From 2002 to 2013, approximately one point six trillion dollars was spent on foreign aid by the world’s richest countries. Only two point seven percent of that total was spent to support higher education, such as universities in developing countries.
The second Millennium Development Goal was prioritized to reach free universal primary education because studies showed that primary education increased the level of social capital. However, tertiary education builds human capital and contributes to economic development.
The World Bank and IMF’s structural adjustment policies helped expand the challenges to increase access to tertiary education by pressuring developing countries to decrease their investments in education to reduce public spending. In return, universities lack the resources necessary to address the rising number of students.
Many private institutions find markets in developing countries, and many are creating more problems. In Ghana, 43 private institutions are banned because they did not meet the requirements of the National Accreditation Board to operate.
Private institutions admit students who fail to achieve university-level grades, their admission standards are relaxed to turn tertiary education into a business, and over 1,000 students have been withdrawn due to the university procedures.
In order to create a successful tertiary education structure, it must be aligned with primary and secondary education structures. By aligning these programs, students are more prepared to transfer their skills to universities in developing countries. Also, an effective tertiary education program provides trained teachers for primary and secondary schools.
Sustainable Development Goal targets for education include increasing access to tertiary education. Many donors are already preparing to make higher education a larger part of their aid programs. The UK Department for International Development is expected to make its biggest push ever for higher education funds in 2016.
In June 2015, USAID launched a statement for their Higher Education for Development Partnership Program that will make investments for tertiary education in developing countries a bigger priority moving forward. Higher education increases national output and helps meet the demand for skilled workers.
USAID goals include increasing access to higher education, improving its quality and research, and improving the relevance of development programs for the workforce in developing countries. Global partnerships will be the key to increasing the quality of education for students and to meet the growing demands for more universities in developing countries.
– Donald Gering