Higher education needs to open its doors to more people

Högskolan i Gävle

“We should attempt to attract everyone who has the ability and the possibility and, at the same time, support the students we admit in a better way,” says Tomas Boman, one of the organisers of the Include conference at the University of Gävle.

This week, the University of Gävle hosts the Swedish national network Include’s conference on everybody’s opportunity for higher education.

During two days, 135 participants, who are representatives for 20 higher education institutions from Luleå to Malmö, will discuss how higher education can become more inclusive and the importance of geography for the access to education.

Integration of those newly arrived is another prioritised area. How do one make use of such skills and competence and how can one shorten study periods through validation and assessment of actual skills and competence?

Why is the network called Include, Tomas Boman, one of the conference organisers?
“Because we would like create inroads that give everyone access to higher education. Traditionally, the focus has been on those who come from families unfamiliar with higher education. Include now broadens its scope to include integration and people with functional variations.”

Should everyone be admitted?
Yes, in principle. It is just about creating the right conditions which means adapted teaching methods in higher education and adapting what kind of support one offers. Many participants will take up teaching methods and how to include students with special needs. Today, certain adjustments are made for students with dyslexia and ADHD.

Politicians are also anxious to attempt to include everyone with an interest to study; higher education institutions need to open their doors to more people.

Health motivator programme
The University of Gävle was a precursor with its Health motivator programme aiming at becoming a centre for education for people with intellectual disabilities. This is the only group which is excluded from higher education.

This idea came to nothing, however, as the compulsory schools for pupils with learning disabilities do not qualify their pupils for higher education. But now, the Ministry of Education say that they will review the opportunities for lifelong learning, and in Borås a similar programme has started.

Our society needs everyone
Higher education institutions play a great and important role in making full use of the differences that exist. Elitist thinking has been present in higher education, but now, that is changing as we recognise that our society needs everyone, no matter their background.

Include

The network Include is a Swedish national network that focuses on broadened recruitment and broadened participation in higher education. The conference mixes seminars and workshops with researchers, lecturers and practitioners, nationally as well as internationally.


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For more information, please contact:
Tomas Boman, lecturer in social work at the University of Gävle
Phone: 072-011 53 30
Email: tomas.boman@hig.se



Text: Douglas Öhrbom

Published by: Douglas Öhrbom Page responsible: Veronica Liljeroth Updated: 2017-10-16
Högskolan i Gävle
www.hig.se
Box 801 76 GÄVLE
026-64 85 00 (växel)