Higher education and the challenge of the youth bulge for the Commonwealth

This year's Annual Conference, Higher education and the challenge of the youth bulge for the Commonwealth: whither access and equity? will focus on the growing crisis in higher education provision across many Commonwealth countries, as countries struggle to meet the demand of the ever-increasing number of young people exiting secondary schools. The key areas that will be explored in relation to the challenges of access and equity include: 
  • Alternative approaches to delivery
  • The employability of graduates
  • Maintaining quality assurance
  • Affordability and financing
  • The growth of the private sector
  • Open education resources, including MOOC's
  • The potential of international partnerships.
So rapid has been the growth of provision over the last decade or so, that a real gap in understanding has emerged concerning what might work, and what might not. An outcome of this conference will be the identifcation of areas of uncertainty, the research needed to address these and how such research might be developed and financed. 

Keynote speaker: The Rt Hon Baroness Valerie Amos PC - Valerie is the current Director of SOAS in 2015 and previously Undersecretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator at the UN. She also served as Chief Executive of the Equal Opportunities Commission and was an adviser to the Mandela Government on leadership and change management issues. Baroness Amos was the first black woman to sit in the British Cabinet as Secretary of State for International Development and served as UK High Commissioner to Australia. 

Other speakers include: 
  • Professor Brenda Gourley: the former Vice Chancellor of both The Open University in the UK and the University of KwaZulu in South Africa. She was Chair of the Association of Commonwealth Universities.
  • Dr Michael Kerrison: Director Education Development and Innovation at University of London International Programmes.
  • Dr John Lesparance: Education Specialist at the Commonwealth of Learning and Manager of the Virtual University of the Small States of the Commonwealth and is a member of the Seychelles Qualification Authority Board. 
  • Dr Deodat Maharaj: Deputy Secretary General, Commonwealth Secretariat, and previously Chief of Staff in the UNDP's Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific. 
  • Professor Sugata Mitra: Professor of Educational Technology at the School of Education at Newcastle University. He pioneered the 'Hole in the Wall' computer experiment and his work on the 'School in the Cloud, a creative online space where children from all over the world can gather to answer 'big questions', share knowledge and benefit from help and guidance from online educators led to him being given the US$1m TED Prize in 2013 in recognition of his work. 
  • Dr Mary Stiasny OBE: Pro-Vice Chancellor (International) at the University of London. She provides academic leadership for more than 50,000 students in 180 countries studying for a University of London Degree.
  • Professor John Wood: Secretary-General, Association of Commonwealth Universities, and previously Chief Executive of the Central Laboratory of the Research Councils. 
To attend register via Eventbrite

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