The challenge of establishing World-Class Universities

© DR

Tertiary education for economic growth and competitiveness is increasingly recognized as of critical importance – not only for middle- and high-income countries but also for low-income countries. Access to a solid, world-class curriculum helps develop a skilled and flexible labour force that can positively influence productive activities by creating, applying, and spreading new ideas and technologies. Research universities are emerging as the central institutions of the 21st century knowledge economies.

In recent years, the proliferation of international university league tables – extending the tradition of national rankings in the United States – has generated increased focus on world-class universities and offers a more systematic way of identifying and classifying the top universities globally.
The Strategic Debate will begin by offering an operational definition of a world-class university. It will then outline and analyse possible strategies and pathways for establishing such universities. Finally it will share lessons of experience based on recent work with countries and institutions that are keen on establishing world-class universities, identifying in the process some of the challenges, costs, and risks associated with these attempts.

The event will provide a forum for asking questions about the desirability and feasibility of creating world-class universities in developing countries. Is it appropriate to concentrate a high share of resources in support of aspiring world-class universities? And what would this mean for the rest of the higher education system?


- Jamil Salmi, Global Tertiary Education Expert, former World Bank Tertiary Education Coordinator
- Nilinthone Sacklokham, Officer, Higher Education Department, Ministry of Education and Sports, Vientiane,
and current IIEP trainee, Lao PDR

The debate will be moderated by Michaela Martin, Programme Specialist, IIEP


Type of Event Category 7-Seminar and Workshop
Start 05.11.2012 15:00 local time
End 05.11.2012 17:00 local time
Date to be fixed 0
Focal point Martin, Michaela
Organizer Michaela Martin, IIEP
Country France
City Paris
Venue IIEP - Room II
Street 7-9 rue Eugène Delacroix
Permanent Delegation Contact
Major Programme
Language of Event English, French
Estimated number of participants
Official Website
Link 1 IIEP web site
Link 2
Link 3
Link 4