UNESCO World Higher Education Conference (WHEC) 2022 Recap

Photo by Drew Beamer on Unsplash 

Last month, the 3rd annual UNESCO World Higher Education Conference (WHEC) took place, both online and in person. As this was a hybrid conference, attendees could participate virtually or on-site in Barcelona, Spain. The session recordings were broadcast on YouTube, so it was easy to join in. Although we aren’t a formal higher education institute, ECE had the opportunity to attend the WHEC conference as part of our initiative to stay current on the challenges and barriers higher education institutions face today.

The majority of the WHEC sessions addressed key issues affecting the field of international education, focusing on topics like access to and equality in education, climate change, and mental health and wellbeing. It is exciting to know that we are aligning ourselves with the overall global initiatives and sustainable development goals (SDGs), both internally and externally. In order to remain relevant within the changing landscape of secondary and tertiary education, it is important to respond and adapt quickly to new challenges and obstacles.

New Paradigms

The TEC Monterrey session entitled "A New Paradigm for the Future of Education" highlighted a critical need for balance. Michael Fung from the Institute for the Future of Education discussed student mobility and professional stability, as well as soft skills and formal education. Fung highlighted the need for integrating soft and technical skills together and embedding each into the overall curriculum design.

What Next?

Likewise, the roundtable "Protecting students in cross-border higher education: What next?" included a lively discussion surrounding the original guidelines developed by UNESCO in 2005. The increased demand for micro-credentials was also examined. Is there room for recognition of those alternate credentials at the global level? The session called for a movement beyond equivalence to recognition and argued that many employers and universities don’t accept equivalence recommendations because they are just that... recommendations. The case was made for adding a legal value to qualifications.

Future of Higher Education

Finally, it was inspiring to listen to the youth panel "Transforming the futures of higher education" as they explained that following your passions means using your talents and developing promising ideas. They also reminded us “seniors” that failing often leads to eventual success. The youth are asking HEIs to develop systems that allow for all types of talents and recognize various ways of learning.

ECE is committed to remaining relevant to all of our stakeholders, which includes students, HEIs, and other credential evaluation agencies and organizations. It was an extreme honor to participate in the 3rd Annual WHEC conference. Likewise, it’s a privilege to share some of the highlights of the conference with the ECE Connection users. I hope you find these insights and updates as interesting as I did! 

For more information about this conference, see the UNESCO World Higher Education Conference (WHEC) 2022 page on the UNESCO website.

Melissa Ganiere is a Research & Knowledge Management Evaluator and has been with ECE® since 2006. She specializes in education from Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America,  and South East Asia, along with refugee documentation, online verification, and alternative credentials. 



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