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 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.
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.
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.
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.