Map of Higher Education in Latin America and the Caribbean (MESALC)
In line with its central mission of contributing to the development and transformation of higher education by participating in the conceptualization, elaboration and formulation of programmes, objectives and UNESCO strategies regarding Higher Education, UNESCO-IESALC proposes the Map of Higher Education in Latin America and the Caribbean (MESALC) as a tool to confront the need in Latin America and the Caribbean to build academic networks on an institutional, national and regional scale to analyse strategic problems affecting Higher Education and to create appropriate measures for overcoming marked imbalances.
At the Regional Conference on Higher Education in Latin America and the Caribbean (CRES 2008) Latin American and Caribbean countries ratified their commitment to Higher Education. A final declaration was adopted at the meeting amid the consensus of Latin American and Caribbean States, all of which were represented by 3500 members of the regional academic community, which included directors, lecturers, deans, students, government representatives, national, regional and international organisations, among others. This conference enabled the creation of a general diagnostic of the situation of higher education in the region and for possible solutions to promote its growth to be suggested.
“… it is necessary to tackle: … the articulation of national systems of information about Higher Education through the Map of Higher Education in Latin America and the Caribbean (MESALC) to foster shared knowledge between these systems as a basis for academic mobility and as a means of creating appropriate public and institutional policies" (CRES 2008 Declaration)
MESALC is defined as an online Information System created by UNESCO-IESALC, whose purpose is to promote the articulation of national systems of information about HE in the region, encompassing the creation of spaces in countries that lack the necessary infrastructure.
MESALC seeks to broaden knowledge of HE and promote the culture of information. To do this it has a group of descriptors, variables and indicators geared toward producing a diagnostic of the state of academia in each country. This is accompanied by a Glossary of HE that enables the user to identify and define the basic concepts used in the implementation of the project.
The categories and statistical data provide a base of scaled information that enables the user to situate him or herself according to three perspectives: regional, national and institutional. The creation and development of the project depends on each country and higher education institution (HEI) involved and it is thus based on enriching the national panorama, adapting itself to public policies that promote the development of HE.
It is important to underline that the Online Information System (SI) MESALC encompasses basic functions that enable academic interaction on intra and inter-institutional, national and regional levels. These functions cover three points, the gathering of statistical data through online forms, mass importing and exporting of data, content management and general information related to HE in Latin America and the Caribbean and the creation of a group of HE indicators.
To design and implement an Information System about Higher Education in Latin America and the Caribbean - MESALC, to analyse HEI and the context of National Systems.
To create an Information System about Higher Education that can be adopted by all countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, which enables relationships between components and attributes of the different National Systems of Higher Education to be established.
To develop an electronic tool for gathering, handling, storing and analysing information about Higher Education in Latin America and the Caribbean.
To implement mechanisms of dissemination and visualization of this information that enables easy, online and free access to it.
To organise a permanent operating process for the implementation, updating and management of MESALC, coordinated by UNESCO-IESALC for the region.
To contribute to the consolidation of knowledge about Higher Education in the region, based on national characteristics that are articulated within regional standards;
To act as a tool to formulate and monitor policies related to higher education; to create national, sub-regional and regional references for perfecting and transforming institutions and national Higher Education systems;
To identify and share successful institutional and national experiences as well as promoting and facilitating cooperation between Higher Education systems and institutions across the region.
CURRENT STATUS OF THE PROJECT
The MESALC Project is currently in its final stage of development and implementation in terms of its technological platform. This implies a high level of openness and flexibility with regards the complex diversity of systems of gathering information about HE in the region.
Ms. Lorice Sivira
+ 58 212 286 1020 Ext 131