Access, equity and quality trends in Latin America's public universities

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11 Scopus citations


The purpose of this essay is to describe key dimensions of contemporary Latin American Public Universities (LAPUs), especially pertaining to access, equity, and quality. Analyses of LAPUs must be contextualized within the great diversity of organizational models, as well as the accelerated process of economic and institutional expansions and contractions, particularly after the 1950s. Framing LAPUs in their broader economic and socio-historical landscapes, we consider how the notion of “public” evolved in the region's approach to higher education. We describe the case of the Latin American macro-university, a globally unique model of public higher education, which combines ideals of democratization, very large enrollments and meritocratic models of selection and access. We conclude by discussing the dynamics influencing the distinctive notions of “public” and “publicness” in the Latin American context and its potential applications for other regions of the world.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)86-94
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Educational Development
StatePublished - Jan 2018


  • Democratization
  • Latin America
  • Macro-universities
  • Public higher education
  • Public mission

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science


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