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To make universal higher education a reality, the capacity of the world’s educational system needs to be expanded to accommodate an additional 366 million youngsters.

Universal access to all levels of education, including higher education, is the single most effective means for promoting peace, freedom, equity and prosperity for all human beings.

Source: Internet World Stats

To make universal higher education a reality, the capacity of the world’s educational system needs to be expanded to accommodate an additional 366 million youngsters. Filling this gap through traditional means is unrealistic and unaffordable, equivalent to establishing another Harvard university every day for the next 50 years.

The high and rising cost of college education is another serious barrier to increasing access. Many in the middle and lower income groups cannot afford the cost of college education. A growing shortage of qualified faculty is another major constraint on expanding of the existing system.

Open Educational Resources and online education remain limited mostly to English language, whereas the majority of the learners are in non-English speaking countries. Online education is restricted to those with computers, internet connectivity and some computer skills, and generally those with no access to local colleges find themselves without access to online education either.

WUC aims to develop innovative, open learning systems and more effective models that extend the reach of quality higher education to people of all age groups globally.

  • About half the students who enroll in college in the US drop out. The main reason is students’ inability to pay the expenses. In the past three decades, average family income has risen by 16%, while fees at public universities have gone up by 250%. The student loan debt of over $1.1 trillion in the US is composed of 38 million borrowers.
  • Data from the U.S. Department of Education show that, in the past 17 years, there has been a steady decline in the amount of financial aid dollars public colleges and universities gave students in the lowest income quartile.
  • The acceptance rate in some Indian colleges is less than 2% and the Indian college enrollment rate is under 20%.
  • To enroll all college age youth, India will need to send 95 million additional students to college. 132,000 new colleges need to be built, 4.1 million lecturers have to be recruited. Currently, India has 35,000 colleges and only 0.8 million lecturers.
  • Faculty shortage is looming in all developed countries due to increased enrollments, the venturing of scholars into the corporate world and faculty retirements as baby boomers age. In India 54% of the college faculty positions are vacant. In the state of California, 34,000 college professor posts will need to be filled over the next decade.
  • Poor, rural youth in China are 7 times less likely to access any college than urban youth.
  • The University of Kinshasa, the largest university in the Democratic Republic of Congo, has nearly 30,000 students, faculty, and research staff—but only 800 computers.
  • 16% of Africans have access to the Internet, compared to 28% of Asians, 63% of Europeans and 79% of North Americans. While a university in Germany might pay about US $4000 per month for 1 gigabit per second of bandwidth, a school in Kenya pays $200,000 for the same service.