In order to reflect on the great challenges that Higher Education will face in the midst of digital transformation, the Council of Rectors of Chilean Universities (CRUCH), Congreso Futuro (CF), the International University of La Rioja (UNIR), the Senate of the Republic and the Ministry of Education, join together to organize the The Futures of Higher Education Congress.
The event took place in the former National Congress and was part of the #RUTACF activities that are the prelude to the Future Congress 2024: Now, what do we do? This event was a space to explore and reflect on an interdisciplinary dialogue about the future of higher education in Chile, in the context of the emergence of Artificial Intelligence and digital transformation.
In this instance, topics such as the challenges of digitalization in higher education systems were reviewed; accreditation; quality of online teaching and online education as an instrument to reduce inequalities.
The executive vice president of the Encuentros del Futuro Foundation, Guido Girardi, stated that “technology evades our capabilities in a world where there is no time to think. Universities must be that place of silence to be able to reflect and their obligation is to incorporate thought and generate time for it.”
Juan Antonio Coloma, president of the Senate of the Republic, called for “recognizing the potential of new technologies to strengthen teaching capabilities” and the opportunity for development in the “use of digital technology and its integration as a teaching method.”
Nicolás Cataldo, Minister of Education, spoke of the university as a lever for development, also for sustainability and as a way that enables and reveals to us what the human being itself is. When referring to the online university, he declared that “digital development can transform teaching, the university and change the trend of inequalities.”
Representing the organizers, José María Vázquez García-Peñuela, rector of the International University of La Rioja (UNIR), highlighted the Chilean educational system as one of the most solid in South America. “We must exercise caution in the progressive use of digital technologies and online modalities. In this field, the experience of my institution, for 15 years exclusively online, can provide interest in its presence in America,” he stated.
Ximena Rincón, president of the Future Challenges Commission of the Senate of the Republic, also participated in the inauguration. For his part, the vice president of the Council of Rectors of Chilean Universities (CRUCH) and rector of the University of Tarapacá, Emilio Rodríguez, highlighted that “these academic spaces, where we are fortunate that political leaders also have the opportunity to listen, where we can build a joint view of development. And sharing international experiences is the best way to do it,” he expressed.
Academic session program
After the inauguration, the official program of academic sessions began, structured around a project presentation, a discussion and three round tables. International experts from the educational field from Chile, Spain and Mexico participated in these debate forums.
In the first sessionThe Challenges of Digitalization in Higher Education Systems”, Juan Yuz, rector of the Federico Santa María University, participated; José Maripani, rector of the University of Magallanes; José Antonio Guzmán, rector of the University of the Andes; Rodrigo Vidal, rector of the University of Santiago and Marisol Durán, rector of the Metropolitan Technological University.
“Accreditation and quality in online teaching” It was the second session made up of, Rafael Llavorí, deputy director of International Quality of PROEDUCA; Andrés Bernasconi, president of the National Accreditation Commission; Osvaldo Corrales, rector of the University of Valparaíso; Rodrigo Alda, rector of the Universidad Católica del Norte; Eduardo Hebel, rector of the Universidad de la Frontera and Cristhian Mellado, rector of the Catholic University of the Santísima Concepción and President of the G9.
The social impact and inclusion in university systems were in the debate of the third round table: “Online education: an instrument to correct inequalities”, which included the participation of Ignacio Sánchez, rector of the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile; Emilio Rodríguez, rector of the University of Tarapacá and vice president of the Council of Rectors of Chilean Universities (CRUCH); and Isabel Díez Vial, vice-rector of Development and Economic and Social Impact of UNIR, among others.
The session program concluded with “Challenges for 21st Century America,” a discussion that brought together critical thinking and the experience of government in universities reflected in the profile of its protagonists.