Constructing knowledge societies : new challenges for tertiary education

Jamil Salmi

Developing economies face new trends in the global environment, affecting the purpose of tertiary education systems. Among the most critical dimensions of change are the convergent impacts of globalization, the increasing importance of knowledge as a driver of growth, and the information and communication revolution. Both opportunities and threats are arising out of these new challenges. Tertiary education is central to the creation of the intellectual capacity on which knowledge production and utilization depend. Another favorable development is the emergence of new types of tertiary institutions and forms of competition, inducing traditional institutions to change and take advantage of opportunities offered by the new information and communication technologies. But this technological transformation carries the danger of a growing digital divide among and within nations. At the same time, most developing countries continue to wrestle with difficulties produced by inadequate responses to long standing challenges (sustainable expansion, reduction of inequalities, improvement of quality and relevance, and more effective governance and management). The main purpose of the new World Bank report is to analyze the role of tertiary education in building up a country's capacity to become a knowledge society