It appears that rising participation in post-secondary education is unlikely to abate at the global level in forthcoming decades. It is estimated that 260 million students will be in post-secondary education across the world by 2025 (OECD, 2011). But who will these students be? Although there have been huge efforts in recent years to increase participation in primary education across the world for those from all social backgrounds (it was one the United Nations Millennium Development Goals up to 2015 (United Nations, 2000), it is less clear that efforts are being made to do this at the post-secondary level. However, increasing primary and secondary participation, without addressing participation at the post-secondary level, is akin to what has recently been described as building a ‘pyramid without a roof’ (Kirkland, 2015). The impact of universal primary or secondary education is limited unless it comes with a commitment to extending access to education across all levels. Moreover, many countries are at close to universal levels in primary and increasingly secondary education. It is legitimate to claim then that the truly global educational challenge in the twenty-first century is not access at the primary or even secondary level, but at the post-secondary level.
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