Moscow, 8 December 2011 – the first International Forum of Leaders in Higher Education was organized on the initiative of UNESCO Moscow Office, UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education and Microsoft Russia. The main topic of the Forum was the problem of improving the competitiveness of the higher education system, support and develop of talents and leadership. A special interest of the participants were paid to questions of the effective use of information and communication technologies in modern higher professional education, as well as their use in solving economic, administrative and human resources problems of higher education.
The participants discussed global trends in higher education, the most urgent challenges that universities face today all over the world, as well as options to achieve various goals through information technologies. In particular, special attention was paid to the role of IT in solving the problems of economic efficiency of universities, management of university community and capacity building of their personnel.
The event was attended by the rectors, vice rectors, deans and heads of IT departments of Russian and foreign universities, including St. Petersburg State University, Siberian Federal University, FEFU, MGIMO University, Bauman MSTU, National University of Science and Technology "MISIS", Moscow Engineering Physics Institute, MPEI, MAI, RSUTE and many others.
In his welcoming speech, Dendev Badarch, Director of UNESCO Office in Moscow and the Acting Director of the UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education, highlighted that "the performance indicators of the educational institutions directly depend on the balance between quality and quantity of human capital. Therefore, the focus of UNESCO is on the task of analyzing the needs of the professional development of teachers and trainers in the world. For the segment of higher education, this problem is becoming increasingly acute. Today, analysis of the needs in the development of talents in the universities should be flexible, fast and ready for change. And modern technologies play an important role for solving this problem, helping to optimize the internal processes of the university and improve cooperation between all departments and services of universities.
"The task of education informatization has been agitating the minds of international and national experts for many years. But now the question sounds different – what is the effectiveness of information and communication technologies in education? How to measure their effectiveness? The main task is to put modern technologies in the service of national educational systems. It is necessary to make modern technologies in education developed enough to meet the needs of all participants of the educational process, taking into account the problems faced by educational institutions, teachers and students. Today technologies are necessary, first of all, to improve efficiency and quality of the educational process and to optimize organizational and managerial processes to be implemented in educational institutions ", – said Igor Balandin, director of work with the education system, Microsoft Russia.
International forum of leaders of higher education in Moscow was one of the first joint initiatives of Microsoft and UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education (IITE). Earlier in November, the organizations signed a memorandum of understanding in the field of education, under which they plan to implement a range of initiatives in Russia aimed at improving access to ICTs and expanding their use in the learning process. One of the main directions of cooperation of Microsoft and UNESCO IITE should be the opening of the Centre of innovative educational technologies in Moscow.