7th World Higher Education Report strengthens the interlinkages between science, technology and humanities – UNESCO-IESALC

© GUNi presents the 7th edition of the World Report “Humanities and Higher Education: Synergies between Science, Technology and Humanities”

“From politicians to technicians, regulators, academics from different fields and financiers, everyone is convinced that humanistic education and cultural experience are key factors in achieving a more dignified, just and democratic society. The problem is that the reality of education and the research system is far removed from these good intentions.” The above is an excerpt from the 7th World Higher Education Report (HEIW7) Humanities and Higher Education: Synergies between Science, Technology and Humanities, recently released by the Global University Network for Innovation GUNI 2019.

An open event held at the Caixa Forum in Barcelona on December 10, served as a stage to share ideas around the main theme of the publication, developed by 130 international authors around 24 key questions and 28 case studies that reflect on the main problems and challenges faced by higher education and its institutions today,in a dehumanized era of global change.

According to the report, it is expected to contribute to the renewal of ideas and at the same time generate visions and promote reflections on the contribution of higher education and the knowledge society; and also, as highlighted in the report’s preface (p. 47), provide a toolbox for researchers, policymakers, and practitioners. A special chapter of the report is dedicated to the integration of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to higher education, and another to the approach from the Latin American university to science and technology seen from the humanities, with special mention to the III Regional Conference on Higher Education (CRES 2018).

The presentation at La Caixa was attended by Joan Elias (president of GUNI and Rector of the University of technology Barcelona); Ángel Font (La Caixa); Francesc Pedró (UNESCO-IESALC); Francesc Xavier Grau (Government of Catalonia); José Manuel Pingarrón (Spanish Ministry for Science, Innovation and Universities); Alfonso González Bondia (Government of Catalonia) and Josep M. Vilalta (Executive Director of GUNI), who presented the main contents of the report. All the speeches shared a common vision: the creation of synergies between the humanities, science and technology, and the recovery of the humanities for a more just global society.

In addition to congratulating GUNI on its twentieth anniversary and reiterating UNESCO’s support for such networks, Francesc Pedró began his speech by asking the audience the following question: “How did we get to a point where the humanities are not considered important?” Emphasizing the current marginalization of the humanities at the level of higher education, his speech was an invitation to give the humanities a role other than that of being only a complement. “At the end of the day, they help us reflect on human realities. We can’t just consider them as icing on the cake,” he said.

In addition to promoting the exchange of resources, ideas and innovative experiences, and at the same time promoting collective reflection and the co-production of knowledge in higher education, the director of IESALC emphasized the importance of strengthening higher education institutions as centers for lifelong learning, introducing, for example:A lifelong learning credit. While some might use such credit to upgrade academically or professionally, many would surely use it to revisit the humanities.

The 7th Report on Higher Education in the World (HEIW7) can be downloaded in its full version here