Despite every country in the world, where there is data (over 90%), having unequal access to higher education, no global organisation to address this issue exists. The launch today of the World Access to Higher Education Network (WAHEN), at the UNESCO World Higher Education Conference in Barcelona, will fill this gap, bringing together universities, policymakers, NGOs and foundations to work together in order to make higher education participation and attainment more equitable.
WAHEN will build on the work done, over the last five years. by World Access to Higher Education Day, the global day of action on equity which has reached over 1000 organisations in 110 countries. WAHEN will enable its members to collaborate with colleagues across the world, to access high quality courses around access and success and to participate in WAHEN’s Global Equitable Access and Success Awards, due to take place later on this year.
The new network will be co-ordinated by the National Education Opportunities Network (NEON), which is hosted by the University of West London in the United Kingdom. As the director of NEON and the convenor of WAHEN Professor Graeme Atherton states:
“The pandemic has presented higher education with real challenges and has demonstrated there is a real danger that recent progress in equitable access and success in higher education could spiral backwards. It is now more important than ever that organisations work together across borders, connecting universities, organisations and policymakers together to avoid any losses to the gains that have been made over recent years.”