How Higher Education Meets Future Challenges

Biology students benefit from the higher education system in Lao People’s Democratic Republic. Photo Credit: ADB

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Higher education institutions are successfully using collaborative models to meet the development challenges of the future.


Higher education institutions are forging partnerships and collaborations to meet the current and future demands of the workplace.

Key Findings

Thanks to growing internationalization and technological advancements, institutions offering higher education programs can now tap opportunities beyond their national borders to partner and collaborate.  

At the Asian Development Bank’s 7th International Skills Forum, four institutions presented various models of cooperation in the national, regional and global levels to meet current and future skills demand.

The Swiss Federal Government has forged bilateral partnerships with several Asian countries to support student exchange, joint research, and innovation activities with industry partners.

Funding for science and technology cooperation programs comes from the Swiss State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation, with a number of priority countries beyond Europe and the USA. For the funding period 2017-2020, SERI has mandated ETH Zurich to manage the programs with East and South East Asia, and the ZHAW with South Asia and Iran. These two Swiss universities are in charge of promoting and fostering scientific cooperation with key institutions in the region.

The Federal Government has also established an agency called Innosuisse, which started operations only in January 2018, to support university-industry collaboration in promoting innovation. Innosuisse is open to applications from partners outside Switzerland.

Monash University has one of the most comprehensive and largest faculties of education in the world. It is currently ranked top 20, holding a national and international reputation for excellence in teaching and research. In 2013, the Australian university entered into a partnership with the Republic of Indonesia to form the “Gerakan Sekolah Menyenangkan” (Joyful School Movement) Project.

The partnership aims to transform school environments in Indonesia through grassroot initiatives and university-led research. Since the first workshop was held in 2014, more than 50 Indonesian schools have already undertaken the professional development program in Yogyakarta Province. The program also led to the production of teaching resources and collaboration for future publications.

The University of the South Pacific (USP) is the premier provider of tertiary education in the Pacific region and a recognized international center of excellence for teaching, research consulting and training on all aspects of Pacific culture, environment and human resource development needs. USP is owned by 12 Pacific Island countries and is governed by a council through royal statutes and charters.

Funding comes from four main partners: Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and the European Union. USP is also forging funding partnerships with the Asian Development Bank, World Bank, the Republic of South Korea, the People’s Republic of China, and India.

To bring higher education programs to the islands, USP has been heavily using information and communication technology (ICT) and providing flexible and distance learning through USPNet. It has been successfully using ICT-enabled pedagogies since the early 1970s.

The Institut Teknologi Bandung (IBD) is the oldest technology-oriented university in Indonesia founded in 1920. Its international network of partners currently counts more than 40 countries and 350 foreign universities and research agencies. This includes its collaboration on sustainable transportation technology research with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the United States and with the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom for research on light strong structure.

IBD is also able to help promote innovation and technology research through its collaboration with private sector partners in the fields of agro industry, energy, ICT, pharmaceutical, transportation, finance, petrochemical, and infrastructure development.


Higher education institutions are successfully tapping partnership models to promote greater mobility of faculty and students, attract diverse students, raise curriculum development standards, promote research and innovation, enhance their industry exposure, and raise their international profile and reputation.


M. King. 2015. Why Higher Ed and Business Need to Work Together. Harvard Business Review. 17 July.  

R. Lytie. Infographic: Higher Education Partnerships. EY Parthenon.

Related Links

Barbara Becker
Management Team Member, ETH Global

Barbara Becker is a member of the Management Team of ETH Global in Switzerland. She has been at ETH Zurich for almost 20 years in various capacities. Her experience in research management is based on former positions with the German government and functions in various governance bodies related to international agricultural and research partnerships.

Rajesh Chandra
Vice Chancellor, University of the South Pacific

Rajesh Chandra has been Vice Chancellor of the University of the South Pacific (USP) since August 2008. Prof. Chandra served as Foundation Vice-Chancellor of the University of Fiji. Prior to this, he served USP for close to 30 years.

Bambang Riyanto
Professor and Director, Robotics Laboratory, Bandung Institute of Technology

Bambang Riyanto is currently a professor and director of the Robotics Laboratory at Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) in Indonesia. His research interests include robust and intelligent control, multi-agent systems and robotics. He is an advisory committee member of Asian Control Association.

Lucas Walsh
Acting Deputy Dean, Monash University

Lucas Walsh is the Acting Deputy Dean at Monash University in Australia. He has worked extensively in collaboration with universities, NGOs, governments and the private sector throughout his career and has briefed State and Federal Ministers and senior policy advisers.

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