Higher education should not be considered or managed as an isolated instance of the educational system, but as a stage in coordination and co-construction with all other levels of formal and informal education. Understanding education as this continuous formative process, seeking effective articulation in transforming national and regional education systems, highlights the need to evaluate the changes and advances that higher education institutions (HEIs) must assume in order to fulfill this integrating role.

In this sense, the different fields of action of HEIs – training, research, extension, must actively contribute to public policies, prioritizing the fight against the deep inequities that affect Latin America and the Caribbean and that have worsened after the Covid-19 pandemic, promoting inclusion, social justice, human dignity, interculturality and sustainability. As such, HEIs have the commitment to establish concrete initiatives and mechanisms to transform education from its understanding as a public and social good, free, of quality, inclusive and relevant.

Axel Didriksson T., senior researcher at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM)

The evaluation of academic quality must, therefore, go beyond the criteria established by international rankings and take into account the regional reality in its diversity, with the proposal and adoption of parameters that reflect the challenges and strengths of Latin American and Caribbean societies, communities and social groups. Furthermore, in order to build this integrative model of higher education, the need for the active and pluralistic participation of teachers, researchers, students, non-teaching workers and the educational community in the construction and implementation of strategies for the transformation of HEIs is emphasized. These and other priorities make up the reflection of axis 1 in its mission to think and do higher education in an integral and integrative way with the educational system and the social reality.

The work of axis 1 is led by the working group formed by Axel Didriksson T., researcher at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), at the Institute for Research on University and Education (IISUE), coordinator of the UNESCO Chair on University and Regional Integration; Enrique José Mammarella, rector of the National University of Litoral (Argentina), and María Beatriz Luce, professor of Educational Policy and Management at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil); María Beatriz Luce, full professor of Educational Policy and Management at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFGRS-Porto Alegre, Brazil), director of the Board of Directors (2019-2023) of the National Association of Graduate Studies and Research in Education (ANPEd); Marcela Arellano Ogaz, binding director of Institutional Integration at the Professional Institute Duoc UC in Chile, member of the Higher Education Forum AEQUALIS, leads the UNESCO UNEVOC Center at her institution.