“AlmaLaurea is a Ferrari, a dream model”
AlmaLaurea is the Ferrari of the education sector in Italy and I would like to express my appreciation for your extraordinary work, a really useful initiative. We, from the World Bank, strongly support a joint collaboration for the fully dissemination of AlmaLaurea in other contexts”.
Francisco Marmolejo, Higher Education Coordinator of the World Bank, has been guest of honour at the AlmaLaurea Conference “Investing in Young People: If Not Now, When?”, held in Venice, at the Ca’ Foscari University on March 12, 2013. In his speech he mentioned the too many people living in poverty, not enjoying the same opportunities, the three billion people of the middle class in search of more training opportunities.
As Higher Education Coordinator of the World Bank, could you give us an overview of the main policies currently promoted by the World Bank in the field of education?
“The World Bank has, as a major policy, an overall strategy named “Education for all”, aiming at providing opportunities, especially in countries where there are fewer opportunities for kids, to fully develop their potential from kinder garden to higher education. The main strategy of the Bank is, at the initial level, to provide the best conditions for students to access to education, health and in general social protection. At further level to make sure that, first of all, education is accessible to the majority of the population but secondly that it is relevant and that means that the graduates of the different educational programs will have a job and the opportunity to contribute to the society. That is, in a nutshell, the strategy of the World Bank connected to higher education”.
What are the possible scenarios for the future of higher education in the Mediterranean and neighbouring countries as regards to the young students?
“Regarding the case of the Mediterranean Countries, and the neighbouring countries, the evidence show that a good number of graduates of higher education do not have a job; what is more if we consider the demographic bonus of the region in comparison to the rest of Europe, there is a segment of the population which is younger. Despite the efforts of the government to provide the young with some education, in those cases higher education, the reality is that the young educated do not have a job, thus creating a very difficult condition. So we believe that more work should be done at the government level but also at the society level in order to better align the higher education offerings with the real current and anticipated needs of the labour market. If we are able to better adjust the higher education system we will be able to make sure that the youth of this and the future generation not only will have access to education but more important they will have degrees that are going to be relevant and employable, otherwise it is understandable why major frustrations may exist. This is a responsibility of the entire societies in which both governments, higher education institutions, employers and also the families and society in general should better connect, better understand the dynamics and better react and anticipate the future”.
The World Bank strongly supports the AlmaLaurea model and the potential extension to third countries. How do you rate AlmaLaurea?
“Regarding AlmaLaurea, I have been fortunate, during these days, to have a better understanding of what it does, what is the scope and what are the possibilities of such a methodology. I should confess that I am positively impressed; I have had the opportunity to see many models and many methodologies in different parts of the world and I do not think there is anyone that has the type of approach that AlmaLaurea has. The fact that it has higher participation of graduates of higher education institutions providing their information; the fact that there is commitment from the higher education institutions, and the fact that there is an interest from the business sector, the fact that there is the interest of the research community already witnessed in terms of doing research on that information are all of those very positive ingredients for what we believe a kind of ideal mechanism to better adjust the needs of the market with what higher education institutions are doing and what graduates are doing. It looks like a kind of dream model that definitively should be fully disseminated in other contexts, hoping that other countries may be interested in adapting the approach and eventually establishing something similar. So we, from the World Bank, strongly encourage that, we believe it would be very important from other parts of the world to become aware of AlmaLaurea and also to explore ways in which it can be implemented on the respective places”.