Higher Education

Higher Education


EI represents more than 3 million higher education and research staff in 100 national organizations. works to defend the rights and interests and promote the advancement of those working in the sector.

EI actively supports higher education and research as a public service rather than as commercial enterprises. EI works at the international level to ensure quality, accessibility, and the freedom of staff to teach and conduct research free of interference from political, economic, or other special interests.

EI seeks to defend the academic and employment rights of staff by pressing for implementation of the UNESCO Recommendation Concerning the Status of Higher Education Teaching Personnel adopted in 1997. This Recommendation provides clear protections for academic freedom, collegial governance, security of employment, and the right of higher education staff to join trade unions and bargain collectively.


The higher education and research sector is undergoing a series of attacks that are threatening the principles of academic freedom,collegiality, and governance. The global trends towards commercialization and marketization threaten to undermine quality and equity. EI policy focuses on reversing these trends. In addition, the expansion of precarious work, including through fixed-term contracts, undermines the power of staff to exercise academic freedom and participate in higher education governance.

EI policy is mostly shaped by resolutions passed by World Congresses and asserts that higher education and research must be publicly funded and administered and be accessible to all qualified students without financial or social barriers. EI vigorously opposes privatization and marketization, the trade of education services and intellectual property, and the casualization of employment.

The EI World Congresses have passed the following resolutions with regard to higher education and research: “Resolution on the Development of Higher Education” (1995), “Resolution on Higher Education and Research Policy” (2001), “Resolution on the Status of Higher Education Personnel” (2001), “Resolution on the Transnational Provision of Higher Education” (2001), “Resolution on a New International Instrument for Higher Education” (2004), “Resolution on Higher Education and Research as a Public Service” (2007), “Resolution on the Situation in the Higher Education System in France” (2007), “Resolution on Fixed-Term Higher Education and Teaching Personnel” (2007), “Resolution on Higher Education and Teaching Personnel in Palestine” (2011), and “Resolution on Public Research and Scientific and Academic Freedoms” (2015). For more information on these resolutions, click here.


EI works to advance the interests of higher education and research staff by working closely with UNESCO, the ILO and other UN bodies, and by lobbying international agencies such as the OECD, the World Bank, and the World Trade Organization.

EI campaigns to support colleagues whose academic freedom and civil liberties are under attack and vigorously defend their trade union rights.EI builds solidarity and strength within the sector by organizing a biannual international conference to share best practice and to collectively address the global challenges before us.

At the European level, ETUCE (EI European region) is a consultative member of the Bologna Follow-Up Group. ETUCE works to ensure that academic staff play a key role in shaping the European Higher Education Area.

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