Closing the gaps
Despite the most important commitments to expanding access to education in recent decades, we are far from having reached equitable education and quality lifelong learning opportunities for all. Emerging trends and complex global challenges affect developed and developing countries alike. To advance as a society, we must embrace a bold new vision that promotes access to quality learning opportunities, including technical and vocational education and training and higher education and research. Lifelong learning includes opportunities for all, in all settings and at all levels of education. This “equity agenda” is not an abstract policy, but it is based on individual needs and our responsibility to recognize and validate educational experiences from formal, as well as non-formal and informal, learning. Our collective challenge is how to promote implementation and appropriate coordination mechanisms that embrace unity while never losing sight of diversity. UNESCO Bangkok, as the Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau for Education, is facilitating efforts to advance this universal, transformative and integrated development agenda in the context of one of the most dynamic and diverse world regions. With a focus on post-secondary education, this review assesses current trends and policy commitments to an equity agenda in the Asia-Pacific region and looks with lucidity at the key challenges that lie ahead.