Tertiary education as a concept in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland includes both further education as well as higher education. For information about further education look under that term. For other countries, tertiary education is synonymous with higher education.
Higher education refers to a level of education that is provided by universities, vocational universities, community colleges, liberal arts colleges, institutes of technology and other collegiate level institutions, such as vocational schools, trade schools and career colleges, that award academic degrees or professional certifications.
Since 1950, Article 2 of the first Protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights obliges all signatory parties to guarantee the right to education. At the world level, the United Nations' International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of 1966, guarantees this right under its Article 13, which states that "higher education shall be made equally accessible to all, on the basis of capacity, by every appropriate means, and in particular by the progressive introduction of free education".