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Advancing lifelong learning for all: ICDE Secretary General visits Shanghai

From 19-21 October 2023, ICDE Secretary General, Torunn Gjelsvik, attended the International Conference on Promoting Lifelong Learning in Higher Education: From institutional strategies to practical implementation in Shanghai, People’s Republic of China.

The conference was organised by the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) and hosted by ICDE Institutional Member, Shanghai Open University. 

The conference aimed to advance policy and practice on the role of universities in advancing lifelong learning opportunities for all, discuss new international projects in the field, and provide an opportunity to exchange views on the strategic directions of higher education institutions in developing, implementing and monitoring the commitment to lifelong learning. 

Gjelsvik was a speaker in the session “Inclusive and flexible lifelong learning: Promoting recognition of prior learning and micro-credentials in higher education”. During her presentation, she touched on the challenges and opportunities related to quality and credibility of micro-credentials, giving policy examples from countries around the world. She also presented the Lillehammer Lifelong Learning Roadmap, which was developed following the Lillehammer Lifelong Learning ICDE Conference in Norway earlier this year. 

Torunn Gjelsvik presenting in the session “Inclusive and flexible lifelong learning: Promoting recognition of prior learning and micro-credentials in higher education”

In addition, the Secretary General was invited as a  respondent to the keynote speech on “…widening access to higher education through AI and other digital learning tools”, given by Prof. Cher Ping Lim from The Education University of Hong Kong, People’s Republic of China. 

On 19 October, Gjelsvik met with Prof. Li Ming, Director of the UNESCO International Centre for Higher Education Innovation (ICHEI). The two discussed innovation, quality and equality in higher education, and potential future collaboration. 

Prof. Li Ming, Director of UNESCO ICHEI, and Torunn Gjelsvik, ICDE Secretary General

The Secretary General was also invited to take part in an exclusive Presidents’ Forum on Friday 20 October, attended by 15-20 high level representatives from the higher education sector, including university presidents, vice-presidents and policy-makers. The discussions during this session focused on the theme “Opportunities and challenges for universities in the promotion of lifelong learning”, and was divided into two topical sections: ‘Measuring progress and impact of lifelong learning in and through higher education’ and ‘Enhancing the social responsibility of universities in light of the climate crisis’. 

Higher education leaders at the Presidents’ Forum

The first discussion theme focused on the contributions from higher education to lifelong learning and what would be the adequate indicators for measuring such impact. In the second session, one of the co-organizers, the International Association of Universities, presented results from the IAU Higher Education for Sustainable Development survey report. The delegates shared examples of community engagement activities related to climate action within their universities and regions and discussed how these could be embedded within overarching national or regional climate action strategies.

Gjelsvik contributing to the discussion at the Presidents’ Forum

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