International Organizations

A post at the Global Higher Ed blog by Kris Olds, on the EU strategic economic roadmap towards 2020, with a great description on the key  role  ascribe to higher education and research in terms of the amorphous notion of innovation.

From Global Higher Ed blog:

This week marks the launch of the EU’s EUROPE 2020: A European strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. As noted in EurActiv (‘Brussels unveils 2020 economic roadmap for Europe‘) on 3 March:

The EU’s new strategy for sustainable growth and jobs, called ‘Europe 2020′, comes in the midst of the worst economic crisis in decades. The new strategy replaces the Lisbon Agenda, adopted in 2000, which largely failed to turn the EU into “the world’s most dynamic knowledge-based economy by 2010″. The new agenda puts innovation and green growth at the heart of its blueprint for competitiveness and proposes tighter monitoring of national reform programmes, one of the greatest weaknesses of the Lisbon Strategy.

The European Commission’s plan includes a variety of agenda items (framed as thematic priorities and targets) that arguably have significant implications for European higher education and research. Furthermore several of the plan’s Flagship Initiatives (“Innovation Union”; “Youth on the Move”; “A Digital Agenda for Europe”; “An industrial policy for the globalisation era”; “An Agenda for new skills and jobs”) also have implications for how the EU frames and implements its agenda regarding the global dimensions of both the European Research Area (ERA) and the European Higher Education Area (EHEA). For example, Flagship initiative: “Youth on the move” (p. 11) includes the following statement:

The aim is to enhance the performance and international attractiveness of Europe’s higher education institutions and raise the overall quality of all levels of education and training in the EU, combining both excellence and equity, by promoting student mobility and trainees’ mobility, and improve the employment situation of young people.

At EU level, the Commission will work:
– To integrate and enhance the EU’s mobility, university and researchers’ programmes (such as Erasmus, Erasmus Mundus, Tempus and Marie Curie) and link them up with national programmes and resources;
– To step up the modernisation agenda of higher education (curricula, governance and financing) including by benchmarking university performance and educational outcomes in a global context.

Please see below for a summary of some of the key elements of EUROPE 2020: A European strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth as well as a YouTube video of José Manuel Barroso’s launch of the plan at a media event in Brussels:

See here for the EU’sPress pack: Europe 2020 – a new economic strategy. EurActiv also has a useful LinksDossier (‘Europe 2020′: Green growth and jobs?) for those of you seeking a concise summary of the build-up to the new 2020 plan.

It is also worth noting that EU member states, and as well as non-governmental organizations, are attempting to push their own innovation agendas in the light of the 2020 economic roadmap for Europe. Link here, for example, to a Lisbon Council e-brief (Wikinomics and the Era of Openness: European Innovation at a Crossroads) that is being released today in Brussels. European Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn also spoke at the same event.

The ‘innovation’ agenda and discourse is deeply intertwined with higher education and research policy in Europe at the moment. While the outcome of this agenda has yet to be determined, supporters and critics alike are being forced to engage with this amorphous concept; a 21st century ‘keyword’ notably absent from Raymond Williams’ classic text Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society.


Brief list of World Wide Web scholarly  websites with resources and news  on International Organizations:

Amnesty International (Human rights promotion INGO)

Arab League (Official)

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum (APEC—Official)

Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN—Official)

Atlantic Online (Contemporary affairs publication)

Commonwealth (Official)

EU Observer (News about the EU)

Euroguide (Guide to the European Union, United Kingdom)

European Governments Online (from the EU)

European Union Online (Official)

Francophonie (Organization of French-speaking countries—Official)

Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA—Official)

Freedom House (NGO)

G-8 Information Center from the University of Toronto (Unofficial)

G-77 (Group of 77 developing countries—Official)

Global Policy Forum (NGO working on UN affairs)

Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC, Persian Gulf states—Official)

International Labor Organization (ILO—Official)

Missions to the UN (with links to missions’ websites)

Non-Aligned Movement (Official)

New York Times (site requires registration, but it’s free)

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO—Official)

Organization of American States (OAS—Official)

Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC—Official)

Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC—Official)

South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC—Official)

South Center (IO of developing countries)

Transparency International (INGO working against corruption)

United Nations (Official)

United Nations Documentation Center

United Nations News (Official)

United Nations News (Yahoo!)

US Mission to the United Nations

US Department of State, International Organization Affairs (Official)

World Bank (Official)

World Trade Organization (WTO—Official)

World Wide Web Virtual Library (WWWVL) International Affairs Resources

The website of the World Education Indicators (WEI) programme offers access to a  number of comparative studies publications with very useful data.

From UNESCO – International Institute of Stadistics:

The World Education Indicators (WEI) programme is a joint UIS-OECD collaboration that develops policy-relevant education indicators with national coordinators from 16 diverse countries.

Participating countries are: Argentina, Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Jamaica, Jordan, Malaysia, Paraguay, Peru, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.


WEI-SPSthbnail.jpgA View Inside Primary Schoolsby
This UIS study highlights the strong effect of social inequality on primary education systems in many countries and the challenge to provide all children with equal learning opportunities. >>More
WEI2007_thumbnail.jpgChina leads the world in the number of university graduatesby
Read more about how developing and middle-income countries are transforming the landscape of higher education in a report of the World Education Indicators (WEI) programme. >>More
WEI_1.jpgEducation Counts – Benchmarking Progress in 19 WEI Countriesby
Malaysia and Tunisia devote substantially greater shares of their national wealth to education than almost every country in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), according to this report by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics. >>More
WEI2005Thumb.JPGEducation Trends in Perspective – Analysis of the World Education Indicatorsby UNESCO Institute for Statistics, OECD
More students than ever are seeking higher education in middle-income countries, causing tertiary enrolment to skyrocket by 77 per cent over the past decade, compared to 43 per cent in rich countries, according to a new study by UNESCO and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). >>More
WEI-2002-FinalMainRepCover2.jpgFinancing Education – Investments and Returnsby UIS / OECD
Financing Education – Investments and Returns is the third in a series of reports that analyse education indicators developed through the World Education Indicators Programme (WEI). This report looks at the impact of human capital on economic growth and examines education spending and investment strategies from both public and private perspectives. >>More
couv_wei2001_tmb.gifTeachers for Tomorrow’s Schools, Analysis of the World Education Indicators – 2001 Edition (OECD-UNESCO-UIS)by UIS / OECD
Teachers for Tomorrow’s Schools is the second in a series of reports that analyse education indicators developed as part of the World Education Indicators Programme (WEI). This report looks at resources for education and how resources are invested and examines the policy choices and trade-offs that countries make when balancing expanded access to education with the need to attract and retain good teachers. >>More
Investing in Education – Analysis of the 1999 World Education Indicatorsby UNESCO / OECD
This publication is available in English and can be downloaded [here]. >>More

This is very interesting, the executive director of this new initiative for improving global educational assessments is one of the leading researchers on PISA, Barry McGaw.

Thanks to James Thayer for the link

From Cisco Website:

Three leading technology companies announced today a collaboration aimed at transforming global educational assessment and improving learning outcomes. At the Learning and Technology World Forum in London, Cisco, Intel and Microsoft unveiled plans to underwrite a multi-sector research project to develop new assessment approaches, methods and technologies for measuring the success of 21st-century teaching and learning in classrooms around the world. During the session, the three companies called upon educational leaders, governments and other corporations to join in the effort[…]

[…]The assessment research and development project spearheaded by Cisco, Intel and Microsoft has received the support of major international assessment organizations. Specifically, OECD and the International Association of the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) have expressed interest in using the evidence-based and verifiable output of the 21st-century skills assessment to inform the development of the next versions of PISA and Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), their respective international benchmarks.

read full article here

A really interesting post by Kris Olds at the Global Higher Education Blog discuss the proposal for the revival of the  Nalanda University  and the implications of  the construction  of transnational spaces of higher education. My impression to this and other process and institutions, such as the Mercosur’s  Universidade Federal da Integração Latino-Americana (UNILA) is that they are not yet really operating outside the framework of nation states. For the moment, the most important players setting the policies of transnational exchange  are nation states with the capacities to impulse knowledge production in specific directions that are deemed favorable to their respective national interests. This seem a fair assessment especially in the case of institutions that are create as part of regional integration initiatives (e.g. UNILA). This does not mean that these configurations cannot become, eventually,   mainly driven by transnational dynamics. It would be interesting to see the eventual ways in which those transnational configurations develop in the coming years.

From Global Higher Education, October, 2009:

The emergence of new supra-national movements with respect to higher education and research continue apace. From the European Higher Education Area (EHEA), through to international consortia of universities, through to bits of universities embedded in others within distant territories (e.g., Georgia Tech’s unit within the National University of Singapore), the higher education landscape is in the process of being reconfigured and globalized. Yet, is it really that novel in an historical sense? Today’s call at the East Asian Summit for the revival of Nalanda University (see below) draws upon development outcomes in higher education that took place well before the establishment of medieval universities like Oxford, Bologna, or Lund. As Sashi Tahroor notes: Founded in 427 A.D. by Buddhist monks at the time of Kumaragupta I (415-455 A.D.), Nalanda was an extraordinary centre of learning for seven centuries. The name probably comes from a combination of nalam (lotus, the symbol of knowledge) and da, meaning “to give”, so Nalanda means “Giver of Knowledge”. And that is exactly what the university did, attracting prize students from all over India, as well as from China, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Persia, Sri Lanka, Tibet and Turkey. At its peak, Nalanda played host to more than 10,000 students — not just Buddhists, but of various religious traditions — and its education, provided in its heyday by 2,000 world-renowned professors, was completely free. The establishment of new types of universities in like Nalanda University, Øresund University, or the recently opened Universidade Federal da Integração Latino-Americana (UNILA), remind us that there is an emerging desire for novel spaces of knowledge production that think and act beyond the nation. A related question, then, is how effective will these new configurations be, and can supporting stakeholders (including nation-states) really act beyond the nation? (read here)

From PSD Blog – The World Bank Group by Ryan Hahn posted Fri, Oct 17 2008:

The U.S. gets Walmart, and in return, China gets…Harvard. At least that’s part of the story told by a graph in a recent publication from Campus France (Hat tip: University World News). China is by far the largest importer of educational services in the world, at least by student numbers. The U.S. absorbs nearly a quarter of China’s mobile students. For more visuals on student exchange, check out International Student Mobility. [ read pos

Worldwide Mobility

Source: Institut für Politikwissenschaft – University of Berne

The Comparative Political Data Set 1960-2006 is a collection of political and institutional data which have been assembled in the Logo der Universität Bern context of the research projects „Die Handlungs-spielräume des Nationalstaates“ and “Critical junctures. An international comparison” directed by Klaus Armingeon and funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation. It consists of (mostly) annual data for 23 democratic countries for the period of 1960 to 2006. In the cases of Greece, Spain and Portugal, political data were collected only for the democratic periods[1]. The data set is suited for cross national, longitudinal and pooled time series analyses.

The data set contains some additional demographic, socio- and economic variables. However, these variables are not the major concern of the project, and are thus limited in scope. For a more in-depth source of these data, see the online databases of the OECD. For trade union membership, excellent data for European trade unions can be added from the CD-ROM of the Data Handbook by Bernhard Ebbinghaus and Jelle Visser (Trade Unions in Western Europe since 1945 (The Societies of Europe). New York, Basingstoke, Oxford: Grove’s Dictionaries, Macmillan, 2000).

A few variables have been copied from a data set collected by E. Huber, Ch. Ragin, J. Stephens, D. Brady and J. Beckfield (2004), as well as from a data set collected by D. Quinn. We are grateful for the permission to include these data.

In any work using data from this data set, please quote both the data set, and where appropriate, the original source. Please quote this data set as: Klaus Armingeon, Marlène Gerber, Philipp Leimgruber, Michelle Beyeler. Comparative Political Data Set 1960-2006, Institute of Political Science, University of Berne 2008.

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