Mexico City, Apr 5 (EFE).- Presidents of the more than 200 institutions represented by the Association of Universities of Latin America and the Caribbean (UDUAL) on Thursday urged greater emphasis on social development.
During the inauguration of the UDUAL’s 7th Extraordinary General Assembly in Mexico City, the chancellor of Spain’s University of Salamanca, Ricardo Rivero, presented the “Salamanca Objectives,” the purpose of which is for universities to continue fostering gender equality and providing classes for greater numbers of students, as per UDUAL founding statutes.
“The universities that will stand out in the future will not be those offering education to a tiny segment of the population, an elite,” Rivero said. “Knowledge societies that will move forward will be those that guarantee quality higher education to an increased percentage of the population.”
Rivero added that universities “must never forget their contribution to social development,” as well as to “equal opportunity and the protection of minorities.”
National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) chancellor Enrique Graue added that, for these objectives to be achieved, special attention must be placed on “funding higher education,” which he called “one of the 21st century’s greatest challenges.”
Rivero praised UNAM for its excellent work as a world-renowned public institution despite the obstacles it has faced over the years.
Graue emphasized that future education must be provided “without losing universities’ socially-oriented drive,” especially that of public educational institutions closely linked historically to autonomy and democracy.