Governments, civil society, universities – The golden triangle for quality education

A blog by Heribert Hinzen of DVV International

– Today was the day of learning exchanges. It started with an orientation, including relevant information on cultural conducive behavior, and especially relevant expressions in Bahasa Indonesia.

I joined the group that left for the University of Gadjah Mada (UGM), with around 60 years the oldest, and with more than 50,000 students one of the largest universities in Indonesia. We wanted to look at reforms in tertiary education. Participants from UGM and ASPBAE were heartily welcomed by the Global Engagement office which is part of the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences.

We experienced a full-fledged seminar with Sandy Morrison as Chair, an introductory remark of the ASPBAE President Robbie Guevara on the need to connect the work of civil society with universities, and then three presentations covering a wide range of issues.

Dr. Aziz Purwanto, the Head of the Center of Academic Development, started off with a highly interesting contribution on new approaches to student centered learning at UGM, with a shifting role of the teacher to be a facilitator and learning partner, but deeply rooted in local wisdom. Dr. Rajesh Tandon, former ASPBAE President and Co-Chair of UNESCO Chair on Community Based Research and Social Responsibility in Higher Education, looked at Knowledge, Engagement and Higher Education as potential contributions to social change. How to link learning with community service, and how to link research with community knowledge were some of his key points. In between I could provide an overview on the current post-2015 debate on education and development, and the role universities could play, especially for adult education and lifelong learning. ASPBAE Executive Council member Dr. Timote Vaioleti provided an inspiring and reflective summary, and offered a vote of thanks. A joint lunch and tour through parts of the UGM compound and buildings rounded the rich experiences of an interesting learning exchange.

However, what does this call to re-connect mean for ASPBAE in respect to policy and practice of the advocacy and capacity building work of the members with universities as strategic partners? Not an easy question, but maybe a key issue in the next phase of a broadening of the partnership base for successful gains towards a new global goal which will “Ensure equitable inclusive quality education and lifelong learning for all by 2030”. I am convinced that this cannot be reached without an engagement and involvement of all in a golden triangle of governments, civil society, and universities.

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