This paper argues that education, particularly higher education, is a key element in advancing towards a sustainable social development that, in its turn, will promote social integration. Within contemporary conditions, differences in access to education and thus knowledge, constitute the principal sources of inequity, injustice, inequality and social exclusion. A process currently underway in Cuba, which we have denominated the universalisation of higher education, has made it possible to attain a gross rate of university matriculation in excess of 60%. This process of universal higher education constitutes an important educational and social experiment with very few precedents, at least in the Latin American and Caribbean countries. Its advance poses formidable practical and theoretical challenges. For that reason it is important to carefully study its advances and contradictions. This article is one of the first attempts to systematize this experience (1). We shall briefly outline the antecedents of the current process of universalisation, discuss its most outstanding characteristics and, with practical examples, demonstrate the opportunities offered to local development by the creation of university campuses in all the municipalities of the country.
Hernández, D. et al (2006) Núñez, J. et al 2006a, 2006b and 2007