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Right to Higher Education: Unpacking the International Normative Framework in Light of Current Trends and Challenges
Place of publication | Year of publication | Collation: 
Paris | 2022 | 66 p.
ISBN 978-92-3-100536-7
Corporate author: 
UNESCO; Right to Education Initiative (UK)


The right to higher education is well-established in international human rights law. It requires states to progressively introduce free higher education and ensure that all have access on the basis of capacity. Yet, access to education is unequal from the very early years, which together with deep-rooted discrimination in education as well as differences in upbringing, often result in unfair admission procedures when reaching higher education. Drastic changes worldwide, due to rising inequalities, human movement, growing digitalization and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, are further challenging how this right can be concretely implemented. This publication seeks to bring clarity not only to existing obligations and rights, but also to unravel what aspects of the right to higher education might require further explanation in light of new contexts and challenges. It provides policy recommendations to guide states in their endeavour to ensure effective equal opportunities to higher education for all.



Resource Type: 
Teaching and learning materials
Toolkits and practical guides
Human rights / Human dignity
International understanding / Globalisation / International education / Interdependency
Social justice / Equity
Inclusive / Diversity
Level of education: 
Higher education
Lifelong learning
Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET)


Right to education; International instrument; Higher education; Free education