Adapting and responding to societal changes has been a challenge for higher education systems throughout their history. However, no event has had such a rapid and transformative impact on higher education as the current COVID-19 pandemic. The crisis is showing that more flexible higher education systems are better placed to respond to crisis and maintain learning while also supporting equity and lifelong learning.
In addition, the Industrial Revolution 4.0 is also expected to disrupt existing higher education learning and working environments in an increasingly connected, but also diverse world. Higher education systems have to cater to an increasingly varied student population, including learners from lower socio-economic backgrounds, minority populations, part-time or older adults returning to education. How to respond to these challenges – in a sustainable and equitable way – is the key question that national and institutional policy-makers have to address today.
In line with these trends and global commitments, UNESCO’s International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP-UNESCO) is convening a three-day online International Policy Forum to disseminate the results of its global project SDG 4: Planning for flexible learning pathways in higher education. Policy-makers from across the globe can join an engaging virtual event on how to respond to pressing questions in higher education with findings from a major research project on flexible learning pathways.
The event will be organized as a series of engaging panel sessions to discuss ways to improve policy implementation on FLPs and ensure their effectiveness. The findings of the panel sessions will be further debated in four interactive workshops in which policy-makers from around the world will discuss existing policies on FLPs in their countries and share best practices and challenges in their implementation.
This initiative is a collaborative effort between IIEP-UNESCO, the Commonwealth Tertiary Education Facility, the Malaysian Ministry of Higher Education, the Department of Higher Education (JPT), the Universiti Sains Malaysia, the Malaysian Qualifications Agency, and the Malaysian National Commission for UNESCO