Higher Education for All
The adoption of the UN 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) represent a change of paradigm of the international policies on development cooperation. The EU has committed to implement the SDGs both in its internal and external policies. Among those policies, higher education policy is increasingly important. The widespread recognition that higher education is a major driver of economic competitiveness in a knowledge-driven global economy has made high quality higher education more important than ever before. Clearly, issues of equity in higher education in many countries need to become more prominent in national debates. Thus making the quantum leap to a sustainable development paradigm depends heavily on higher education, especially if we facilitate the access of socially and economically disadvantaged groups such as women and minorities. At the end of 2013, before the launch of the 2030 Agenda, we started a programme to support talented young people interested in pursuing advanced degrees in the area of science and engineering. The first phase of this programme is devoted to India, where ARCHES has established collaborations with several academic centres in various States. Tenzin Tashi, a Tibetan monk and member of a low-income family of Tawang (North-East India), was the first beneficiary of this programme that allowed him to study at the Mahendra Engineering College (Tamil Nadu). Afterwards, other talented disadvantaged students were included in our programme, which is supporting the achievement of specific targets of the 2030 Agenda, particularly Goal 1: No Poverty, Goal 4: Quality Education, and Goal 5: Gender Equality.