Delegates at Going Global
Delegates at the Going Global conference

Global connections, local impact: Creating 21st century skills, knowledge and impact for society-wide good

In 2015, Malaysia launched a ten-year national Blueprint for Higher Education that aims to nurture talent, reinforce global standards and develop graduates for 21st century life. Going Global, the British Council's annual higher education conference, will be held there in 2018, in a country which has a growing reputation as a higher education hub in the region. 

Tertiary institutions in the 21st century are both globally connected and locally engaged, playing an important role in communities. They help to develop globally minded citizens, acting as conduits to international partnerships, creating the conditions for industry collaboration and social innovation. They also act as agents of social change, inclusion and mobility.

This year's conference will seek to answer these questions:

  • Against the backdrop of financial, environmental and political challenges how can leaders and policymakers develop a well-understood role for institutions in terms of their social obligation and knowledge economy impact?
  • What are the priorities in ensuring national tertiary education is fit to shape societies of the future, meet the future needs of students, employers and communities?
  • How can global tertiary networks contribute to their achievement?

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has recently realised a five-decade dream of bringing together its ten member states (including Malaysia) to form an economic community, bringing social progress, stability and greater opportunity to the region. 

With 15 million students enrolled across the region, at the heart of this transformation is the role of tertiary education and the contribution to society and cultural understanding, economic growth and employability. The opportunities and subsequent challenges raised are in fact reflected across the globe. 

We will address, through a policy or practice lens, five challenges for the future of international tertiary education:

New skills, new graduates

  • How do we ensure graduates have the right skills to contribute to social progress and cultural understanding as well as economic growth? 
  • What is the role of language in teaching, research and career prospects?
  • Can we develop global citizens alongside strong national identities and a commitment to local engagement?
  • Can the skills gap between higher education and industry be bridged to deliver both economic and social good?

Social mobility and international mobility

  • What national-level initiatives work best to provide the conditions for social equity and inclusion?
  • How can international mobility support social mobility – and is there evidence that it does?
  • How do institutions’ global connections support international mobility to drive social mobility?

Demonstrating impact

  • How much national or regional economic and social impact do universities have? What evidence is there, and should they be asked to do more?
  • How can we balance global connections, national interest and academic autonomy?
  • Higher education institutions are major knowledge producers. How do we ensure that this knowledge is beneficial for society?

Future-proofing higher education institutions systems

  • To meet future challenges, HE systems and institutions must have long-term sustainability – so how can HEI leaders and policy makers ensure this? Who pays?
  • How can they ensure that systems and institutions deliver impact for societies of the future?
  • What leadership skills and resources do institution and policy leaders need to build the HEIs of the future?

New models of delivery

  • What are the new frontiers of tertiary education? 
  • Are there new delivery models that will disrupt and invigorate the global HE ecosystem - and what potential do these have to build and benefit societies of the future?
  • Who will the future deliverers be?