In the run up to the World Summit Conference, a regional preparatory conference pertaining to higher education for the next century, is being organized in New Delhi by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India and the National University of Educational Planning and Administration (NUEPA), New Delhi, in collaboration with UNESCO. The two-day conference proposed from 25-26 February, 2009 “Facing Global and Local Challenges: the New Dynamics for Higher Education” is an attempt to highlight such issues at the global, regional and national level.

These broadly include access, equity, financing, governance, quality assurance and sustainable development. It is also an opportunity to bring together Ministers of Education, senior representatives of national governments, educationists, academics, NGOs, policy makers and stakeholders in higher education from fourteen countries. They will be aiming to come up with a set of recommendations for further deliberations during the World Conference on Higher Education in July, 2009 in Paris which UNESCO plans to convene.

Today’s fast changing world is an exciting environment in terms of educational possibilities. Higher education in particular has to adapt itself to contemporary requirements and respond to new challenges. Increased interaction between global economies, polities and cultures has made a parallel expansion of global opportunities in higher education possible with multiple convergences and collaborations.

Add to this the relatively recent and substantial growth in information and communication technologies which have also made it possible to deliver higher education to a larger number of people, enabling interaction through distance learning modes. The potential of information and communication technologies to create local knowledge content on global platforms is enormous and homogenising tendencies inherent in the globalisation of knowledge are being creatively contested through assertions of local knowledge, all of which augurs well for promoting a respect for diversity and pluralism.

Furthermore the compartmentalization of various academic disciplines into their respective ivory towers is increasingly giving way to a recognition of the value of interdisciplinary knowledge. Despite tremendous achievements and expansion in the education sector across the world, there still remains scope for improvement. In response to these changes higher education needs to re-examine amongst other things the methods of educational enquiry or pedagogic practices, including those of research and innovation