The terms tertiary, higher, post-secondary, elective and post-compulsory education are often used loosely, interchangeably, even ambiguously. This symposium focused on tertiary, or post-compulsory education - meaning education at public and private universities, colleges, technical institutes, executive education programmes, community colleges, research institutes, distance learning institutions and specialized institutions for professional training in law, medicine, pharmacy, dentistry, and veterinary medicine. The mix and configuration of these institutions varies widely from one emerging market to another.
The decision to focus on tertiary or post-compulsory education was taken partly because it would have been impossible to cover all aspects; partly because the tighter the focus the greater the likelihood of useful results; and partly because the skills and capabilities produced through tertiary education are critical to the development and management of emerging market economies and societies. While technical and other training in other forms of post-compulsory education including institutions for adult and life-long learning are critical the relative priority of tertiary institutions derives from the roles of highly educated leaders, managers, administrators and professionals without whom modern states cannot function effectively or compete efficiently.