World Access to Higher Education Day is a day of awareness that aims to bring global attention to inequality in access to higher education and accelerate action.
The 17th of November saw the third annual World Access to Higher Education Day taking place. To celebrate the day we held WAHED24, a Global Conference Series of six events across six separate continents – Australasia, Asia, Africa, Europe, North America and Latin America. The day also saw over 30 events across 25 countries.
The theme of this year’s WAHED24 online conference series, delivered in partnership with University World News is ‘Access and Success in the Post Pandemic world’. The series includes over 30 speakers and events led by partners from each continent including the Asia Europe Foundation (ASEF), the University of Nairobi, the UNESCO International Institute for Higher Education in Latin America and the Caribbean, the Lumina Foundation and the Equity Practitioners in Higher Education Australasia/National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education.
Two major reports were launched on the day. The first was from The Lumina Foundation and is entitled “COVID’s lessons for Global Higher Education”. Authored by Jamil Salmi the report looks at the global response of higher education to the pandemic by both governments and higher education institutions. The second report, “Towards Universal Access to Higher Education: International Trends”, has been published by the International Institute for Higher Education in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNESCO IESALC). This report maps and analyses emerging trends in access to higher education (HE) over the past two decades. The document draws on an initial review of the literature, and a review of international policies on the topic.
Also launched, were two reports are released by NEON in association with the Sutton Trust. The first looks at how leading universities across the world are supporting access and success for learners from low income and marginalised backgrounds. The second summarises the findings of a survey of over 40 countries looking at how they are enabling access and success since the pandemic began.
Dr. Graeme Atherton stated:
‘There has never been a more important time to focus attention globally on the issue of inequality in access and success in higher education. It is a challenge that transcends universities and countries of all types and one that COVID-19 will make even harder to address. WAHED shows however that there is a global community working on this challenge but they need further support from university leaders and governments if they are going to really succeed in their work’.