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May 19, 2022

UNESCO World Conference in Barcelona to shape the future of Higher Education

- The third UNESCO World Conference on Higher Education is taking place from May 18 to May 20, 2022, in Barcelona, Spain, to chart a renewed vision for higher education in the next decade.

UNESCO Higher Education

Barcelona, Spain, May 18, 2022 — There are 235 million students enrolled in higher education worldwide. This number has more than doubled in the last 20 years and will likely double again over the coming decade.

Faced with such growing demand, how can we ensure quality higher education adapted to contemporary challenges such as sustainable development? How can international academic mobility be supported? What lessons can we learn from the COVID-19 pandemic? These questions will be at the heart of the World Conference.

More than 1,500 participants are attending the event coming from universities, governments, multilateral agencies, the private sector, and civil society to share their experiences and ideas to draw a joint global roadmap for the coming decade.

UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay, the Spanish Minister of Universities, Joan Subirats, the President of the Generalitat of Catalonia, Pere Aragonès, and the Mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, opened the Conference.

• Democratizing access

Disparities persist despite a remarkable 200% increase in enrolment in 20 years in sub-Saharan Africa, Central Asia, and South and South-East Asia. As a result, between 40% and 50% of an age group are enrolled in higher education in East and South-East Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean. In Central and South Asia, however, only 25% are registered. And the figure drops to 9% for sub-Saharan Africa.

Expanding access to education is necessary, but it has significant logistical and budgetary implications for governments, particularly developing countries. There has been a trend toward increasing tuition fees and other indirect costs in many places, burdening the finances of students and their families.

• Increasing student mobility

Six million of the global student population are studying abroad, and this number will rise to 8 million by 2025. But international frameworks are needed to support mobility, an academic asset for students and a boost to knowledge sharing and mutual understanding.

At the Barcelona Conference, UNESCO will call on its Member States to pursue ratification of the Global Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications concerning Higher Education, the first UN treaty to strengthen inter-university cooperation and cross-border academic research. Fourteen states have already ratified the text, and only seven more signatures are needed to enter it into force.

• Learning from the pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic challenged higher education systems resulting in learning losses and increased inequalities. However, it has also shown that higher education systems with significant public funding are more resilient in the face of a global crisis and better able to ensure continuity of provision and inclusion of the most important number of students. The Conference will draw lessons from the past two years to design more robust and resilient systems.

To develop the roadmap for higher education to 2030, the Conference will focus on the following themes: (1) Impact of COVID-19 on Higher Education; (2) Higher Education and the Sustainable Development Goals; (3) Inclusion; (4) Quality and Relevance of Programmes; (5) Academic Mobility; (6) Governance; (7) Financing; (8) Data and Knowledge Production; (9) International Cooperation and (10) The Futures of Higher Education.

The International Council for Science (ICS) and the International Association of Universities (IAU) are among the conference partners, as well as the Global Universities Network for Innovation (GUNI/ACUP) and the Catalan Association of Public Universities.

Source: UNESCO


— The Editor is a UNESCO IIEP (International Institute for Educational Planning, Paris) trained “Independent Appraiser” of Education Sector Plans. StumbleUpon reddit Facebook Google Plus Tweet This Seed This on Newsvine

Edited & Posted by the Editor | 6:27 AM | Link to this Post

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