In this month’s special supplement in our transformative leadership series, published in partnership with The MasterCard Foundation, University World News looks at the challenges to social equity and how higher education can overcome these obstacles and prepare young people to achieve social justice.
Pathways to increase access to universities offer a limited vision for equity. To achieve social change, leaders need to look beyond widening access towards greater equity within the university, ensuring that the curriculum reflects the diversity and needs of the growing number of non-traditional students.
An increasing number of academics and students are keen to ensure their work has a social impact, questioning the purpose of knowledge and using it to create transformative change.
Geeta Dharmarajan has dedicated her life to challenging poverty in the slums of Delhi through using the power of story and student-centred learning to transform educational achievement and questions whether Indian universities are preparing young people to think, ask questions and take action to change society for the better.
Higher education reform should not be limited simply to the redistribution of higher education resources by region and by social group, but should embrace a rethinking of universities’ role in transformative social change.
While there are notable examples of universities leading innovative programmes, current efforts to reform education to tackle the challenges facing Roma in Europe will be severely compromised unless much more is done to confront the re-emergence of violent prejudice against them.
What causes at-risk students to drop out or fail to thrive at university? Research shows that positive academic experiences are crucial and suggests ways that these can be improved to transform the educational trajectory and increase equity.
Aya Waller-Bey suffers from survivor guilt. She knows she is one of the lucky few from a mostly-black community of blue collar workers to make it to not just one but two elite universities and she is using the opportunity to tackle the injustice, inequality of opportunity, by pressing for diversity on the curriculum – and the study of hip hop.