The right to education, guaranteed by Article 2 of the first
Protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights, encompasses
the right to have access to higher education, which is protected
also under Article 10.1 of the revised European Social Charter.
Public authorities have the obligation to ensure the quality of
higher education without limiting academic freedom. Autonomy of
higher education institutions, academic freedom and freedom of scientific
research and the arts are fundamental principles for the functioning
and quality of higher education systems as well as for democratic
and pluralist societies.
Academic freedom and autonomy of higher education institutions
require that the latter can, within the framework of national higher
education policies and domestic law and with due respect for human
rights, determine for themselves their academic curricula and degrees,
student admissions, research, administrative organisation, financing
and staff employment. The basic strategic decisions about further
development of higher education institutions should be made on a
four-part basis – among the representatives of the academic community
(including students), of the labour market (employers and trade
unions), of civil society organisations and of government (executive
as well as legislative).