Thursday, October 29, 2015

BRICS Global University Summit Ends in Moscow
Wednesday 28 October 2015 23:24
Julia Lyubova, Moscow

Photo: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov delivers a speech during the BRICS Global University Summit at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations.

The BRICS Global University Summit has ended in Moscow - with South Africa and fellow countries announcing a number of initiatives to promote higher education.

Hundreds of representatives from leading universities from BRICS countries participated in the forum.

The main objective of the meeting was to exchange experiences and practices in education systems around the world.

Moscow State Institute of International Relations, also known as MGIMO was chosen as the main venue to host the BRICS Global University summit that took place in Moscow.

One of its best-known graduates, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, gave a speech to open the talks.

“BRICS do not force anything on anyone. We do not have bloc discipline typical for military-political alliances.  We want to seek additional sources of developing and increasing the well-being of our people,” says Lavrov.

More than 400 representatives of leading universities from BRICS member states took part in various discussions and talks.  This year the forum was attended by a record number of educational institutions from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

Founder & Chancellor, VIT University, Dr G. Viswanathan, says, “I hope the interaction will improve in the future. I would very much like the five countries exchanging students in the future so that we would learn from each other and also we would compete with each other.”

The summit closed with speeches and a concert by MGIMO students.

The leaders of BRICS will now meet on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Turkey in mid-November. The reform of the world monetary system, as well as economic and humanitarian cooperation will be high on the agenda.

BRICS Summit attracts top minds in education

Wednesday 28 October 2015 06:05
Julia Lyubova

BRICS Global University Summit convenes on the back of SA experiencing recent student protests against rising tuition fees

The Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) Global University Summit is underway in Moscow, Russia. It unites more than 400 representatives from leading universities of BRICS countries.

Ministers and rectors of leading institutions of the BRICS bloc have gathered to discuss global education. Over the next two days, they will report on education in their countries.

The Summit convenes on the backdrop of South Africa having seen recent student protests against rising tuition fees, a situation that has posed a dilemma for the country's education system.

According to Angina Parekh, Deputy Vice Chancellor at the University of Johannesburg, the bigger issue is about access to higher education and affordability.

Parekh says another major talking point is to tackle the issue of the vast majority of students who come from impoverished, low-income backgrounds, who find university education unaffordable. Parekh says these are issues that universities, the government as well as student organisations and the broader private sector will have to come together and start talking about.

The new BRICS Network University, which is up for discussion at the Moscow gathering, would offer opportunities for member-states to draw experiences from one another.

President and CEO at Evidence Based Solutions, Dr Olive Shisana, says coming into a global university summit tells us a lot about what is happening in other places, how people are handling the whole issue of education.

Chisana further says, "We are aware of the protests that are going on in South Africa right now because people want free education. And by talking to other people we are able to understand how they manage to get free education in their countries."

Each BRICS member will be able to discuss the most pressing issues concerning education in their respective countries. They will also share ways on how education could be made more affordable and effective.

It is the first time that an educational BRICS forum brings together so many universities, 18 from Brazil, 17 from India, 13 from China and eight South African institutions, with the host, Russia, represented by 69.

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