11 May 2022

The UNESCO World Higher Education Conference, to be held between May 18-20 in a hybrid format, online and live from Barcelona, provides an opportunity for civil society organisations, academics, state representatives, and international organisations to come together and discuss the challenges and opportunities relating to the right to higher education.

We have been working on the right to higher education for several years; focusing on territorial inequalities and their impact on access to education, in addition to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on students and higher education systems.

We are pleased to announce that we will be leading several events during the week commencing May 16th - more details below:


The impact of privatisation on inequalities in higher education: comparative perspectives.

Details:  This event, which will take place online and will be held in three languages (French, English, and Spanish), brings together academics researching higher education in Senegal, France, Switzerland, Brazil and Argentina to discuss comparative perspectives on the impact of privatisation on higher education.

When: Monday 16 May

Timings: The session will last 1.5 hours, and will take place at:

  • 11 - 12.30 Buenos Aires / Río de Janeiro 
  • 14 - 15.30 Dakar
  • 15 - 16.30 Londres
  • 16 - 17.30 Barcelona/Paris/Geneva

Registration: Register here for the event


Launch of monitoring guide on the right to higher education

Details: During a dynamic one hour session we will introduce our upcoming monitoring guide on the right to higher education, addressing how effective monitoring can strengthen access to and enjoyment of the right to education. We will hold a Q&A with the guide’s authors so that participants can address any queries and comments they have about the guide or how to monitor in their respective contexts.

When: Monday 16 May

Timings: this one hour session will take place online at

  • 9.30 - 10.30 Buenos Aires/Rio de Janeiro 
  • 12.30 - 13.30 Dakar
  • 13.30 - 14.30 London
  • 14.30 - 15.30 Paris/Madrid

Registration: Register here for this session


New approaches on the right to higher education

Details: RTE and UNESCO have collaborated in the organisation of this roundtable conference event on the right to higher education. The roundtable will bring together world renowned experts and organisational partners with a shared commitment to elevating the right to higher education. 

The roundtable will also mark the launch of two new UNESCO reports that lay the groundwork for new approaches to the right to higher education: a conceptual paper, The Right to Higher Education: A Social Justice Perspective, and a policy paper, The Right to Higher Education: Unpacking the International Normative Framework in Light of Current Trends and Challenges. The latter was produced in collaboration with RTE. 

In addition, a knowledge document on the right to higher education in the French context, with a focus on territorial inequalities and privatisation, will be presented.

Date: Thursday 19 May

Timings: This 1.5 hour session will take place in person in Barcelona and online elsewhere at the following times:

  • 9.15 - 10.45 Dakar
  • 10.15 - 11.45 London 
  • 11.15 - 12.45 Barcelona

Registration: Register here for WHEC online

These events and the publication of our research and tools reflects the culmination of years of collaboration, research and activity. We are delighted to have the opportunity to engage new audiences and discuss the fundamental issue of the right to higher education over the coming weeks.

Find out more about our work on higher education, and consult the dedicated UNESCO WHEC page for further details about the conference.