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UNESCO decries inability of governments to meet demand for higher education



The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has lamented the inability of governments, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa to meet the growing demand for higher education.

A new policy paper from the Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report and the International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP) at UNESCO showed that between 2000 and 2014, the number of university level students doubled to 207 million.

Regrettably, the report noted that governments across the world are finding it hard to keep pace with the rising demand.


In the case of Nigeria, the report specified that enrolment in tertiary education has increased from around 700,000 in 1999 to 1.5 million in 2011, which is in line with the global figures.

In a release by Communications and Advocacy Specialist, Global Education Monitoring Report (GEM Report), UNESCO, Katherine Redman, the Director General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova posited that the demand for higher education has continued to be on the rise and task governments to take up the challenge by ensuring that access is based on fairness and equity.

According to her: “Demand for higher education would continue rising. Governments must respond by introducing a range of new policies that would ensure the expansion does not leave the marginalised behind, and that access is based on merit, not privilege.”

In South Africa for instance, the report stipulated that about a sixth of Africans and coloured attended higher education in 2013, compared to over a half of whites.

Similarly, in Mexico, less than one per cent of the indigenous population attend higher institution while in China, youths from rural areas are seven times less likely to attend university than students from urban areas.

In this article:
Katherine RedmanUNESCO
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