Regional Consultation on ICT-Driven Innovation in Higher Education in Asia-Pacific With the Support of UNESCO-Shenzhen Funds-in-Trust Successfully HeldOctober 10, 2019
The rapid growth of digital economies throughout Asia and the Pacific continues to challenge the role of traditional higher education systems. There is a growing awareness that a rethink is necessary of how to build local capacities in developing and deploying relevant ICT solutions, planning national ICT in education policies and strategies, and monitoring and evaluating the impact of ICT for achieving SDG4.
To consolidate lessons learned and prepare a joint policy brief on ICT-driven innovation in higher education in Asia-Pacific, with the support from the UNESCO-Shenzhen Funds-in-Trust, the UNESCO Regional Consultation on ICT-Driven Innovation in Higher Education in Asia-Pacific was held on 24th to 25th September 2019 in Shenzhen, China. In collaboration with UNESCO Bangkok, Chinese National Commission for UNESCO and Southern University of Science and Technology, UNESCO-ICHEI convened the meeting to facilitate the ICT-driven innovations for Higher Education in the region.
Mr. Wang Libing, Chief of Section for Educational Innovation and Skills Development at the UNESCO Bangkok, Mr. Zhou Jiagui, Deputy Secretary-general of Chinese National Commission for UNESCO, Mr. Xu Jianling, Deputy Director of Shenzhen Municipal Education Bureau, Mr. Lu Chun, Vice President of SUSTech and Mr. Li Ming, Director of ICHEI took part in the Regional Consultation, along with more than 40 participants including policy makers, university leaders, entrepreneurs, teachers and researchers from 15 countries in the Asia Pacific region.
Cambodia and Sri Lanka, as two participating member states of SFIT Asian Project, have shared lessons learnt and achievements gained during two years. The consultation reviewed and finalized the joint policy brief, further strengthened the regional network for MOOCs platforms and developed a regional action plan for research on ICT-driven innovation in higher education and SDG4.
Wang Libing pointed out UNESCO attached great importance to digital transformations in higher education systems and equipping the youth with skills for better employment. SFIT Higher Education Project in Cambodia and Sri Lanka is a good start for the region with a series of achievements. He fully affirmed the efficient work done by the UNESCO-ICHEI in Asia and Africa in recent years, and suggested UNESCO-ICHEI seek for more cooperation with countries in South Pacific.
Lu Chun welcomed all participants to the university campus and introduced that as one of the youngest universities in the world, SUSTech performed well in the Times Higher Education Ranking with its innovative university mission and talent cultivation. SUSTech will share some good practices on using ICTs to enhance university management. He is looking forward to continued contributions to STEM teaching and research through mutual collaborations with other HEIs in Asian and African countries.
Li Ming emphasized UNESCO-ICHEI’s work focus on the ICT applications for improving the equity and quality of higher education in developing countries in Asia and Africa. He also introduced the Smart Classroom Projects launched in 12 project countries and conducted a series of staff capacity building activities. He revealed that the project results in Cambodia and Sri Lanka will also bring benefits to other countries in the Asia-Pacific region.
Xu Jianling explained as a donor of SFIT, the Shenzhen Municipal Government always paid close attention to the development of its fund projects. He re-affirmed the contribution of UNESCO-ICHEI to the development of higher education throughout Asia and Africa. In the future, Shenzhen will continuously provide great support to facilitate educational cooperation and collaborations in the region.
Zhou Jiagui pointed out that Chinese Government have has carried out fruitful educational collaborations with UNESCO in recent years, especially in the field of ICT-in-Ed. In 2015 and 2017, Qingdao Declaration and Qingdao Statement were adopted during the International Conference in Qingdao, China. In May, the International Conference on AI and Education was successfully held in Beijing and it is also the first time that different countries have officially adopted consensus for AI development in education in post-2019.
The Regional Consultation also peer-reviewed to finalize the joint UNESCO policy brief on ICT-driven innovation in Higher Education. It also introduced and collected feedbacks on the flagship project initiated by UNESCO-ICHEI named ‘International Institute of Online Education (IIOE)’.