe was the first - "the oldest institution was created in Naples in 1224" but we are aware that in
Spain, the University of Palencia was founded around 1210 and it disappeared at the end of the 16th
century. Since the meeting of Europe with the New World, institutions were founded in Santo
Domingo, 1538 and Mexico and Lima in 1551.
In the United States, William and Mary, the alma mater of Jefferson, dates from 1693. The
foundations of Harvard University began in 1701 (former seat of Connecticut College) and, in Canada,
the University of Laval was founded in 1852.
Although universities were originally reserved for the elite and for the training of clerics, which the
church was in need of, Europe’s influence was a determining factor in the development of higher
education on a global scale.
Each region left a distinct imprint on the characteristics of its universities and ventured to find its own
path. As Abraham Flexner said in 1930, a "university based on a uniform model has never been able to
be transplanted from one country to another".
This is particularly true for Japan where the first universities were created in Tokyo (1886) and Kyoto
(1897), inspired by French and German models.
In the Arab world, Al Azhar was founded as the oldest university but it was only between the years
1950 and 1970 that university-level activities were expanded.
As was the case with European and American universities, the oldest universities were religious.
European influence came later.
In Africa, the emergence of the university is a relatively recent phenomenon. Even though Timbuctoo
in Mali Empire was cited in 1100 as an important intellectual and religious centre, in the 1960s there
were only a dozen modern institutions of higher learning; nine in West Africa, one in East Africa and
two in Southern Africa (South Africa excepted).
Inspired by either the English or French model, these institutions were sub-regional.
It was the Golden Age of the university system. The Universities were owners of knowledge and had
renowned scholars in their midst. They made great contributions to science and culture. Some of them,
including Erasmus, constituted academic communities whose influence was exponential with regard to
their small numbers. It is therefore normal that some people wrote that the university was the crucible
of Europe.

The University Today
University – a tool of development
As agreed by all observers – the second half of the 20th century, which coincided with the existence of
the IAU, will remain in the history of education as an important period for the development of higher
education at the worldwide level.
Its importance for endogenous development, the promotion of democracy and the building of defences
of peace in peoples’ minds, the respect and protection of human rights and of fundamental liberties,
the preparation of youth and adults for our ever-changing world and the introduction of humanity
within the society of knowledge and of information, is unanimously recognized by industrialized
countries as well as by those of the developing world.
The more the socio-economic development becomes a tributary for knowledge and needs to lean on a
highly educated corps, the more the primary role of higher education becomes obvious in development
programmes and the organization of society.
As declared by the Head of a delegation during the World Conference on Higher Education, "Science
and education will determine the well-being of individuals and nations in the future". It is within the
framework of higher education that science and education meet, unite and fertilize to advance and
spread knowledge.
Further, through the training of education personnel, notably in organizational methods of education at
its different levels and varieties, higher education contributes in a decisive manner to the improvement
of the global educational system and to the progress of education for all, and throughout life. This has
been reaffirmed by the Dakar International Forum.
It is therefore paradoxical that, it is when the role of the universities in their capacity as a tool for
development has been reaffirmed, that the financing of university system in a great number of
countries is at its lowest.

The world of work and the academic world
The labour market is aware of the upheavals created by globalization of the economy and of
technology and also by the proliferation of networks: rapid evolution of job opportunities, frequent use
of networks by organizations, diffusion of the culture of quality, has become inseparable from
strategies for success in business, sharing of work time and the precariousness of workers’ status.
The student world has also evolved rapidly. The rate of enrolment continues to rise exponentially. The
number of enrolments at all levels of education climbed from 437 million in 1960, thus 14 per cent of
the population, to 990 million today, that is to say, 18 per cent of the population.
The numbers in developing countries indicate a particularly rapid growth. The proportion of students
in developing countries was 23.1 per cent in 1960 and has climbed up to 46.2 per cent in 1991. This
does not however prevent inequality, to access as observed from one region to another.
When we consider the number of students per 100,000 inhabitants, which indicates the general level of
higher education, in 1991 this number was over 5,000 in North America, over 2,500 for most of the
developing countries, but in sub-saharan Africa there were only 100 students per 100,000 inhabitants,
that is to say that a young person in the region of Africa has 17 times less of a chance to undertake
studies at the higher education level as compared to the one in an industrialized country.
University certificate has emerged as a veritable currency on the global employment market, an
important factor for social mobility and a real opportunity to obtain gratifying work.
From a social point of view, we observe a growing heterogeneity. In a number of countries, students
interrupt their studies to continue them later and often take university courses on a part-time basis. The
great concern about professional mobility and the necessity for reconversion are some of the causes
which stimulate the demand for training and the use of learning programmes designed to give a second
opportunity to adults.
Students who have completed their first year of higher education appear increasingly preoccupied with
their immediate integration into the professional world.
Are universities not becoming professional schools where critical reflection and multi-disciplinarity no
longer have a place, where students’ engagement will be relegated to memory?
Using merit as a main criteria of access to higher education is certainly a guarantee of its
democratization, particularly for women, minorities and individuals in the lowest economic categories.
However, the opening of the university to the greatest number of people has created a massification
rather than true democratization. A number of universities have consented to efforts aimed at
countering massification, however the contradiction exists between a higher education which is widely
accessible and the necessity to promote excellence and train the elite that the country needs.

The evolution of demand
The demand of higher education is diverse in its objectives.
For the young person out of secondary school, higher education is the path which may bring about
social promotion, employment and citizenship.
For the adult who comes back to his/her studies, higher education is a return to formal training and
structure and a means to redirect his/her career and to respond to new opportunities.
Methods of organization in higher education which are able to respond to the demand have become
more complex: classic university, part-time university, open and distance learning, summer university
and university for elderly citizens.
Beyond training, the institutions of higher learning have to contribute to the orientation of students,
pedagogic support and sometimes even, finding a position on the employment market.
Everywhere in the world the job market faces difficulties in absorbing graduates. Their knowledge and
scientific and technological capabilities are rapidly becoming obsolete. Instead of the initial training
received once for a life time, appears an education fine-tuned by lifelong learning.
The splitting of this demand works in favour of partnerships between education, industry and local and
regional authorities, as well as in favour of greater mobility between institutions. The need for the
student to be confronted to the world of work and real life within society has become an irreversible
reality.
Training is no longer the only competence of universities; If preparation for certificates and diplomas
remains a field where they have the know-how, increasingly, some specialized training programmes
and long-term training programmes are no longer their reserved fields of competence.
The competition is becoming greater between traditional institutions and private partners.
Is higher education a market?
Over the course of the years, training has become an immense market in which the student is simply a
client. If training is assimilated to a market, this raise the problem of quality: quality of teaching,
quality of academic programmes, quality of management of the institutions. Priority is given to the
economic role of university for competitiveness between training providers. In transforming
themselves into factories of knowledge and into agencies of distribution of graduates, universities are
exposed to great dangers. University will progressively abandon its moral and critical role in society,
with consequences on the development of the spirit of analysis and reflection on the part the student.
What will happen to the research function of the university – which is inseparable from training?
What will happen to the role of the university as a factor of social integration?

The research function
Let us return to the function of research, which remains one of the primary pillars of the university.
Research laboratories have taken the place of the renaissance academies of the 19th century in
consecrating themselves to pure science, to fundamental research with their own standard: that of
knowledge for the sake of knowledge. The latter is nevertheless inseparable from the technologies
with which it is closely linked.
In the context of globalization of the economy, finance and technology, scientific research, more than
ever, embraces technology and is measured by economic and financial rationality. As a result,
scientists have become less inclined to analyse the meaning of their activities, rather, they concentrate
more on the progress of their technology.
The university become progressively concerned with new information and communication
technologies. The Internet lends a feeling of participating in collective intelligence. These technologies
contribute to improving participation in democracy through the use of communication network
systems. In the university, this is a new way of immersing oneself in democratic discussion in present
time.
The tools and the systems of communication, as Joël de Rosnay said, make it possible to elevate
information from the base of an organization to the level of decision-makers. However, intermediaries
remain indispensable in the process of lifting of information.
Universities, researchers also have a decisive role to play in the evaluation of opportunities and threats
which arise from decisions and strategies made by advanced technologies tied to the conception,
implementation and management of scientific and technological policies.
If all the academics and scientists of the North are thus concerned with their own domains and
countries as a result of new technologies, this is not the case for academics from Southern countries -
who currently do not have access to these new technologies. Their autonomy is reduced and their
isolation is greater.

Life with networks
We depend more and more on networks for scientific laboratory work - this gives an impression of a
scientific community, a sort of classroom in which members are identical and are associated by
common characteristics.
Scientific co-operation networks reach beyond laboratories. They assume a more important role due to
technological sciences and they constitute a specific way of organizing scientific work, to their mode
of distribution and regulations, and through their mode of co-ordination. They are the socio-
technological organizations which link laboratories, businesses and administrations. The power of
scientific co-operation networks lies in their capacity to mobilize existing and dispersed resources
without building the larger entities which should capitalize on available resources locally.
Interdisciplinarity/transdisciplinarity
Over-specialization and the reduction to the quantifiable leads to blindness not only towards existence,
the concrete, the individual, but also towards the content, the global and the fundamental. They
contribute powerfully to democratic regression, where all problems which have become technical
escape ordinary citizens to the benefit of experts and where the power of a global vision, leaves free
reign to ideas divided in parcels.
University thinking which is essentially based on discipline teaches us to separate objects from their
environment but not to link them. This gives way to a form of training which cannot really develop
competencies.
In the context of market globalization, and in rare exceptions, large corporations are able to conceive
and elaborate answers on a global scale. By contextualizing and globalizing at the same time, we
obtain a fundamental qualification of the human aspect which was compartmentalized. This train of
global thought should be developed.
Relevant knowledge is that which is capable of putting all information in its proper context and taking
into account the total environment in which it exists. We cannot progress without the implementation
of an education where inter-disciplinarity and trans-disciplinarity do not make up the core of training.

Autonomy and development of excellence
The International Commission on Education for the 21st century considers the autonomy of
universities as a condition for their creativity. University relays its legitimacy on the creation and
diffusion of knowledge responding to its own criteria. The idea of excellence is therefore inscribed in
the tradition of universities.
The debates of the World Conference on Higher Education are closely linked to the notion of
autonomy, of the social responsibility and accountability of university.
When we measure the current socio-economic worth of the university, it seems obvious that no
institution of higher learning can shed its entrepreneurial character in a global society.
Universities, like all enterprises, are immersed in an economic, social, political and cultural
environment and cannot therefore extricate themselves from their social function.
They cannot use their autonomy to create an independence isolated from the global society. In a
society where economic and financial concerns may no longer be ignored, the real autonomy of
universities should be thought of in terms of partnership with other social actors in the field – this idea,
stemming from the experience of PRELUDE, merits attention.
"Learning to do" in the sense of the Jacques Delors Report refers not only to the acquisition of a
professional qualification, but also to a competency capable of confronting situations in the concrete
and collective actions of a group.
"Learning to be" is to know, to develop in a personal capacity, but also to contribute to the collective
development of a society.
Thus, university autonomy and academic freedom, accepted in partnership, find their raison-d’être in
relation to sustainable human development which implies not only access to knowledge but also the
possibility to choose how to live one’s own life in a full and satisfactory manner.

Quelques caractéristiques de notre monde actuel
Avant d’en arriver aux propositions pour l’avenir, elles transparaissent d’ailleurs déjà de notre brève
analyse de l’université d’aujourd’hui, je voudrais rappeler brièvement quelques-uns des défis les plus
importants auxquels notre monde est confronté, en mettant l’accent sur les pays en développement qui
demeurent le maillon le plus fragile de l’échiquier. Ces défis interpellent nos universités de par le
monde car, comme vous le savez, une chaîne ne vaut que ce que vaut son médaillon le plus faible.
La persistance d’une croissance démographique soutenue
Cela est vrai particulièrement pour les pays en développement, où l’explosion démographique va de
pair avec une pression environnementale de plus en plus forte, la multiplication des conflits ethniques,
et des déplacements de population, la montée des exclusions.
La croissance démographique dans les pays en développement se situait à moins de 1% par an de 1800
à 1940. Elle est passée à 2% entre 1950 et 1955 et 2,3% entre 1960 et 1965. Actuellement, le taux de
croissance démographique en Afrique se maintient autour de 3% avec plus de 50% de la population
composée de jeunes.
Si nous nous basons sur les chiffres de l’ONU qui fixent la croissance dans les pays en développement
à +1,9% entre 1995 et 2000 et + 1,7% entre 2000 et 2005, ces populations passeront de 4,1 milliards
en 1990 à 7,15 milliards en 2025.
La persistance de l’analphabétisme et de conditions sanitaires et de vie insuffisantes
Entre 1984 et 1989 le nombre d’habitants par médecin était d’environ 5000 pour les pays en
développement et de moins de 400 pour les pays industrialisés. Pour les PMA, les chiffres sont évalués
à 1 médecin pour 22600 habitants.
En Afrique, les cas de malnutrition sont en augmentation : 30% entre 1975 et 1983, 35% entre 1983 et
1985. Selon des chiffres de la FAO, plus de 500 millions de personnes étaient encore sous-alimentées
sur l’ensemble de la planète.
En ce qui concerne les maladies comme le SIDA, quand l’OMS chiffrait à 34 millions le nombre de
personnes contaminées dans le monde, 80% étaient répertoriées dans les pays en développement.
Dans le domaine de la scolarisation, on note en 1990 que 100 millions d’enfants, dont 60% de filles,
n’ont pas accès à un enseignement élémentaire. Près de la moitié des jeunes de 6 à 11 ans ne finissent
pas le cycle complet de l’école primaire.
Depuis 1980, dans 37 pays, la somme allouée à chaque élève du primaire a diminué de 25%. Or la
preuve est faite que l’éducation est le plus prodigieux facteur de développement – 4 années d’études
augmentent la productivité de 8 à 10%.
Augmentation du nombre de demandeurs d’emploi
Les statistiques indiquent qu’au rythme actuel de la croissance de la population dans les pays en
développement, en tenant compte du chômage et du sous-emploi particulièrement chronique dans le
monde rural, c’est plus d’un milliard d’emplois qu’il faudrait trouver en l’an 2000 pour assainir la
situation.
Utilisation des nouvelles technologies de l’information et de la communication
Dans les pays en développement, près de deux milliards d’individus ne sont pas reliés à un réseau
électronique et plus de 80% de la population de la planète, soit environ cinq milliards d’hommes et de
femmes n’ont pas accès aux moyens de télécommunication de base. C’est naturellement dans les pays
en développement que cette situation est la plus cruciale. On évalue l’accès à l’outil informatique à
4,3% pour le Pakistan, 2,4% au Soudan, 1,7% au Yemen.
Comment faire pour donner l’accès aux nouvelles technologies qui ouvrent les portes à l’enseignement
à distance et à Internet pour tous les hommes et toutes les femmes qui se trouvent exclus du
développement moderne?
Lorsqu’on pense qu’en 2010, 40% des opportunités de travail dans le monde seront basées sur la
technologie, comment les pays les plus démunis pourront-ils s’adapter à ce changement ? Comme le
disait Wolfenson « nous devons aller au dela de la rhétorique et vivre au rythme des possibilités
éblouissantes de notre monde. Des problèmes qui semblaient insurmontables peuvent en peu de temps
trouver une solution ». Dans le domaine des réseaux téléphoniques digitalisés, certains pays comme le
Botswana, le Chili, la Gambie, Maurice et Qatar on atteint un niveau de 100% de digitalisation de leur
système.
Un rapport de l’Union internationale des Télécommunications situe les Philippines au niveau de la
Finlande pour l’utilisation du téléphone mobile.
Il y’a peut être lieu d’être plus optimiste pour l’avenir si les progrès persistent.
Promotion de la démocratisation
Alors que dans les années 1960, beaucoup de régimes autoritaires des pays en développement
fondaient leur légitimité sur des promesses d’ordre et de croissance économique, les premières
conclusions d’une étude réalisée en 1992 sur 104 pays, indiquaient que dans un tiers des cas, les
libertés n’étaient que très peu ou très mal respectées. Toutefois, un nombre croissant de pays
semblerait s’acheminer vers de meilleurs résultats.
Importance du poids de la dette
Pour l’Afrique, le poids de la dette se chiffrait en 1999 à environ 350 milliards de dollars.
Nombreux sont les Etats dont les services de la dette absorbent plus de 50% des recettes.
Précarité de la paix
En Afrique par exemple, 15 à 20 conflits continuent de perturber la région. Ils sont d’ordre politique,
économique, social, culturel, religieux. On estime qu’en 1994-1995, ces conflits avaient coûté plus de
295 milliards de dollars

What proposals for the future?
The World Declaration adopted in October 1998 by the World Conference on Higher Education gave
us precise indications for the path to follow and values to uphold. I will not go into detail about the
different recommendations around which the structures put into place by the Member States and
UNESCO’s partners who played an active role in the success of the World Conference on Higher
Education are actively working in the framework of the strategy proposed by UNESCO.
Different points included in the programme of the 11th General Conference of the IAU are going the
same way
Promoting excellence
The university of the future should mobilize in order to maintain the quest for excellence. An
excellence which renders it capable of accepting competition at the world-level, while, being at the
same time open to the outside world. Through this process it will acquire an institutional efficiency
which will invigorate its own internal vitality. An excellence dominated by external pressures may
lead to fragility. From the first year of university, training should go hand-in-hand with an initiation to
research, to prepare the groundwork for innovation. The mission of university research cannot be
dissociated with training services and research for collectivity.
Promoting interdisciplinarity and trans-disciplinarity
Institutions must be opened up to the public, interdisciplinary activities promoted and creativity
stimulated. Fields of discipline, laboratories and common service areas must be opened up. Public
areas must be reorganized so that they are practical and are capable of overcoming traditional
divisions. A university objective should be to contribute to a more effective means of living together.
Within the context of relentless competition and detailed specialization, the university should create
and spread global quality and encourage responsible citizenship.
Global quality operates as a whole, taking into account all the components and all the dimensions of
human existence and life in society. It should pass through the implementation of concrete projects,
implicating all concerned actors (the state, businesses, universities, research and training institutions,
unions, associated movements). It should correspond to the cultural interests of the population
concerned in a long-term global perspective and take into account future generations.
A true culture of quality should be promoted, conceived as one of the key factors for success where
each function implements its own means to improve this quality.
Global quality permits universities to surpass strictly entrepreneurial rationality, to innovate through
promotion and valorisation of an expertise which takes into account technical expertise and also more
general competencies associated with an overall vision.
Rehabilitating culture
The university of tomorrow should rehabilitate culture, a multipluralistic culture which offers
possibilities in developing citizenship. It should be the integral link through excellence.
Responding to priority needs of populations
The university of tomorrow should make an effort to respond to all the needs of society and adapt its
organization and its methods to respond to the aspirations of the citizenry throughout their lives. It
should combine traditional methods with the potential of new information and communication
technologies.
Promoting education for all following the Dakar Forum
There is one other very important area that I must touch upon in these remarks on the Higher
Education sector - the impact of the Ten Year Assessment of the Education for All initiative which
took place in April 2000 in Dakar Senegal.
Now, many of you will recall the origin of EFA (as this is known) which dates back to the conference
held in Jomtien Thailand in 1990. There, Education ministers pledged a percentage of their GNPs to
promote Basic Education for All and to eradicate illiteracy by the end of the decade. Though falling
short of meeting the ambitious goals set ten years ago, the EFA movement has had spectacular impact
in terms of:
- mobilizing global action to improve education
- developing the knowledge base and national capacities to analyse their educational contexts and
needs
- demonstrating the necessary links amongst all levels and types of education as the world moves into
the Learning Society.
Furthermore, the EFA Assessment has identified new contexts and global issues which require a
system-wide response from Education. These should be noted:
- geo-political shifts in social economic development
- the advent of INTERNET
- the emerging economy which stresses entrepreneurial capacities
- developments in the Life Sciences with far-reaching demographic consequences
- significant movements and mixing of peoples and cultures
- the growing wealth/poverty gap.
From now on, the question will be : how is Education helping to resolve these issues? By extension,
how is Higher Education contributing to solutions?
These questions will be the focus of UNESCO's next Medium Term Strategy (2002-2008) and all our
partners will be invited to direct thier own special expertise towards this common objective.
What, then, will this mean for the universities of the world?
First of all, an active training policy of personnel should be implemented to support efforts towards
improvement and research.
Promoting world solidarity and mutual development
Secondly, the universities of tomorrow should promote co-development through partnerships which
give an increased value to the cultures of diverse communities.
Co-operation becomes thus a complementary mission to the three classic missions of higher education:
training, research and service to the collectivity.
In this view, the geographical axes should be active North/South and South/North, South/South and
North/North.
Development aid to the south represents thus a sort of revelation to the necessity of considering culture
as the key to the 21st century.
Community networks complemented by institutions will allow for the establishment of intermediary
and communication processes.
Reducing exclusion
It is the emergence of a university open to society, reducing all forms of exclusion and injustice, that
we should blossom in the 21st century. To this ideal UNESCO Shall mobilize all of its good will and,
particularly its privileged partners such as the IAU, the Fiftieth Anniversary of which, for which we
hope with all our hearts, will give birth to new perspectives.

Je souhaite plein succès à la 11e Conférence générale de l’AIU !

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Durban opening n. tidjani serpos

  • 1. IAU Durban Conference, August 20-25, 2000 11th General Conference: Universities as Gateway to the Future Opening Address UNESCO's Opening Address by Noureini Tidjani-Serpos, Assistant Director-General, UNESCO I. Introductory Remarks It is an honour and privilege to be with you today to personally convey the greetings of the Director General of UNESCO, Mr Koichiro Matsuura, to this illustrious gathering of university leaders and personalities. Mr Matsuura salutes the IAU on attaining 50 years of service to the academic world, as well as to society at large. This is indeed a momentous achievement and one worthy of the attention it has drawn which is witnessed by the wide attendance from your members and by the presence of your many collaborators. The Director General very deeply regrets that his previous engagements did not permit him to be with you on this occasion. Thus, he charged me with reiterating the ongoing importance, which UNESCO attaches to co-operation with the IAU and to the university community present today. The audience at Durban is indeed a special one - you represent the core stakeholders in higher education who have stalwartly supported UNESCO in its efforts to develop and strengthen this area of the educational system throughout the past decades in order to meet the demands of social change. The Director General, mindful of this long and loyal association, has asked me to reaffirm his high regard for the academic community and to express his wish that this invaluable co-operation be consolidated further in the years ahead. A special tribute is due to Professor Mori, the IAU President whose exceptional talent for diplomacy is matched by his total dedication to the principle of university excellence as a tool for social development. His visionary leadership has been extremely influential both in the academic world and beyond and his stewardship deserves only the highest praise. It is true that IAU was launched by UNESCO 50 years ago to, as the Organization itself has eloquently stated, to "re-knit the academic community" after the ravages of a world war. Since 1950, a half century has passed - a period of enormous and far-reaching change, such as had been imagined by only a very few of our pundits on the future. 50 years constitutes a life span: achievements can be reviewed for their success and failure. As in life, no such period is to be defined in one or other terms because the complexity of experience and the factors shaping this must be considered and weighed in the assessment. UNESCO extends its warmest congratulations to IAU on this special golden anniversary. May the next 50 years be equally impressive through the dynamism and success of its co-operative projects. Tribute to South Africa I would also like to seize this opportunity to thank the Government of the Republic of South Africa for the warm welcome given to the participants of the 11th General Conference. This hardly comes as a surprise to us, as we are aware of the primary importance accorded to the development of higher education by post-Apartheid South Africa – The excellent contribution made by the special commission on reform and renovation of higher education is still present in our minds. It is a source of pride for Africa.. "University – Gate way to the future" is the theme of the 11th General Conference. Although we will have our eyes turned towards the future, let us briefly revisit the origins of the university. Alfonso Borrero Cabral gave an excellent presentation in his book "The University Today", published in 1995. Europe was the first - "the oldest institution was created in Naples in 1224" but we are aware that in Spain, the University of Palencia was founded around 1210 and it disappeared at the end of the 16th century. Since the meeting of Europe with the New World, institutions were founded in Santo Domingo, 1538 and Mexico and Lima in 1551.
  • 2. In the United States, William and Mary, the alma mater of Jefferson, dates from 1693. The foundations of Harvard University began in 1701 (former seat of Connecticut College) and, in Canada, the University of Laval was founded in 1852. Although universities were originally reserved for the elite and for the training of clerics, which the church was in need of, Europe’s influence was a determining factor in the development of higher education on a global scale. Each region left a distinct imprint on the characteristics of its universities and ventured to find its own path. As Abraham Flexner said in 1930, a "university based on a uniform model has never been able to be transplanted from one country to another". This is particularly true for Japan where the first universities were created in Tokyo (1886) and Kyoto (1897), inspired by French and German models. In the Arab world, Al Azhar was founded as the oldest university but it was only between the years 1950 and 1970 that university-level activities were expanded. As was the case with European and American universities, the oldest universities were religious. European influence came later. In Africa, the emergence of the university is a relatively recent phenomenon. Even though Timbuctoo in Mali Empire was cited in 1100 as an important intellectual and religious centre, in the 1960s there were only a dozen modern institutions of higher learning; nine in West Africa, one in East Africa and two in Southern Africa (South Africa excepted). Inspired by either the English or French model, these institutions were sub-regional. It was the Golden Age of the university system. The Universities were owners of knowledge and had renowned scholars in their midst. They made great contributions to science and culture. Some of them, including Erasmus, constituted academic communities whose influence was exponential with regard to their small numbers. It is therefore normal that some people wrote that the university was the crucible of Europe. The University Today University – a tool of development As agreed by all observers – the second half of the 20th century, which coincided with the existence of the IAU, will remain in the history of education as an important period for the development of higher education at the worldwide level. Its importance for endogenous development, the promotion of democracy and the building of defences of peace in peoples’ minds, the respect and protection of human rights and of fundamental liberties, the preparation of youth and adults for our ever-changing world and the introduction of humanity within the society of knowledge and of information, is unanimously recognized by industrialized countries as well as by those of the developing world. The more the socio-economic development becomes a tributary for knowledge and needs to lean on a highly educated corps, the more the primary role of higher education becomes obvious in development programmes and the organization of society. As declared by the Head of a delegation during the World Conference on Higher Education, "Science and education will determine the well-being of individuals and nations in the future". It is within the framework of higher education that science and education meet, unite and fertilize to advance and spread knowledge. Further, through the training of education personnel, notably in organizational methods of education at its different levels and varieties, higher education contributes in a decisive manner to the improvement of the global educational system and to the progress of education for all, and throughout life. This has been reaffirmed by the Dakar International Forum. It is therefore paradoxical that, it is when the role of the universities in their capacity as a tool for development has been reaffirmed, that the financing of university system in a great number of countries is at its lowest. The world of work and the academic world The labour market is aware of the upheavals created by globalization of the economy and of technology and also by the proliferation of networks: rapid evolution of job opportunities, frequent use of networks by organizations, diffusion of the culture of quality, has become inseparable from
  • 3. strategies for success in business, sharing of work time and the precariousness of workers’ status. The student world has also evolved rapidly. The rate of enrolment continues to rise exponentially. The number of enrolments at all levels of education climbed from 437 million in 1960, thus 14 per cent of the population, to 990 million today, that is to say, 18 per cent of the population. The numbers in developing countries indicate a particularly rapid growth. The proportion of students in developing countries was 23.1 per cent in 1960 and has climbed up to 46.2 per cent in 1991. This does not however prevent inequality, to access as observed from one region to another. When we consider the number of students per 100,000 inhabitants, which indicates the general level of higher education, in 1991 this number was over 5,000 in North America, over 2,500 for most of the developing countries, but in sub-saharan Africa there were only 100 students per 100,000 inhabitants, that is to say that a young person in the region of Africa has 17 times less of a chance to undertake studies at the higher education level as compared to the one in an industrialized country. University certificate has emerged as a veritable currency on the global employment market, an important factor for social mobility and a real opportunity to obtain gratifying work. From a social point of view, we observe a growing heterogeneity. In a number of countries, students interrupt their studies to continue them later and often take university courses on a part-time basis. The great concern about professional mobility and the necessity for reconversion are some of the causes which stimulate the demand for training and the use of learning programmes designed to give a second opportunity to adults. Students who have completed their first year of higher education appear increasingly preoccupied with their immediate integration into the professional world. Are universities not becoming professional schools where critical reflection and multi-disciplinarity no longer have a place, where students’ engagement will be relegated to memory? Using merit as a main criteria of access to higher education is certainly a guarantee of its democratization, particularly for women, minorities and individuals in the lowest economic categories. However, the opening of the university to the greatest number of people has created a massification rather than true democratization. A number of universities have consented to efforts aimed at countering massification, however the contradiction exists between a higher education which is widely accessible and the necessity to promote excellence and train the elite that the country needs. The evolution of demand The demand of higher education is diverse in its objectives. For the young person out of secondary school, higher education is the path which may bring about social promotion, employment and citizenship. For the adult who comes back to his/her studies, higher education is a return to formal training and structure and a means to redirect his/her career and to respond to new opportunities. Methods of organization in higher education which are able to respond to the demand have become more complex: classic university, part-time university, open and distance learning, summer university and university for elderly citizens. Beyond training, the institutions of higher learning have to contribute to the orientation of students, pedagogic support and sometimes even, finding a position on the employment market. Everywhere in the world the job market faces difficulties in absorbing graduates. Their knowledge and scientific and technological capabilities are rapidly becoming obsolete. Instead of the initial training received once for a life time, appears an education fine-tuned by lifelong learning. The splitting of this demand works in favour of partnerships between education, industry and local and regional authorities, as well as in favour of greater mobility between institutions. The need for the student to be confronted to the world of work and real life within society has become an irreversible reality. Training is no longer the only competence of universities; If preparation for certificates and diplomas remains a field where they have the know-how, increasingly, some specialized training programmes and long-term training programmes are no longer their reserved fields of competence. The competition is becoming greater between traditional institutions and private partners. Is higher education a market? Over the course of the years, training has become an immense market in which the student is simply a client. If training is assimilated to a market, this raise the problem of quality: quality of teaching,
  • 4. quality of academic programmes, quality of management of the institutions. Priority is given to the economic role of university for competitiveness between training providers. In transforming themselves into factories of knowledge and into agencies of distribution of graduates, universities are exposed to great dangers. University will progressively abandon its moral and critical role in society, with consequences on the development of the spirit of analysis and reflection on the part the student. What will happen to the research function of the university – which is inseparable from training? What will happen to the role of the university as a factor of social integration? The research function Let us return to the function of research, which remains one of the primary pillars of the university. Research laboratories have taken the place of the renaissance academies of the 19th century in consecrating themselves to pure science, to fundamental research with their own standard: that of knowledge for the sake of knowledge. The latter is nevertheless inseparable from the technologies with which it is closely linked. In the context of globalization of the economy, finance and technology, scientific research, more than ever, embraces technology and is measured by economic and financial rationality. As a result, scientists have become less inclined to analyse the meaning of their activities, rather, they concentrate more on the progress of their technology. The university become progressively concerned with new information and communication technologies. The Internet lends a feeling of participating in collective intelligence. These technologies contribute to improving participation in democracy through the use of communication network systems. In the university, this is a new way of immersing oneself in democratic discussion in present time. The tools and the systems of communication, as Joël de Rosnay said, make it possible to elevate information from the base of an organization to the level of decision-makers. However, intermediaries remain indispensable in the process of lifting of information. Universities, researchers also have a decisive role to play in the evaluation of opportunities and threats which arise from decisions and strategies made by advanced technologies tied to the conception, implementation and management of scientific and technological policies. If all the academics and scientists of the North are thus concerned with their own domains and countries as a result of new technologies, this is not the case for academics from Southern countries - who currently do not have access to these new technologies. Their autonomy is reduced and their isolation is greater. Life with networks We depend more and more on networks for scientific laboratory work - this gives an impression of a scientific community, a sort of classroom in which members are identical and are associated by common characteristics. Scientific co-operation networks reach beyond laboratories. They assume a more important role due to technological sciences and they constitute a specific way of organizing scientific work, to their mode of distribution and regulations, and through their mode of co-ordination. They are the socio- technological organizations which link laboratories, businesses and administrations. The power of scientific co-operation networks lies in their capacity to mobilize existing and dispersed resources without building the larger entities which should capitalize on available resources locally. Interdisciplinarity/transdisciplinarity Over-specialization and the reduction to the quantifiable leads to blindness not only towards existence, the concrete, the individual, but also towards the content, the global and the fundamental. They contribute powerfully to democratic regression, where all problems which have become technical escape ordinary citizens to the benefit of experts and where the power of a global vision, leaves free reign to ideas divided in parcels. University thinking which is essentially based on discipline teaches us to separate objects from their environment but not to link them. This gives way to a form of training which cannot really develop competencies. In the context of market globalization, and in rare exceptions, large corporations are able to conceive and elaborate answers on a global scale. By contextualizing and globalizing at the same time, we
  • 5. obtain a fundamental qualification of the human aspect which was compartmentalized. This train of global thought should be developed. Relevant knowledge is that which is capable of putting all information in its proper context and taking into account the total environment in which it exists. We cannot progress without the implementation of an education where inter-disciplinarity and trans-disciplinarity do not make up the core of training. Autonomy and development of excellence The International Commission on Education for the 21st century considers the autonomy of universities as a condition for their creativity. University relays its legitimacy on the creation and diffusion of knowledge responding to its own criteria. The idea of excellence is therefore inscribed in the tradition of universities. The debates of the World Conference on Higher Education are closely linked to the notion of autonomy, of the social responsibility and accountability of university. When we measure the current socio-economic worth of the university, it seems obvious that no institution of higher learning can shed its entrepreneurial character in a global society. Universities, like all enterprises, are immersed in an economic, social, political and cultural environment and cannot therefore extricate themselves from their social function. They cannot use their autonomy to create an independence isolated from the global society. In a society where economic and financial concerns may no longer be ignored, the real autonomy of universities should be thought of in terms of partnership with other social actors in the field – this idea, stemming from the experience of PRELUDE, merits attention. "Learning to do" in the sense of the Jacques Delors Report refers not only to the acquisition of a professional qualification, but also to a competency capable of confronting situations in the concrete and collective actions of a group. "Learning to be" is to know, to develop in a personal capacity, but also to contribute to the collective development of a society. Thus, university autonomy and academic freedom, accepted in partnership, find their raison-d’être in relation to sustainable human development which implies not only access to knowledge but also the possibility to choose how to live one’s own life in a full and satisfactory manner. Quelques caractéristiques de notre monde actuel Avant d’en arriver aux propositions pour l’avenir, elles transparaissent d’ailleurs déjà de notre brève analyse de l’université d’aujourd’hui, je voudrais rappeler brièvement quelques-uns des défis les plus importants auxquels notre monde est confronté, en mettant l’accent sur les pays en développement qui demeurent le maillon le plus fragile de l’échiquier. Ces défis interpellent nos universités de par le monde car, comme vous le savez, une chaîne ne vaut que ce que vaut son médaillon le plus faible. La persistance d’une croissance démographique soutenue Cela est vrai particulièrement pour les pays en développement, où l’explosion démographique va de pair avec une pression environnementale de plus en plus forte, la multiplication des conflits ethniques, et des déplacements de population, la montée des exclusions. La croissance démographique dans les pays en développement se situait à moins de 1% par an de 1800 à 1940. Elle est passée à 2% entre 1950 et 1955 et 2,3% entre 1960 et 1965. Actuellement, le taux de croissance démographique en Afrique se maintient autour de 3% avec plus de 50% de la population composée de jeunes. Si nous nous basons sur les chiffres de l’ONU qui fixent la croissance dans les pays en développement à +1,9% entre 1995 et 2000 et + 1,7% entre 2000 et 2005, ces populations passeront de 4,1 milliards en 1990 à 7,15 milliards en 2025. La persistance de l’analphabétisme et de conditions sanitaires et de vie insuffisantes Entre 1984 et 1989 le nombre d’habitants par médecin était d’environ 5000 pour les pays en développement et de moins de 400 pour les pays industrialisés. Pour les PMA, les chiffres sont évalués à 1 médecin pour 22600 habitants. En Afrique, les cas de malnutrition sont en augmentation : 30% entre 1975 et 1983, 35% entre 1983 et 1985. Selon des chiffres de la FAO, plus de 500 millions de personnes étaient encore sous-alimentées sur l’ensemble de la planète. En ce qui concerne les maladies comme le SIDA, quand l’OMS chiffrait à 34 millions le nombre de
  • 6. personnes contaminées dans le monde, 80% étaient répertoriées dans les pays en développement. Dans le domaine de la scolarisation, on note en 1990 que 100 millions d’enfants, dont 60% de filles, n’ont pas accès à un enseignement élémentaire. Près de la moitié des jeunes de 6 à 11 ans ne finissent pas le cycle complet de l’école primaire. Depuis 1980, dans 37 pays, la somme allouée à chaque élève du primaire a diminué de 25%. Or la preuve est faite que l’éducation est le plus prodigieux facteur de développement – 4 années d’études augmentent la productivité de 8 à 10%. Augmentation du nombre de demandeurs d’emploi Les statistiques indiquent qu’au rythme actuel de la croissance de la population dans les pays en développement, en tenant compte du chômage et du sous-emploi particulièrement chronique dans le monde rural, c’est plus d’un milliard d’emplois qu’il faudrait trouver en l’an 2000 pour assainir la situation. Utilisation des nouvelles technologies de l’information et de la communication Dans les pays en développement, près de deux milliards d’individus ne sont pas reliés à un réseau électronique et plus de 80% de la population de la planète, soit environ cinq milliards d’hommes et de femmes n’ont pas accès aux moyens de télécommunication de base. C’est naturellement dans les pays en développement que cette situation est la plus cruciale. On évalue l’accès à l’outil informatique à 4,3% pour le Pakistan, 2,4% au Soudan, 1,7% au Yemen. Comment faire pour donner l’accès aux nouvelles technologies qui ouvrent les portes à l’enseignement à distance et à Internet pour tous les hommes et toutes les femmes qui se trouvent exclus du développement moderne? Lorsqu’on pense qu’en 2010, 40% des opportunités de travail dans le monde seront basées sur la technologie, comment les pays les plus démunis pourront-ils s’adapter à ce changement ? Comme le disait Wolfenson « nous devons aller au dela de la rhétorique et vivre au rythme des possibilités éblouissantes de notre monde. Des problèmes qui semblaient insurmontables peuvent en peu de temps trouver une solution ». Dans le domaine des réseaux téléphoniques digitalisés, certains pays comme le Botswana, le Chili, la Gambie, Maurice et Qatar on atteint un niveau de 100% de digitalisation de leur système. Un rapport de l’Union internationale des Télécommunications situe les Philippines au niveau de la Finlande pour l’utilisation du téléphone mobile. Il y’a peut être lieu d’être plus optimiste pour l’avenir si les progrès persistent. Promotion de la démocratisation Alors que dans les années 1960, beaucoup de régimes autoritaires des pays en développement fondaient leur légitimité sur des promesses d’ordre et de croissance économique, les premières conclusions d’une étude réalisée en 1992 sur 104 pays, indiquaient que dans un tiers des cas, les libertés n’étaient que très peu ou très mal respectées. Toutefois, un nombre croissant de pays semblerait s’acheminer vers de meilleurs résultats. Importance du poids de la dette Pour l’Afrique, le poids de la dette se chiffrait en 1999 à environ 350 milliards de dollars. Nombreux sont les Etats dont les services de la dette absorbent plus de 50% des recettes. Précarité de la paix En Afrique par exemple, 15 à 20 conflits continuent de perturber la région. Ils sont d’ordre politique, économique, social, culturel, religieux. On estime qu’en 1994-1995, ces conflits avaient coûté plus de 295 milliards de dollars What proposals for the future? The World Declaration adopted in October 1998 by the World Conference on Higher Education gave us precise indications for the path to follow and values to uphold. I will not go into detail about the different recommendations around which the structures put into place by the Member States and UNESCO’s partners who played an active role in the success of the World Conference on Higher Education are actively working in the framework of the strategy proposed by UNESCO. Different points included in the programme of the 11th General Conference of the IAU are going the same way Promoting excellence The university of the future should mobilize in order to maintain the quest for excellence. An
  • 7. excellence which renders it capable of accepting competition at the world-level, while, being at the same time open to the outside world. Through this process it will acquire an institutional efficiency which will invigorate its own internal vitality. An excellence dominated by external pressures may lead to fragility. From the first year of university, training should go hand-in-hand with an initiation to research, to prepare the groundwork for innovation. The mission of university research cannot be dissociated with training services and research for collectivity. Promoting interdisciplinarity and trans-disciplinarity Institutions must be opened up to the public, interdisciplinary activities promoted and creativity stimulated. Fields of discipline, laboratories and common service areas must be opened up. Public areas must be reorganized so that they are practical and are capable of overcoming traditional divisions. A university objective should be to contribute to a more effective means of living together. Within the context of relentless competition and detailed specialization, the university should create and spread global quality and encourage responsible citizenship. Global quality operates as a whole, taking into account all the components and all the dimensions of human existence and life in society. It should pass through the implementation of concrete projects, implicating all concerned actors (the state, businesses, universities, research and training institutions, unions, associated movements). It should correspond to the cultural interests of the population concerned in a long-term global perspective and take into account future generations. A true culture of quality should be promoted, conceived as one of the key factors for success where each function implements its own means to improve this quality. Global quality permits universities to surpass strictly entrepreneurial rationality, to innovate through promotion and valorisation of an expertise which takes into account technical expertise and also more general competencies associated with an overall vision. Rehabilitating culture The university of tomorrow should rehabilitate culture, a multipluralistic culture which offers possibilities in developing citizenship. It should be the integral link through excellence. Responding to priority needs of populations The university of tomorrow should make an effort to respond to all the needs of society and adapt its organization and its methods to respond to the aspirations of the citizenry throughout their lives. It should combine traditional methods with the potential of new information and communication technologies. Promoting education for all following the Dakar Forum There is one other very important area that I must touch upon in these remarks on the Higher Education sector - the impact of the Ten Year Assessment of the Education for All initiative which took place in April 2000 in Dakar Senegal. Now, many of you will recall the origin of EFA (as this is known) which dates back to the conference held in Jomtien Thailand in 1990. There, Education ministers pledged a percentage of their GNPs to promote Basic Education for All and to eradicate illiteracy by the end of the decade. Though falling short of meeting the ambitious goals set ten years ago, the EFA movement has had spectacular impact in terms of: - mobilizing global action to improve education - developing the knowledge base and national capacities to analyse their educational contexts and needs - demonstrating the necessary links amongst all levels and types of education as the world moves into the Learning Society. Furthermore, the EFA Assessment has identified new contexts and global issues which require a system-wide response from Education. These should be noted: - geo-political shifts in social economic development - the advent of INTERNET - the emerging economy which stresses entrepreneurial capacities - developments in the Life Sciences with far-reaching demographic consequences - significant movements and mixing of peoples and cultures - the growing wealth/poverty gap. From now on, the question will be : how is Education helping to resolve these issues? By extension, how is Higher Education contributing to solutions?
  • 8. These questions will be the focus of UNESCO's next Medium Term Strategy (2002-2008) and all our partners will be invited to direct thier own special expertise towards this common objective. What, then, will this mean for the universities of the world? First of all, an active training policy of personnel should be implemented to support efforts towards improvement and research. Promoting world solidarity and mutual development Secondly, the universities of tomorrow should promote co-development through partnerships which give an increased value to the cultures of diverse communities. Co-operation becomes thus a complementary mission to the three classic missions of higher education: training, research and service to the collectivity. In this view, the geographical axes should be active North/South and South/North, South/South and North/North. Development aid to the south represents thus a sort of revelation to the necessity of considering culture as the key to the 21st century. Community networks complemented by institutions will allow for the establishment of intermediary and communication processes. Reducing exclusion It is the emergence of a university open to society, reducing all forms of exclusion and injustice, that we should blossom in the 21st century. To this ideal UNESCO Shall mobilize all of its good will and, particularly its privileged partners such as the IAU, the Fiftieth Anniversary of which, for which we hope with all our hearts, will give birth to new perspectives. Je souhaite plein succès à la 11e Conférence générale de l’AIU !