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Global Forum on International Quality Assurance
UNESCO's work in higher education was encouraged by Member States, in particular from developing countries, at the 31st General Conference of UNESCO (15 October to 2 November 2001).

"In this field we cannot avoid addressing the agendas of globalisation and trade in higher education because the world has responded with enthusiasm to the idea that UNESCO is the natural forum for discussion of the discussion of these issues. We look forward to developing the UNESCO Global Forum on International Quality Assurance.", stated John Daniel, Assistant Director-General for Education, in his response to the debate in Commission II (Education) of this Conference.

The Global Forum on International Quality Assurance and the Recognition of Qualifications would centre on using UNESCO functions as a laboratory of ideas, a standard setter, a clearing house, a capacity-builder, a catalyst for international cooperation and building on existing work. Central to this would be to strengthen UNESCO's role as a facilitator-broker, for developing international frameworks and bringing together the different actors and stakeholders of the higher education sector.

The need to establish a Global Forum on International Quality Assurance was first initiated by the Expert Meeting on the Impact of Globalization on Quality Assurance, Accreditation and the Recognition of Qualifications (10-11 September 2001, UNESCO Paris). This recommendation was also supported by the Meeting of the Bureau of the 1998 World Conference Follow-up Committee (22 October 2001, UNESCO Headquarters).

The Bureau Meeting stressed UNESCO's leadership role in the debate of globalization, commercialisation and higher education. The question of developing quality assurance mechanisms for both public and private institutions in higher education was particularly highlighted. The Bureau also recommended that links be kept between the different bodies involved in UNESCO higher education activities as the multitude of 'Global Forums' tended to create confusion.

The 31st session of the General Conference of UNESCO (15 October - 2 November 2001), adopted UNESCO's Programme and Budget for 2002-2003.


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