This ARC8 Expert Group discusses risks and opportunities in widening access and success in higher education. Members are jointly working on the equity chapter of the ARC8 Outlook Report 2030: Inclusive and Diverse Higher Education in Asia and Europe to be presented in the summer of 2021. Experts will make recommendations for the ASEM Senior Officials and university leaders in Asia and Europe on advancing equity policies.
Topics discussed: equity vs equality in higher education, monetary and non-monetary access instruments, underrepresented groups, gender gap, digital divide, disadvantaged, vulnerable and excluded populations.
Expert Group Members
The first session of the experts was dedicated to gather inputs to the Outlook Report 2030: Inclusion and Diversity in Higher Education in Asia and Europe. Two experts shared their views on the status quo of equity in higher education, and proposed risks and opportunities to be discussed by group members. Below is a short summary of their presentations and the ideas they sparked in the group discussion.
Presentation by Mary TUPAN-WENNO, Executive Director of ECHO, Centre for Diversity Policy, The Netherlands
Mary started her presentation by explaining her definition of access and success in higher education. She demonstrated with a nice visual that inclusion policies can only be successful if certain themes are covered such as ensuring different pathways to entry, inclusive learning environment, sense of belonging, social safety, etc. Mary proposed 5 discussion points on potential risks and challenges, that could jeopardize inclusion efforts in the next 10 years. These included the matter of context, too much focus on access and less on inclusion, and the “Color-blind instead of a Color-brave approach”.
In terms of opportunities and leverage points that could take inclusion to the next level in the upcoming decade, Mary shared the following points:
- Co-creation and collaboration with students
- Outreach and collaboration with informal and non-formal education providers
- More focus on benefits of diversity and inclusion to the quality, productivity and innovation in science
- Public– Private collaboration
Presentation by Dr Graeme ATHERTON, Director, National Education Opportunities Network (NEON)
Graeme’s presentation was focusing on some of the major issues in terms of access and success to higher education and the challenges faced in terms of developing support both from policymakers and institutions. He started by introducing the World Access to Higher Education Day (WAHED) initiative, and related research materials, such as the “All Around the World: Higher Education Equity Policies Across the Globe” authored by Lumina Foundation in 2017.
In terms of the risks that could jeopardize inclusion efforts in the upcoming years, Graeme has identified two major points: (1) Financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic (2) Digital divide.
In terms of opportunities or leverage points, Graeme has pointed out putting equity in higher education into the big inequality agenda as the main opportunity.