Finance, technology and culture: the importance of higher education and its challenges

Photo by Martyn Hicks

Finance, technology and culture: the importance of higher education and its challenges


by David Shui-Jezierski

Montserrat Gomendio, Deputy Director of the Directorate for Education and Skills of the OECD, yesterday evening presented a keynote speech at the Asia House conference, in partnership with the University of Nottingham, ‘The future of the global knowledge economy in an era of resurgent nationalism’.

Gomendio shared her insights into the rapidly growing literacy skills of East Asian nations such as Singapore, where the older generation fall below the world average and the younger surpass that of Western nations such as the UK and US. She also covered the effects of the different financing methods of education, and the issue of education where unpredictability of the skills necessary in the future is high.

The following panel discussion, moderated by Asia House Board Member, Vasuki Shastry, saw the Deputy Director joined by representatives from UK and international education, UK government, and the private sector.

Yael Selfin, Chief Economist of KPMG, voiced the need for a more cooperative relationship between the education sector and businesses in an effort to educate students with the skills necessary post-graduation. The importance of business and industry engagement with educational institutions was also highlighted by Joanna Newman, Secretary General of the Association of Commonwealth Universities.

On the issue of financing, Professor Sir David Greenaway, Vice-Chancellor of The University of Nottingham, supported the sustainability of the public funding loan scheme over an upfront fees system, such as that in the US. Lord David Willetts, former UK Minister of State for Universities and Science, underlined the need for the government to continue to find a more sustainable method to fund and develop higher education.

Other areas of discussion included the demand for culturally aware graduates, limited access to tertiary education in developing regions, and the challenges of maintaining the relevance of universities in the new technology era.

To watch the video of the keynote speech, please click here