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Higher education and development: tackling 21st century challenges (WP1331)


In partnership with the Department for International Development (DFID) and with support from Pearson.

The key objective of this forum was to develop a clear vision of what Higher Education (HE) should deliver for developing countries in the 21st century and to identify and articulate strategies for realising that vision.

The forum provided a unique opportunity for essential and compelling debate, attended by high profile innovators, policy-makers, leaders within business and education and researchers from within the UK and across developing nations.

Discussions highlighted the fundamental necessity of coherent global and national policies to link access, education and employment in order to address a wide ranging, complex and inter-dependent set of challenges.

Participants agreed that education needs to be locally owned, relevant and highly adaptable whilst contributing to the achievement of international goals for development, and that 21st century universities must reach beyond bricks and mortar to enable greater access for a wider group of students, whilst remaining adaptive and affordable.

It is clear that wealth creation is directly linked to HE, in its broadest sense, but its realisation depends on complicated and symbiotic factors that require a systems approach involving a range of partnerships.

The forum outputs are summarised as a set of false dichotomies that stakeholders must address in order to achieve the portfolio education that most suits 21st century needs.

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