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12012 - European and Latin American Cooperation ¿ Innovative Ways for Promoting Financial Management Reforms in LA Universities

International cooperation and mutual learning have become a crucial topic for organizations all over the world. Even institutions in the public sector, such as higher education institutions (HEI), are recognizing this increasing need for international collaboration.

Relevant current challenges, like the recent economic crisis have had a severe impact on the public spending on higher education. Especially the region of Latin America (LA) has to cope with a low public spending on HE. Demographic developments, on the other side, lead to an increase in enrolment rates in the region. Thus universities in LA are forced to undertake reforms to support their academic and R&D activities and to respond to the increasing competition from private HEIs. These reforms, however, have been impeded by national isolation issues, funding constraints, a lack of transparency and inefficiency.

This paper outlines how international cooperation between LA and EU HEIs can help to overcome these challenges by an international cooperation project among 18 LA and 4 EU (ES, AT, DE, IT) partners. The objective of this project is to promote modernizations of financial management practices and income diversification strategies in LA HEIs.

Within this project good practices in financial management are exchanged based on a two-step benchmarking process. Consequently, tailor-made trainings that enhance the capacities of HEIs in the target region by using a “Train the Trainers” approach are provided.

In a first step, a macro-benchmarking of all 18 LA countries and the four EU countries was conducted. This study included a comparative analysis of countries based on quantitative economic, social and educational key figures, such as GDP, unemployment and spending on HE, as well as qualitative indicators reflecting the HE sector in the respective countries. These qualitative indicators included the main sources of financing, the allocation of public funds and reforms in the HE area.

Keywords: Financial management, Higher education institutions, benchmarking, financial reforms, Latin America

Author: PASQUALIN, Ligia (Austria)
Co-Author: Becera, Luis (Universidad Industrial de Santander, Bucaramanga, Colombia / Kolumbien); Mayr, Alexandra (Universidad de Alicante, San Vicente del Raspeig, Spain / Spanien)

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