The EAN (European Access Network) is excited to be teaming up with the National Union of Students - Norway for its 24th Annual Conference.
Advocating for access, equity, inclusion and diversity in higher education:
Politics, Policies, Power and Persuasion
All of us seeking to change the ideas, policies, practices, systems and other factors that support and perpetuate education inequalities are ‘advocates for change’ – whether we are students, academics, administrators, policy makers, teachers, support workers, or have some other role within or outside higher education.
Being an advocate for change in higher education, particularly an ‘equity champion’, is a challenging, and at times thankless role. It can be isolating and difficult, especially when there are strong forces supporting the status quo. Many of us can tell stories about being ‘a lone voice’ in a disinterested – perhaps hostile – crowd or environment or of the difficulties of trying to persuade others to adopt new practices that are very different from ‘what they have always done’.
It is also a very important role. Without equity champions – both individuals and organisations – it is doubtful that many of the reforms that have opened up higher education opportunities for a more diverse student group over recent decades would have been achieved. Education inequalities - differences in participation and outcomes between people of different races, social classes, ethnic backgrounds, age, religion, gender etc - advantage some people while disadvantaging others. They create unfair differences in life chances and have implications for health, poverty, housing and life expectancy. They contribute to social divisions and disharmony. Eliminating them is vital.
Now, in the second decade of the 21st century, ‘equity champions’ are needed as much as ever in higher education. Despite considerable progress, some education inequalities persist throughout the world, while some new forms of inequality are emerging as the world changes.
Fortunately, those taking on this challenging role now have an advantage. The work of previous years has bequeathed a legacy of knowledge, expertise and experience that we can use to make our task easier and help us to change ‘what is’ into ‘what should be’ more quickly.
In this conference we will explore the dimensions of this legacy and how we can use it to help us to overcome resistance and maximise our chances of success in tackling the challenges we face currently and expect to face in the future. We will explore how we can use it to help us to shape our strategies , guide our priorities and develop new approaches for new times and circumstances.
We will consider the following questions:
- What forms of education inequalities are the most difficult to overcome? Why are they so challenging and what strategies should we use?
- What are the factors that make change difficult to achieve? What strategies should we use to overcome them?
- What competing interests within higher education affect our chances of success? How do we counter them?
- Where and in what circumstances is success most likely? Where should we focus our efforts to achieve the greatest change?
- What balance should we give to working for short-term and long-term objectives?
- Who can help us to achieve our goals? How do we engage them and gain their support?
- Influencing politicians and public opinion – is it necessary? How do we go about it?
- What are the roles of student organisations, networks, such as the EAN, trade unions and organisations representing groups within and outside higher education?
We feature the Call for Proposals below and attach the PRoposal Form.
More information: http://www.ean-edu.org/annual-conference-2015.html