What We Stand For

  • Education is a basic human right. The right to equitable and universal access to quality education at all levels identified in the Sustainable Development Goals (Goal 4) is inclusive of higher education opportunities and implies their accessibility, availability and affordability.
  • All people, irrespective of sex, age, race, ethnicity and including persons with disabilities, migrants, and indigenous peoples, should have access to lifelong learning opportunities that include higher education opportunities.
  • Individuals should have the opportunity to develop their capacity both to participate and to succeed at the post-secondary level.
  • The purpose of tertiary academic, technical and vocational (higher) education is to enable the individual (and groups of individuals) to reach their potential and to contribute to society.
  • If these rights to self-actualization are diminished, it becomes a loss to the individual, his/her family and to society as a whole.
  • The diversity of society should be reflected in the student population, in education systems and institutions, their governance structures and decision-making bodies.
  • Inclusiveness and excellence are complementary and students have the right to both.
  • Society (as well as institutions and governments) has a responsibility to safeguard and advance these rights.
  • ‘Collective impact[1]’ achieved through the integrated and collaborative action of stakeholders across different sectors is the best means to advance the ‘access and success’ agenda.
  • Increasing student opportunity by eliminating barriers to post-secondary access should be intentional and ‘asset-based’.[2]
  • Investment in education should take a systemic and holistic view, focusing seamlessly on the pathway from elementary through secondary schooling to higher education.
  • Investments aimed at widening access to higher education must also consider education as a key social determinant of health.

[1] The Stanford Innovation Review provides the following definition of collective impact. “Collective impact is the commitment of a group of important actors from different sectors to a common agenda for solving a specific social problem. Collaboration is nothing new. The social sector is filled with examples of partnerships, networks, and other types of joint efforts. But collective impact initiatives are distinctly different. Unlike most collaborations, collective impact initiatives involve a centralized infrastructure, a dedicated staff, and a structured process that leads to a common agenda, shared measurement, continuous communication, and mutually reinforcing activities among all participants”. For more information, see:

[2] An asset-based approach makes visible and values the skills, knowledge, connections and potential in individuals and communities. It promotes capacity, connectedness and social capital. Asset-based approaches emphasize the need to redress the balance between meeting needs and nurturing the strengths and resources of people and communities and with identifying the protective factors that support health and wellbeing and promote the self-esteem and coping abilities of individuals and communities. Asset-based approaches respect that sustained positive health and social outcomes will only occur when people and communities have the opportunities and facility to control and manage their own futures. Asset-based approaches are not a replacement for investing in service improvement or attempting to address the structural causes of inequalities. (Source: Glasgow Centre for Population Health, Concept Series 10, July 2012).