Global Health Academy

Global access summit inspires practice change

A summary of key messages from inspiring speakers at the World Access to Higher Education Summit hosted at the University

On the 26th November 2019, World Access to Higher Education Day, the Global Health Academy hosted the Widening Access to Higher Education Summit held in the Playfair Library

Learning together to increase access

Tackling inequalities in higher education worldwide was the focus of the event. Students, researchers and experts from more than 28 countries came together to share best practice in increasing access.

The Commissioner for Fair Access Scotland, Sir Peter Scott, delivered the keynote speech. He was joined by the Vice Chancellor University of Rwanda, Professor Phil Cotton, and the president of Theirworld and Chief Executive of the Global Business Coalition for Education, Justin van Fleet.

The Summit focused on two areas – how to improve access for those with disabilities, and how to improve access for those living in conflict and post conflict situations.

Inspring alumni advocates for more engagement

Vibhu Sharma, one of the University’s inspirational alumni and Associate Policy Officer with the UN Secretariat, spoke on why this matters:

Young people with disabilities are actually great innovators as they have to innovate every day to deal with the challenges that the academic or social environments present to them.

Vibhu SharmaDisability & Inclusion Research Consultant with Theirworld and Associate Policy Officer with the UN Secretariat

Vibhu also highlighted how engagement must go forward:

Students with disabilities ought to be stopped being viewed as beneficiaries of policies, and rather must be involved in policy making and its implementation at all levels.

Vibhu SharmaDisability & Inclusion Research Consultant with Theirworld and Associate Policy Officer with the UN Secretariat

As a school child Vibhu had been asked to leave her school in Delhi because of her disability. She is now a campaigner for young people with disabilities with the international charity Theirworld.

Vibhu Sharma speaking at the Global Widening Access to Higher Education Summit with Justin van Fleet (CEO, Theirworld) Nov 2019
Vibhu Sharma speaking at the Widening Access to Higher Education Summit with Justin van Fleet (CEO, Theirworld). November 2019

Lived experience of current students

Two current students – one on a Commonwealth Commission Scholarship and one on a MasterCard Scholarship – spoke about their experiences.

Andhira Kara described her journey to education from war torn South Sudan, through the refugee camps.

Jane Theiru talked about her vision for all people with disabilities to be engaged in the formative experience of education so that the whole of education can benefit from the inclusion of everyone.

Watch a short video of Jane Theiru talking about her experience of living with a disability and studying at the University.

Affirming the importance of the whole education journey

Reflecting on these contributions, Professor Liz Grant, Director of the University’s, Global Health Academy, highlights the importance of education at every stage and across different circumstances. As demonstrated by these speakers, education itself can reduce inequalities and increase access.

We believe equal action is crucial to create a fair society and a better world.

“By bringing people together for this global summit, we gained new perspectives. We also affirmed the message that there is a golden thread that draws education into a circle – from primary, through secondary to Higher Education, Community Education and to employability – and ties together every person.

“Education is a change maker.

Professor Liz GrantDirector of the University’s Global Health Academy
Liz Grant speaking at the Widening Global Access to Higher Education Summit, November 2019
Professor Liz Grant speaking at the Widening Global Access to Higher Education Summit, November 2019

 

World Access to Higher Education Summit

World Access to Higher Educations Day

Find out more about Widening Access at the University