Sunday, July 12, 2009

Higher education is a public good, not a service

150 governments agree that higher education is a public good, not a service. See the lead article of the last issue of the World University News!
- quotes:
"UNESCO held its second World Conference on Higher Education in Paris last week. The biggest event on the global higher education calendar since the first world conference in 1998, the four-day meeting attracted 1,200 delegates from 150 countries. They debated current and future issues in higher education in the areas of social responsibility, access, equity and quality, internationalisation, regionalisation and globalisation, and learning, research and innovation. There was also a special focus on Africa. As the official media representative at the conference, University World News covered all the key events." (...)
"The 'public good' debate followed numerous political squabbles over the "commodification" of higher education. At its heart is the wish by several developed countries to export educational provision without facing barriers to entry in foreign markets. They have pushed other countries to sign into effect education's inclusion in GATS, which would allow private providers to set up freely in those countries.
Developing countries fear their governments will be constrained from regulating higher education. For instance, there has been concern that governments would be required under GATS to subsidise foreign education providers on the same basis as they fund local public universities or violate GATS anti-discriminatory clauses." (...)
"Use of the words 'public good' appeared in the first draft communiqué published on 26 June. It was replaced with 'public service' in the second draft - which also shunted the section on social responsibility in higher education down the list of themes - and then popped back up again in the final communiqué as the very first point: "Higher education as a public good is the responsibility of all stakeholders, especially governments," the communiqué says.
Minister after minister supported this stance and, sources said, India was insistent on this in the drafting group. India does not currently allow foreign higher education providers but the current government will present a bill to parliament to allow them in under certain conditions, an Indian delegate told the conference." (...)
"Speaking on behalf of the Latin American and Caribbean group within UNESCO, Argentina's Minister for Education Juan Carlos Tedesco said: "We have to stress the idea that education and knowledge is part of the public good which each and every citizen has a right to.""

1 comment:

teach said...

Its really a great initiative of UNESCO. Developing countries should provide more budget and take decisions to have a quality education for all its students.
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