Higher Education


EI is the global voice of more than 3 million higher education and research staff in 100 national organisations. Together, we work to defend the rights and promote the advancement of all working in the sector.

EI actively champions higher education and research as a public service, and not a commercial enterprise. We advocate at the international level to ensure high-quality, accessibility, and the freedom of staff to teach and conduct research free from political, economic or other special interests.

EI promotes the academic and employment rights of staff by pressing for the implementation of the UNESCO Recommendation Concerning the Status of Higher Education Teaching Personnel. Adopted in 1997, this instrument provides clear protections for academic freedom, collegial governance, security of employment, and the right of staff to join trade unions and bargain collectively.


Higher education and research sector is witnessing a series of attacks which are threatening the principles of academic freedom and collegiality. The global trends towards commercialisation and marketisation threaten to compromise quality and equity. These trends must be reversed.

EI policy asserts that higher education and research must be publicly funded and administered, and accessible to all qualified students without financial or social barriers. We vigorously oppose privatisation and marketisation, the trade in education services and intellectual property, and the casualisation of employment.


EI advances 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 Organisation.

We campaign to support colleagues whose academic freedom and civil liberties are under attack, and we vigorously defend the trade union rights of member organisations.

EI builds solidarity and strength within the sector. We organize a biannual international conference to share best practice and to collectively confront the global challenges before us.

At the European level, EI is a consultative member of the Bologna Follow-up Group. Through its Higher Education and Research Standing Committee (HERSC), EI works to ensure academic staff play a key role in shaping the European Higher Education Area.


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[2017] Twenty years later: International efforts to protect the rights of higher education teaching personnel remain insufficient

[2016] IFHERC Statement concerning Miguel Ángel Beltrán

[2016] Policy Statement on Open Access in Further and Higher Education and Research

[2016] IFHERC Conclusions

[2016] A Joint Vision of Secondary and Higher Education for All in Europe – the road towards realising Sustainable Development Goal 4 in Europe

[2016] Comparative Analysis of the European Standards and Guidelines 2015 and the 2005 version

[2015] The Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area

[2015] EI study Creating a Supportive Working Environment in European Higher Education

[2015] EI leaflet The Bologna Process under Threat – The Voice of the Academic Profession

[2014] EI Statement on MOOCs (pages 11-12)

[2010] Enhancing quality - Academics' Perceptions of the Bologna Process

[2010] Time for Student-Centred Learning: Toolkit for Staff and Student Unions

[2010] Time for Student-Centred Learning: An Insight into Theory and Practice

[2010] Survey Analysis Time For Student Centred Learning - the main survey analysis publication, which centralized the results of a questionnaire on SCL sent to ESIB members and EI affiliates

[2009] EI/CAUT: “The Status of Higher Education Teaching Personnel in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza,” by David Robinson

[2009] UCU-EI Publication "Academic Freedom International Study" by James Cemmell

[2009] EI Report to the UNESCO/ILO Committee of Experts on the Application of the Recommendations concerning the Status of Teachers and the Status of Higher Education Personnel.

[2007] Constructing Paths to Staff Mobility in the European Higher Education Area by Conor Cradden

[2007] Assessing higher education learning outcomes: “PISA” for Higher Education?

[2006] The Status of Higher Education Teaching Personnel in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States

[2005] Study on the situation of academic freedom in Latin America

[2003] Study on Accreditation in the framework of Evaluation Activities undertaken by Stefanie Schwarz and Don F. Westerheijden

Country Profiles