The seminar “Equity in European Higher Education: State of the research, problems, ideas and perspectives” was organised by the MENON network in the frame of the EquNet project, with the support of the Lifelong Learning Programme of the European Commission.
The Seminar aimed to aggregate the main European networks and organisations active in the higher education field and in equity-related activities, to discuss the issue of equity in higher education in Europe. The theme is highly relevant since widening participation in higher education is a major component of the educational policy in many member states of the European Union and of the Bologna-Process and should consist of an attempt to increase not only the number of young people entering higher education, but also the proportion of “under-represented groups” (e.g. people from lower socioeconomic strata, ethnic minorities or people with disabilities). At the same time, social inclusion is important to HE as still too many capable students are excluded from the higher education system due to their background, insufficient study support systems or other barriers.
The Workshop represented a genuine dialogue moment between Higher Education and social inclusion stakeholders, and reached a number of important objectives. First, it contributed, starting from the results of the EquNet research and of similar exercises, to refining the understanding of what would be needed in terms of EU and national policies in the field of Higher Education. Second, it fostered the exchange of research findings, working practices and ideas among relevant stakeholders and communities, in particular facilitating contact between the academic and the civil society communities. Third, it represented a step towards the materialisation of the idea of an HE equity indicator, as a way to actually “measure” equity in European higher education.
More info at www.equnet.info.