News Releases

Second Caribbean Conference on Higher Education

For Release Upon Receipt - March 7, 2014


MONA, UWI Regional Headquarters – The UNESCO Institute for Higher Education in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNESCO/IESALC) and The University of the West Indies (The UWI) will convene the Second Conference on Higher Education in the Caribbean (II CCHE), May 8 and 9, 2014 at the Regional Headquarters of The UWI in Kingston, Jamaica.

Under the theme, Best Practices in Higher Education: The Way Forward for the Caribbean”, II CCHE will focus on Quality Assurance and Recognition of Studies, Titles and Diplomas, Research Management and Impact, and the Financing of Higher Education.  The conference will bring together presenters, facilitators and expert discussants from across the wider Caribbean and internationally. It is expected that recommendations leading to strategy development to strengthen the capacity of Higher Education Institutions in these areas will come out of the gathering of these minds.  II CCHE will also facilitate more extensive partnerships among participants and with other education stakeholders to achieve common regional goals.

Within the framework of the first Caribbean Conference on Higher Education (Paramaribo, Suriname, 2010), the conference will consider and contrast emerging needs and new commitments. A new Declaration and comprehensive regional plan of action will then be enunciated.

II CCHE Sub Themes:

Financing of Higher Education

Universities worldwide, both private and public, are facing the dilemma of increased demand for higher education concomitant with increased competition in the ‘knowledge market’ and the sharp decline in available financing from traditional sources of funding.

This situation has been further exacerbated by the global economic and financial downturn which has persisted since 2008. Rapid growth of free academic programmes through ‘massive open online courses’ (MOOCs) from well-endowed institutions has further sharpened competition. In this unstable environment, the drive towards cross-border academic cooperation or internationalisation becomes a matter of survival. The conference will explore various responses to the changed higher education environment and examine trends and best practices in alternate means of financing the Academy.

Research Management and Impact

Knowledge generation and transfer are as critical to societal growth and development as innovation. A clearly established relationship exists between investment in research and innovation and the rate of economic growth.  Many developed and rapidly developing countries are increasing the proportion of their Gross Domestic Product allocated to knowledge generation and to fostering links between researchers, industry, the service sectors and social agencies.  This is not the case in the Caribbean where an estimated 0.016% of GDP is invested.  Most universities and research institutions are therefore obliged to seek external support to fund their research and knowledge creation activities.

Given that the countries of the Caribbean are part of the developing world, universities located in this region must ensure that they respond to the problems and challenges that hamper national and regional development.  This Conference will take into account the findings of the Paramaribo Conference on research and knowledge transfer and will emphasize the significant impact of the research enterprise.

Quality Assurance and Recognition of Studies, Titles and Diplomas                  

II CCHE builds on the first Caribbean Conference on Higher Education and subsequent developments to re-engage the question of quality assurance and recognition in light of CARICOM’s commitment to quality higher education in partnership with IESALC/UNESCO.  The Conference will take account of regional realities that have impacted implementation of the recognitions convention, in particular the 1974 UNESCO Agreement on Recognition of Studies, Titles and Diplomas. The outlining of a contemporary regional position on recognition would be an important outcome in support of efforts already undertaken by other geographical regions to pursue the “Global Convention”.




The International UNESCO Institute for Higher Education in Latin America and the Caribbean (IESALC) is an organization of UNESCO devoted to the promotion of Higher Education, helping to implement in the Latin American and Caribbean region the program that the UNESCO General Conference approves biannually for Higher Education.

Its fundamental mission is to contribute to the development and transformation of tertiary education through the reinforcement of a work plan that, inter alia, attempts to be an instrument to support the management of those changes required to make Higher Education in the region an effective promoter of a culture of peace in an era of Globalization, and to achieve human sustainable development based on principles of justice, equity, freedom, solidarity, democracy and respect of human rights. Visit


About The UWI

Since its inception in 1948, The University of the West Indies (UWI) has evolved from a fledgling college in Jamaica with 33 students to a full-fledged, regional University with well over 40,000 students. Today, UWI is the largest, most longstanding higher education provider in the Commonwealth Caribbean, with four campuses in Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Open Campus. The UWI has faculty and students from more than 40 countries and collaborative links with 160 universities globally; it offers undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Food & Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science and Technology and Social Sciences. UWI’s seven priority focal areas are linked closely to the priorities identified by CARICOM and take into account such over-arching areas of concern to the region as environmental issues, health and wellness, gender equity and the critical importance of innovation.


(Please note that the proper name of the university is The University of the West Indies, inclusive of the “The”, hence The UWI.)


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