1 Priorities and Challenges for Higher Education in Suriname Prof.dr. Henry R. Ori Dinsdag 28 mei 2013 Landenstrategie VLIRUOS
2 AGENDA Higher incomes, more qualified manpower The current state affairs The weak points in our HE-Systems Curriculum reforms Reform focus Development of Science Technology and Innovation Brain drain Social responsibility Accreditation Internalization of the curricula Conclusions Recommendations
3 Higher capita income and the need for more highly qualified people The demand for Higher Education in Latin America and the Caribbean is being actively influenced by two powerful factors. On the one hand, as has been noted, due to the expansion of per capita income that has accelerated in the region during the last five years; on the other, due to the need that these countries experience for producing more highly-qualified people, together with more scientific and technical knowledge in order to thus make their current economic achievements more sustainable. Both factors combined have led to a growing coverage of Higher Education, especially for universities for those 18 to 24 year-old. In effect, from 1985 to 2010, the gross enrolment rate for tertiary education (UNESCO Institute for Statistics UIS) grew from 17% to more than 36% as an average for the region.
4 The current state of affairs Suriname needs more academically skilled people in the near future (4-6% of the workingforce has a HE-degree). Higher education institutions in Suriname should be strengthened (institutional en capacity-wise) because of their low performances, unrealistic budget, lack of a subsidy system as a policy instrument, lack of study financing, poor assessments of students, lack of good communication between students and teachers, insufficient use of technology in education, and the objectives and the contents of HE are insufficiently attuned to social demands and the needs of the labor market.
7 The weak points in our HE-System We need new legislation on Higher Education laying down the minimum conditions for institutions of higher education Policy development in HE and institutional development The lack of inspection in HE The lack of a policy for training incompetent teaching staff: pedagogical competency of teachers, teaching large groups of students, use of new didactic methods, increasing use of ICT, laboratory courses and retraining and in-service training concepts.
8 Suriname-HE Several curricula should be evaluated and renewed with focus on occupational skills and the contents and quality of the programs are poor Lack of high quality study material, the students self-motivation is restricted because they do not have at their disposal qualitatively sufficient and affordable material Insufficient facilities, such as internet possibilities and lap-tops. Issues with respect to internal efficiency (wastage) and external efficiency (attuning to labour market) Accreditation processes are going too slow and should be increased the coming five years
9 Suriname-HE The discrepancy between duration of study and actual graduation The social commitment of HE and its role in sustainable development, inter-cultural dialogue and construction of a culture of peace
10 Curriculum reform One of the great weaknesses of Latin American education has been the little attention that in the past has been given to curricular reform. Curricula, seen traditionally as plans of study or lists of courses, were not seen as keys to academic reform processes. We know today that the curriculum is where innovative trends should find their best expression. Nothing better reflects the educational philosophy, the working methods and styles of an institution than the curriculum that it offers. The curriculum should transform into reality the educational model that an institution fosters.
11 Reform focus There are a wide variety of Higher Education system reform processes underway in the region. But although these are positive, they are still far from signaling an in-depth transformation of Higher Education in the region. The agendas of change proposals refer, in the best of cases, to: forms of the university; information and communication technologies; structure and operation; assessment and accreditation processes; personnel development; student performance; and forms of university financing.
12 Reform focus But the organization of knowledge, institutional profiles, epistemological frameworks, and their translation into organizational forms for faculties, schools or courses, do not even appear in the declarations and foundations of the proposed reforms. The reforms in course are not reforms in the way of thinking; rather, they are technical adjustments guided toward responding functionally to different demands. Thus, Latin American and Caribbean Universities today face strong dilemmas, trends, and challenges that they must solve, consider and confront.
13 Low development of science and technology Low legitimacy of scientific activity, where scientific knowledge is not fully valued nor supported. A reduced platform of social learning, with the result that the development of skills, capacities, competencies, and values related to production and transfer of knowledge is neither fostered nor planned, and its promotion finds itself with abysmal gaps compared to what occurs in other parts of the world. Lack of clarity in strategies for the development of science, technology, and Higher Education. With the gradual withdrawal of the state in the area of financing for Higher Education, science, and technology, it was thought that this would bring with it an increase in the offer of investments by the private sector, which did not occur.
14 Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Need for developing and promoting a strategic STI Policy Unesco, FAO, EU-LAC, CTA, CARDI, CARISCIENCE, CCST AdeKUS initiatives: R&D fund, STI/EU-ACP, CARICOM project and networks, VLIR- UOS Many initiatives and inputs, but what is the output of research? Priority domains for: agriculture and foodsector, biotechnology and safety, Public health, ICT, Tourism, development of enterprises and entrepreneurship, coastal and marine resources management, waste management, water resources management, alternative energy, sustainable development (natural resources and education), environment and climate change
15 Brain drain An on-going brain drain that dissipates local efforts and exports physical and human resources for the development of knowledge of other countries, without achieving neither the appropriate transfer of this knowledge, nor a new relation of cooperation that could be based on overcoming existing gaps, imbalances, and asymmetries
16 SOCIAL Responsibility Higher Education has not only the mission to train citizens and professionals with the qualities necessary for building democratic and developed societies and with the technical skills that potentially can generate economic progress. It is also a basic reference for the strengthening of national memory and the deepening of national cultures and identities; one that respects the plurality of expressions and projects of different social groups
17 Accreditation Accreditation refers to a process of control and guarantee of the quality of Higher Education, through which, as a result of inspection and/or assessment, or of both, one recognizes that an institution or its programs satisfy minimum acceptable standards.
18 Internationalization of curricula Private universities show greater experience in double degree programs and the inclusion of courses taught in a foreign language. Public universities are more developed in curricular compatibility (the inclusion of international parameters in degrees). Internationalization, joint-publications, joint-conferenties, distance learning, open ICT sources
19 Conclusions The first of these is the development of integrated quality assurance systems in a progressive process that contemplates in a manner most appropriate for each country - the establishment of quality control mechanisms (or assessment of minimum standards), of course accreditation, on institutional accreditation, or of the measurement of learning results. A second trend, that Latin America shares with the rest of the world, is the priority development of institutional accreditation systems. This is so for several reasons: it is less costly to assess institutions, if only due to the question of numbers; it is more efficient to assess institutions because many of the problems of courses are due to institutional policy decisions, and are not approachable at the academic unit level; from the perspective of governance of the system, institutional accreditation provides more useful information for decision-making on financing, regulations, and other areas.
20 Conclusions A third important trend arises from the fact that many countries lack up-to-date information in the field of Higher Education, and that the information that does exist tends to be incompatible between them. This is a problem that should be faced in the coming years. The mutual knowledge of systems and the development of bi-national and multi-national programs depend on the commitments of governments and of accreditation agencies to create and/or improve national and institutional data bases, validated by an agency of the respective governments.
21 Conclusions Fourth, it is likely that the future will witness increasing tensions and conflicts of interest between public and private sectors of Higher Education, with immediate consequences for the accreditation of graduate courses and programs. It is believed that the most productive and appropriate means for confronting this problem is through the establishment of public policies committed to the expansion, as well as the quality, of the systems for offering strategically- defined courses, through a careful mapping of local, national, and regional needs and demands.
22 Conclusions Academic management: Higher Education is a human resources business: a higher percentage of its budget is spent on teachers. The quality of an institution is judged principally by the quality of its human resources. Key functions are: attraction and retention of professors/ researchers; focus of academic strategy; creation/suppression of academic programs; curricular reform processes; student admission policies; their monitoring through the course, etc. Obstacles: difficulty of long-range planning; limited autonomy for the management of human resources; rigidity of academic courses; disciplinary interests; academic incrementalism; and the creation of academic programs responding to internal, rather than external demand.
23 Recommendations for the Suriname HE- Agenda It is essential to establish goals and priorities by constructing a strategic agenda for the country when facing the challenges of Higher Education and STI in Suriname and the region. Contribute to the solution of the most critical social problems and achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. We need an action plan to reach this goal.
24 Recommendations for the Suriname HE-Agenda The Action Plan comprises of five major guidelines: 1. Expanding Higher Education (undergraduate and graduate levels) with quality, relevance, and social inclusion; 2. Promoting accreditation, assessment, and quality assurance policies; 3. Encouraging educational innovation and research at all levels; 4. Building a regional agenda for science, technology, and innovation in order to overcome disparities and promote sustainable development in the country;
25 Recommendations for the Suriname HE-Agenda To establish and strengthen reliable information systems on Higher Education in order to carry out appropriate diagnoses, offer inputs for public and institutional policies and enabling comparisons between systems. Moreover, it is essential that our government cooperate with UNESCO-IESALC to foster the consolidation of the Map of Higher Education in Latin America and the Caribbean (MESALC) and its implementation in all countries of the region. To support the implementation of self-assessment systems in Higher Education institutions to develop compatible indicators with national policies articulating them with innovative projects that benefit society.
26 Recommendations for the Suriname HE-Agenda To develop new curricula, evaluation of the BSc, educational models, and academic strategies based on comprehensive training and labour-market and professional relations; to provide more choices and flexible curricula to students promoting new multi-disciplinary paths and mobility with other national and international institutions. To broaden continued education offerings as a life-long learning access tool in higher education. To foster permanent capacity building for lecturers, professors in new instruction/learning models, providing skills to work in complex educational environments and with individuals of diverse cultural and social backgrounds.
27 Recommendations for the Suriname HE-Agenda To increase public investment in science, technology and innovation, with the goal to reach at least 2% of GDP within the next five years. To support and encourage PhD-programs to increase the number of experts in all areas, with emphasis in sustainable development and regional integration. To disseminate scientific knowledge throughout society, instigating scientific curiosity and the culture of innovation among young people.
28 Recommendations for the Suriname HE-Agenda To implement a national policy for Scientific, Technological and Innovation development, creating legal frameworks and appropriate support mechanisms in order to build a national STI system that stimulates cooperation between governments, universities, research centers and the industrial sector. Establish and make operational a bureau of Higher Education at the Ministry of Education and People development with a strong focus on policy development, quality assurance coordination and cooperation.
29 Recommendations for the Suriname HE-Agenda To establish institutional policies to promote research and innovation, including incentives for teachers, professors, researchers and students, and creation of mechanisms for the dissemination of results, scientific initiation programs, among others.
30 The END without adequate Higher Education and research institutions providing a critical mass of skilled and educated people, no country can ensure genuine endogenous and sustainable development and, in particular, developing countries and least developed countries cannot reduce the gap separating them from the industrially developed ones (Expertmeeting: The role of higher education in Societal developments, UNESCO, 1998).