Skills beyond school

Annotated agenda: The World Bank, OECD and Nuffic International workshop on Cross-border higher education for capacity development


Thursday 14 September

9.00-11.00: Capacity building through cross-border higher education

The first session will provide an introduction to the conclusions of the OECD/World Bank study and be discussed by a few experts.

Chair: Jos Walenkamp (Nuffic)

11.00-11.30: Coffee break

11.30-13.00: Different perspectives on programme and institution mobility

This session will continue the discussion by mapping and discussing different situations in developing countries’ willingness and ability to attract foreign providers of higher education. What kind of institutions can be found in different types of developing countries and what are the different stances towards them? Why do some countries welcome them while others are more skeptical? What are the exporters’ motivations?

Chair: Jamil Salmi



13.00-14.30: Lunch

14.30-15.30: Identifying good practices to regulate educational programmes and institutions

The afternoon will be devoted to the discussion of the necessary regulatory framework and policies to attract foreign providers and programmes while making sure they serve capacity building purposes in the host country. What are the current practices in some developing countries that have foreign provision of education or would like to have some? How and why have different countries put in place different kinds of regulation? What are the main differences when foreign programmes are offered as part of trade or technical co-operation and under different arrangements? What are the risks and challenges for the host countries and for the foreign institutions? How and why use trade agreement frameworks?

Chair: Stéphan Vincent-Lancrin

Case presentations: Javier Botero Alvarez (Colombia), Nadia Badrawi (Egypt), Nasima Badsha (South Africa), John Spinks (U21 global, Hong Kong)


15.30-17.30: Identifying good practices to regulate educational programmes and institutions (breakout session)

16.30-17.00: Coffee break

The groups will discuss what they consider as good practices in different contexts from different perspectives: variables to take into account are the size of the country, the reason for having foreign provision, the wealth of the country, its attractiveness for foreign providers and programmes, nation building considerations, etc. While there is no unique way of regulating foreign provision, this session will discuss what are the requirements and the different possible routes for different kinds of provision and providers in the light of country experiences: conditions of operation, quality assurance, restrictions, financial support to students attending them or not, etc. The groups should try to define under what conditions some practices can be seen as good or not, and why.

It will build on the Guidelines for quality provision in cross-border higher education, the Unesco-APQN toolkit for regulating cross-border higher education, and other related guidelines, to elaborate a small number of policy recommendations more specifically geared towards developing countries and the development community. However, it will go beyond the issues of quality assurance and provision of information.

Groups will be asked to focus either on the importer or exporter perspective. A discussion paper to frame the discussion and the reporting back will be provided.

17.30-18.30: Identifying good practices continued (plenary)

Chair: Marijk van der Wende

The groups will shortly report back and a plenary discussion of the groups outcomes will follow.

20.00: Dinner

Friday 15 September

9.00-11.00: From good to effective practices (break out session)

The aim of the morning sessions will be to come up with some general recommendations summarising the agreement in some fields and identify areas that would need further research or are controversial. While it will continue the Thursday afternoon discussion, it will take into account with more accuracy the realities of the field. Some “good practices” are indeed not always feasible or affordable in all developing countries. This session would continue the discussion by taking into account the capacity of different developing countries to adopt them according to their level of development (size of the private sector, specific nation building agendas, corruption, etc.). It would try to identify the obstacles to the implementation of the “good practices” identified as well as ways forward to effectively reach these objectives when resources are limited and other problems loom: where should countries start? Where relevant, how could development aid money and trade be used for these purposes?

11.00-11.30: Coffee break

11.30-13.00: Clarifying the workshop outcomes: light and obscurity (plenary)

Chair: Jamil Salmi

This session will come back to the group discussions in plenary and aim to articulate the findings of the workshop as (probably conditional) recommendations on 1) the regulation of cross-border higher education via programme and institution mobility for capacity building purposes and 2) the gaps that need to be filled in the current practical and theoretical knowledge. While it should put forward some “best” practices, it should also propose alternative practices in case the “best” practices are too difficult to implement in a particular context.

13.00-14.00: Lunch

14.00-16.00: Final policy panel and next steps

In this session, policy-makers and representatives of international organisations will respond to the findings of the conference and discuss how they will influence their practice and how to bring them forward.

Chair: Frans Leijnse (Nuffic)


  • Silas Lakwabamba (Rector of National University of Rwanda)
  • Javier Botero (Vice Minister of Higher Education, Colombia)
  • Grant McBurnie (Monash University, Australia)
  • Jamil Salmi (Tertiary Education Coordinator, World Bank)
  • Tom Schuller (Head of CERI, OECD)
  • Stamenka Uvalic-Trumbic (Higher Education Division, Unesco)

16.00: Close of the meeting & Coffee


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