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British Academy holds joint forum on South Asian higher education with British Council and SOAS

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In partnership with the British Council and the SOAS South Asia Institute, on 22 January 2015 the British Academy hosted a high-level policy roundtable with a focus on the current state of higher education in South Asia. 

The roundtable today brought together a select audience of policy makers and higher education experts from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Iran, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the UK, to examine the urgent challenges facing higher education in the South Asia region and develop recommendations for change. 

A region-wide qualifications framework, pan-regional research networks, and a South Asia-UK women’s leadership forum were just some of the ideas that were discussed as a means to harnessing the region’s demographic dividend. There was also new research presented at the forum demonstrating that the demographics of South Asia coupled with its geopolitical and financial limitations suggests that conventional models of higher education delivery and economics cannot meet the scale of the challenges faced by countries in the region. 

Stephen Ball FBA, Karl Mannheim Professor of Sociology of Education UCL Institute of Education commented: "as the forms of higher education diversify and the range and type of providers increases then the challenges of regulation and quality assurance for governments become more complex. Current systems of quality management are outdated and no longer fit for purpose".

The event today is the first of a new series of policy roundtables that will bring together policy makers and higher education experts from across South Asia and the UK to examine in depth the issues facing higher education in the South Asian region, with a view to delivering policy recommendations and a plan for change across their countries and regionally.

The summary of the roundtable discussion and the recommendations will be made available on the British Council website after 29 January. 

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