High hopes are pinned on new technologies to staunch the brain drain of academics from developing to industrialised nations. But funding remains a serious drawback to sustainability, the UNESCO World Conference on Higher Education heard last week. While pilot projects do get off the ground, they are not always able to stay in the air.
Student mobility patterns have changed dramatically over the past10 years, according to research by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics.
150 governments attending the UNESCO World Conference on Higher Education in Paris last week unanimously adopted a communiqué acknowledging higher education as a 'public good' and calling on countries not to disinvest in the sector during the global economic crisis, among other issues raised.
An ambitious plan for the creation of 1,000 university research chairs a cross Africa to offset and reverse the brain drain was proposed by the International Association of University Presidents.
Student groups from around the world met on the margins of the World Conference on Higher Education with the aim of establishing a global student organisation that could become a powerful lobbying force to advance the student perspective at international education meetings.
Some of the smallest countries in the South Pacific and Caribbean have been internationally-oriented for decades and their regional universities are a model closely studied by universities round the world seeking to internationalise and build regional alliances, the UNESCO World Conference on Higher Education heard last week.
Information and communication technologies are a high-potential pedagogical tool - but they are also exacerbating existing discrepancies. The high cost of broadband and lack of funds to maintain systems or for teacher training deprive many higher education institutions in the developing world from fully-benefiting from the ICT revolution, says a Commonwealth of Learning background paper for the 2009 UNESCO World Conference on Higher Education.
An institute to train university leaders from across Africa in governance and management is to be created in West Africa, it was announced at a Round Table Africa at the 2009 UNESCO World Conference on Higher Education. Africa was a major focus of the global event.
While much progress has been made in African higher education in the past decade, there is an urgent need for comprehensive transformation to enhance its relevance and responsiveness to the realities of countries, the UNESCO World Conference on Higher Education agreed. Delegates called for regional quality assurance, greater collaboration, more differentiated systems and more private funding in stepped-up efforts to develop the continent's universities.
Education ministers must push hard for counter-cyclical spending on higher education to avoid damaging funding cuts to operating and research budgets that will put pressure on institutions to raise fees, the Director-General of UNESCO Koïchiro Matsuura said at the opening ceremony of the 2009 World Conference in Higher Education on Sunday last week.
The health of a country's research is inseparable from the fortunes of its researchers and the areas within which they work. And numbers matter. Research production is roughly indexed on the volume of staff - in countries and institutions - and the bigger that is, the greater the diversity of topics and approaches.