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Equity, access and quality
Equity refers not only to the openness of Higher Education in terms of access - the more traditional focus - but also in terms of success. Higher access rates are not meaningful if they are combined with high dropout/failure rates. Higher Education institutions thus have a key responsibility to lead their enrolled students to graduation.
This calls for more effective teaching/learning processes geared towards social relevance - which often require profound curricular and methodological renovation - and for adequate quality assurance mechanisms. Quality assurance systems should encourage improved learning processes adapted to various categories of learners. They should encompass not only traditional Higher Education programmes, but also borderless, private and continuing education.
The WCHE 2009 workshops will address the diversity of societal demands and of educational responses. Topics include the following:
- the role and growth of private Higher Education and the links between the differentiated supply of Higher Education and higher access/success rates;
- the implications of the new models of student-centered and lifelong learning in terms of access and learning strategies;
- the implications of new and more diverse modes of delivery based on ICTs (including e-learning, open educational resources and mobile technologies);
- the need to invest into change in the above directions rather than in the sheer maintenance of the status quo in educational systems.
This thematic track will also look at the need to enable regulatory frameworks for Higher Education, coupled with autonomy and accountability. Such frameworks must be in tune with the overall system of education/training and research/innovation, including aspects related to the planning, implementation and rewarding of change.