Higher Education Access and Opportunity: IIE Recommends Inclusion of Quality Higher Education in Next Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)

The Institute of International Education (IIE) supports open, ongoing and inclusive discussion of the post-2015 global development agenda and upholds the vision of the UN Global Consultation on Education that “equitable quality lifelong education and learning for all” should be central to the post-2015 goals.   

IIE’s mission is to advance international education and access to education worldwide and we are committed to providing students around the world with educational, cultural and professional opportunities that transcend borders to foster a peaceful and interconnected world where all people achieve their full potential; think and act as global citizens; and build inclusive, thriving communities.

As the international community considers the post-2015 development agenda, IIE recommends that the next Millennium Development Goals and the Education For All Framework formulate a set of goals and objectives that include a focus on increased access to quality higher education for all. IIE believes that educational access at all educational levels (primary, secondary, higher, and vocational) must be supported. Creating opportunities and institutional infrastructures that will enable students to successfully transition from primary and secondary school to tertiary education must be a central tenet of the global education agenda. Educational access, equity and quality of education are paramount to ensuring that students can fulfill their full educational potential.

We believe that access to tertiary education is integral to the success of individual persons and nations in the 21st century. The current Millennium Development Goals have enabled more students around the world to complete primary school and transition to secondary education. The next set of goals therefore needs to assure that more students also have access to higher education. With increasing global labor market demands for specialized knowledge and advanced technology skills, tertiary education will become more important than ever to sustained social and economic development. Higher education plays an essential role in achieving other global priorities including the eradication of poverty and hunger, maternal and child health, gender equality and the empowerment of women, and continuing to combat pandemic diseases and ensuring environmental sustainability.