Henríquez Guajardo: We have to debate about the higher education we want to be able to build together
















With a keynote lecture entitled Towards a Regional Model of Higher Education, he closed the III ANUIES 2017 International Conference, in Jalisco, Mexico. "I consider it much more ambitious to consider a regional model of ES but we want to link this idea with how the Regional Conference of Higher Education in 2018 (CRES in Spanish) will account for this need," said Pedro Henríquez Guajardo, director of UNESCO-IESALC , at the beginning of his speech, on November 24 at the Enrique Díaz de León Conference Room at the University of Guadalajara.

The exhibition, preceded by three days of discussions on the alliances of higher education for sustainable development, developed conceptual aspects linked to the construction of the next CRES 2018, while inviting to enrich the dialogue towards the regional meeting: " We see the CRES as an opportunity for debate, discussion, and free thinking about what we are going to do with our higher education systems in the future and in consensus ", said Henríquez Guajardo about the event that UNESCO celebrates every ten years and that will take place in the city of Córdoba, Argentina.

Among the issues addressed during his speech the director of UNESCO-IESALC specified some considerations to be taken into account towards the next Regional Conference. In the first place, he invited to expand the vision of HE to include non-university tertiary education institutions in the dialogue, as well as to review the demographic growth of enrollment in the Region, which has grown five times in the last 20 years. The proliferation without regulation of higher education institutions (HEIs) and the concentration of enrollment in 7 countries out of 33 were also mentioned, as well as the importance of compliance with the virtuous cycle, equity in income, permanence and closure of the Graduate School.

As a second consideration, Henríquez Guajardo called attention to the current composition of enrollment, with a distribution of almost 50 and 50 percent between private and public ESHE institutions, which leads to take into account the participation of the private sector in the debate. A third aspect concerns the conceptual: "I want to demonstrate our commitment to Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG4) from UNESCO. We have detected that Latin America had a substantive advance with the World Development Goals (MDGs) but we did not meet expectations. That is why the SDGs are identified with CRES 2018. "

If the first CRES (La Habana, 1996) was identified with relevance, quality assurance and coverage, the 2008 Conference (Cartagena de Indias) identified itself with the right to education, consolidating the design and strategic conception of the HE "The CRES of 2018 (June 11-15, Córdoba, Argentina) would have to be closely linked to sustainable development, to how HE systems contribute to achieving the SDGs with a plan of action for more than 30 years," said the Director of the UNESCO Institute.

The conference followed the path of the origins of higher education models in Latin America, inherited from Europe. For the public management expert, part of the key mission of the HE has been lost, which is the research and the connection with the environment (which environment, or is it with society) "product of an aggressive model that forced to generate resources to be able to sustain itself. We have accepted that as a society, but we believe that it is necessary to discuss the validity or not of educational models in this way, "he said.


The construction of the 2018 Conference: a collective commitment


To assemble the thematic trajectory of Córdoba, the academic team of UNESCO-IESALC made an analysis of more than 30 years of discourse in the HE to identify 412 thematic categories, which then decided on 7 thematic axes that will build a consensual discourse towards the superior education that the Region requires. On the other hand, the Argentine Government contributed 1 million dollars for the Conference, while the National University of Córdoba is responsible for the logistics of the event, to receive in its city to 3500 attendees, within the framework of the Centennial of the Liminary Manifesto of Córdoba .

The conference has provoked a great participation, especially in the virtual forums. Within this great collective work are included some 17 thousand people, who have worked in the construction of CRES since March 2017. "We want to leave two instruments of the Conference for the Region: A declaration and an action plan, which will consider the inputs collected in 7 virtual forums, as well as in regional preparatory meetings and in meetings of higher education networks in the region, including the statements made by these meetings, such as the one in which we are now. Everything will be delivered for the construction of the CRES, "said Henríquez Guajardo, and then he detailed the thematic axes and their respective sub-themes:

-The strategic role of the HE welcomes everything related to the field of discussion and debate. Sustainable development, private universities, how the private sector sees HE, virtualization and virtual aspects, among others.

-The HE as part of the education system, associated with quality.

-The HE, cultural diversity and interculturality, a subject that did not exist before and that is central in Latin America and the Caribbean, where there is an indigenous and Afro-descendant population that exceeds 20%; of the 33 countries 18 have HEI for this population. How to legitimize and recognize this dimension of the HE that is related to interculturality?

-The HE, the internationalization and regional integration of Latin America and the Caribbean: based on everything that implies being incorporated into a globalization process

-The scientific and technological research and innovation as an engine of human, social and economic development

-The role of the HE in the face of social challenges. Autonomy and responsibility

-A tour of the Cordoba Reform; an ambitious proposal to go towards a New Manifesto equivalent to what Córdoba meant in 1918.


The Declaration of Guadalajara ahead of the 2030 Agenda challenges 

Acto de clausura de la Conferencia Internacional ANUIES | 24 de noviembre de 2017

At 3.55 p.m. the III ANUIES International Conference was closed, with Jaime Valls Esponda as executive secretary of the ANUIES, Tonatiu Bravo Padilla, rector of the Universidad de Guadalajara; Leonel Fernández, president of the Fundación EU-LAC; Juan Ramón de la Fuente, president of the Instituto Aspen council; Pedro Henríquez Guajardo, Director of UNESCO-IESALC, and América Lizarraga González, Director of Institutional Relations at the Universidad Autónoma de Sinaloa, recipient of the next ANUIES conference.

Rector Bravo Padilla read the declaration of the meeting, summarizing the scope of 4 days of reflections and exchanges of ideas, to rethink the actions of educational institutions and allow the construction of a work agenda that puts into practice the perspectives and institutional work. He also thanked the ANUIES, participants and guests, and in general those who expressed their opinions and prepared papers with the aim of contributing to the next Regional Conference on Higher Education.

"The HEIs as generators of knowledge have the responsibility to contribute to face the global problems. In the 2030 Agenda of the UN, a new shared challenge is proposed and it is the duty of all of us to join the global strategies for the achievement of the SDGs in an imaginative and innovative manner, which is what society expects from governments, and the sector productive of our institutions. This great effort of the ANUIES and the University of Guadalajara has allowed the generation of contributions for the CRES, "said Padilla Bravo.