International Association of Universities

Building a worldwide higher education community

The HEEFA Projects

Higher Education (HE) for Education For All (EFA) - HEEFA

Since the launch of the Education for All (EFA) goals, adopted within the Dakar Framework of Action at the World Education Forum in 2000, considerable political and social commitment have been harnessed to support this global education initiative. Countries have galvanised significant human and capital resources both nationally and internationally in achieving these goals.

Soon afterwards, in 2005, IAU began to advocate for greater inclusion of higher education in EFA, both at the national and international levels. The IAU has strong reasons to believe that higher education, as a sector, indeed has much to contribute to achieving EFA:

  • Higher education is responsible for teacher education programs, or is at least responsible for the training of teacher trainers.
  • Higher education plays a role in fostering students’ social development and civic responsibilities, i.e. the next generation of workers, thinkers and leaders;
  • Academic research produces a wealth of expertise, knowledge and innovation that is evidence-based, long-term, and locally relevant;
  • Community engagement is increasingly becoming a core mandate of higher education institutions globally.

IAU HEEFA Project Thus far, IAU has been successful in advancing the idea that higher education and research should be considered as a major actor for reaching EFA. In March 2011, IAU was instrumental to have higher education and research officially recognized for the first time by the EFA High-Level Group responsible for setting the global agenda. More recently, education ministers, cooperation agencies, research institutes and the private sector agreed that higher education and research indeed contributed to EFA (GEM Statement, Paris, 2012). Nonetheless, it’s too premature to stop raising awareness and advocating for higher education participation. The reasons being that:

  • The full potential of the different missions of higher education institutions and the variety of expertise they house and produce are still not systematically exploited in the pursuit of EFA;
  • If linked, higher education involvement remains primarily dominated by and narrowly limited to teacher education;
  • The higher education community as a whole is still insufficiently aware of EFA and inversely, some EFA stakeholders continue to view higher education as a marginal partner, at best.

Learn more about the different multi-year HEEFA projects:


For further information:
Nadja KYMLICKA, Consultant in Education;
Isabelle TURMAINE, IAU Director, Information Centre and Communication Services and Project Director

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