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7, Place de Fontenoy
75352 PARIS 07 SP, France


Nurturing the democratic debate.  
23-05-2003 4:30 pm Paris – The impact of globalization on the development of higher education in the developing countries will be the main subject of debate at the follow-up meeting of UNESCO’s Global Forum on International Quality Assurance, Accreditation and the Recognition of Qualifications in Higher Education, which will be held in Oslo (Norway) on May 26-27*.
Guest speakers at the meeting will include Kristin Clemet, Norway’s Minister of Education and Research, Lida Brito, the Minister of Higher Education in Mozambique, Pius Yasebasi Ng’Wandu, the Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education in Tanzania, Mireille Cossy, Counsellor, World Trade Organization (WTO), Francis Steier, a Senior Education Economist from the World Bank and John Daniel, UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Education.

With the forum participants, they will focus on how to make quality higher education more accessible, especially in the countries of the South, the rise of private education providers in this domain, what makes for a responsible partnership between higher education authorities and business, and the role of information and communication technology (ICT), notably the development of virtual universities.

The meeting will also provide the occasion for the launch of a new web-based publication: “The Virtual University: Models and Messages Learned from Case Studies” (http://www.unesco.org/iiep/). This report, by UNESCO’s Paris-based International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP) presents an overview of the different types of on-line institutions, how they operate, who they serve and the different issues policy-makers and education authorities must grapple with when developing virtual education services.

Aimed mainly at policy-makers and planners, the report stresses that while “both developed and developing countries could benefit from these new methods of education delivery […] countries or specific groups within countries could become even further disadvantaged” by the lack of ICT infrastructure.

The forum will also present a number of regional case studies, entitled: Trade in Higher Education Services in Sub-Saharan Africa; Quality Assurance as a Mechanism to Empower Academics in Developing Countries: the Case of Iran; and GATS and Higher Education: What is at Stake in India?

The forum, made up of higher education experts, policy makers, student bodies
and NGOs, was created last year as a complement to the General Agreement on Trade and Services, which in 1995 recognized education as a tradeable commodity. It’s task is to establish an international quality assurance framework and a code of good practice for providers of higher education, whose numbers and range of services are rapidly expanding.


*For more details, including the conference programme and the complete list of participants, consult the following websites: (http://www.ldv.no/unesco/ or (http://www.unesco.org/education/studyingabroad/index.shtml

Source Media Advisory N2003 - 45


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