Balancing the global with the local

Balancing the global with the local

Published on 20 March 2017

How can universities address both local and global demands to make a positive contribution to society? A new report, launched by the Global University Network for Innovation (GUNi), aims to help universities address this question.

The report, 'Towards a Socially Responsible University: Balancing the Global with the Local', is the sixth edition in GUNi's Higher Education in the World (HEIW) series, and features contributions from over 80 experts and thought leaders in higher education from around the world. The report deals with the dual responsibilities of universities at the local and global scales, and "explores the potential conflict, or intrinsic difficulties, in addressing both local demands of society based on the race for global competitiveness and local and global demands to contribute to a more equitable and sustainable society'.

A dedicated feature article by the ACU's Liam Roberts reflects specifically on the role of higher education in development. 'Beyond 2015 – raising the visibility of HE and development' draws on the lessons, trends and examples of good practice published through the ACU's 'The world beyond 2015 – Is higher education ready?' campaign, which ran from 2013 to 2015.

The article distils the major themes that emerged across the Beyond 2015 campaign, identifying some key messages that the ACU believes are especially pertinent for higher education leaders in the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) era:

  • High-quality, engaged university research in developmentally strategic areas can inform good policy and unearth solutions to key problems across all SDG targets and focus areas.
  • Access to quality higher education systems underpins economic growth, and generates professional paths for skilled graduates with strong leadership skills.
  • Harmonisation of education strategy from primary through to tertiary can ensure sustainable paths for students and lay the groundwork for accommodating growth in enrolment at all education levels.

The ACU continues to play an active part in the global conversation on the role of higher education in development, and will continue to champion the contributions universities make to help meet the SDGs and improve livelihoods across the Commonwealth and beyond.

The 6th Higher Education in the World Report is published online by the Global University Network for Innovation and is open access.