Over 80 delegates have convened in Brussels to discuss the state of the art of higher education and research, with a special focus on the effects of privatisation and marketisation.
The 9th International Higher Education Conference is taking place in Brussels over the next three days with the participation of 80 delegates from all continents and more than 30 countries. This unique opportunity for representatives of higher education and research unions to discuss key trends in the sector and develop common strategies takes place every two years (the last session was hosted in 2012 in Buenos Aires, Argentina).
The three days of work will focus on the following topics:
- the state of higher education and research in different geographic areas of the world,
- massive online open courses (MOOCs) and their quality and accessibility
- the future of teaching: emerging issues
- building union membership in higher education and
- the growth of private higher education institutions
The discussions in the plenary room have revealed a common impression of higher education professionals as regards the situation that the sector is currently facing. In the words of one of the participants, the main question is whether “higher education will share the fate of primary and secondary education”.
Education International’s General Secretary, Fred van Leeuwen, has stated in his keynote speech that “we believe that higher education and research is a public service. It can fulfill its role of preserving, transmitting and advancing knowledge only if there is adequate public funding, if institutions are free from outside pressures, and if academics enjoy academic freedom and decent terms and conditions of employment”.