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UNESCO World Conference on Higher Education

06 July 2009

The 2009 Unesco World Conference on Higher Education started yesterday in Paris. Under the title The New Dynamics of Higher Education and Research for Societal Change and Development it reflects on new developments in the academic sphere since the first conference (1998). Back then, UNESCO identified the need and sought golbal commitment for equity of advanced educational opportunity for all citizens, modernized systems and institutions, and enhanced social relevance and links to the world of work.

Now UNESCO has listed seven new dynamics. The report prepared for the conference, Trends in Global Higher Education: Tracking an Academic Revolution, notes an 'explosive growth of both traditional institutions and new providers' which, together with an equally explosive globalization, regional integration, and ever-increasing mobility of students, have made the need for quality assurance and internationally recognized standards among and between nations more urgent. Further, it notes that 'the three missions of the modern university - teaching, research and public service - live in constant tension with each other at different levels' and that 'the academic profession is under stress as never before'.

Importantly, the Report on the UNESCO Forum on Higher Education, Research and Knowledge 2001-2009 identifies the need for 'research on research' to assess its impact and role in the knowledge society.

The bad news is that there is no specific attention to Higher Arts Education at the conference - nor to any other specific field of higher education, for that matter. The good news is that University World News is covering the conference from day to day.

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