Higher education in Latin America has undergone considerable change in recent decades. To meet the demand for greater access, without committing further public funds, governments have encouraged the shift towards private universities, initiated in the 1950s. The challenge today is to maintain quality, despite faster growing enrolments than resources. Meanwhile, the question of employability has become increasingly pressing, in a context of globalisation.
The AFD, together with PROPARCO, its affiliate dedicated to supporting the private sector, held its annual conference on 28 April 2014 in Sao Paulo, Brazil, to discuss ‘Higher education in Latin America: the role of the private sector in improving quality, access and employability’.
This event is the latest instalment of a series of half-day thematic conferences organised annually by PROPARCO, the purpose of which is to give the floor to actors involved in the development of emerging countries and to allow them to build long-lasting ties. The conference also complements the upcoming issue of Private Sector & Development, PROPARCO’s in-house publication: ‘Does the private sector help improve education systems in developing countries?’
As an innovative business incubator, affiliated to a well-known private university in Lebanon, and considering Berytech a model of success, Dr. Nicolas Rouhana was invited to show case Berytech and how universities can foster private initiatives and allow young individuals to build inventive businesses, offering concrete illustrations of the perpetual link that should exist between academia and the labour market. Given that several of AFD partner institutions in Latin America, such as the Pontificia Universidad Cat6lica del Peru and the Universidad Cat6lica Boliviana, have shown great interest in implementing business incubators within their universities, Dr. Rouhana’s experience and feedback helped better assess the challenges of such projects and how the AFD/Proparco involvement was strategic and beneficial early in the setup.