09.03.2015
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GAPS in a nutshell

KUALA LUMPUR – The GAPS (Global Access to Post-Secondary Education) initiative aims to bring together those from across sectors and countries to meet this global challenge via advocacy and action. The conference will be held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, from 5 to 8 October 2015 in association with Sunway University.

The GAPS (Global Access to Post-Secondary Education) initiative aims to bring together those from across sectors and countries to meet this global challenge via advocacy and action. The conference will be held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, from 5 to 8 October 2015 in association with Sunway University.

What is GAPS?

The GAPS initiative works across sectors to bring together those committed to extending access to post-secondary education through advocacy and action. GAPS began in October 2013 at the World Congress on Access to Post-secondary Education held in Montreal. Almost 250 people from nearly 40 countries around the world came together to explore the challenges associated with widening access to post-secondary education and lay the foundations for a new global social movement.

GAPS is initiated and led by the European Access Network and supported by a consortium of organisations from across the world.

The GAPS initiative works across sectors to bring together those committed to extending economic and social prosperity advocating to policymakers and leaders to make the changes necessary to open up access to post-secondary education.

It has five objectives:

1.     To make the evidence based case for increasing access to post-secondary education.
2.     To instigate the cultural transformation in organisations necessary to achieve our vision.
3.     To build a global network committed to increasing access to post-secondary education from the public, private, voluntary sectors and policy makers.
4.     To place students and young people at the core of efforts to improve access to and success in post-secondary education.
5.     To initiate innovative exemplar projects supporting participation in post-secondary education which can be scaled up globally.What is GAPS doing?

The work will combine both advocacy and action. GAPS builds a diverse work programme that focuses on where GAPS can make a difference. This work has a number of strands:

Measuring Access and Success in access to post-secondary education

GAPS will build the evidence base to underpin access to post-secondary education work globally. It undertakes its first project in this space with ‘Drawing the Global Access Map’ – a major study of the data available in access work across the world. It is being delivered with the support of Pearson PLC and the University of Newcastle, Australia.

Meeting the STEM Challenge?

GAPS is convening forums in different parts of the world up to 2015 to identify the major challenges in making the STEM pipeline equitable and build an agenda to address these challenges.

Empowering students and young people

GAPS will place students and young people at the centre. GAPS will create and support a Young Activists and Student Network and an alliance of student unions and organisations committed to the access of higher education.

Making excellence inclusive

Many universities grapple with lower retention and higher dropout rates among especially underrepresented and international students. GAPS will build on the Inclusive Excellence framework, a tested and widely implemented approach founded upon innovative, inclusive, student-centered and critical pedagogies and policies.

The GAPS Ambassador Network

The success of GAPS depends on the development of a network of people who can work together to extend access to post-secondary education in their own countries and across the globe. GAPS builds a network of GAPS Ambassadors from across the world who will shape our future work.

The GAPS Conference and Event Series

The key to the work of GAPS is its global conference and event series. It delivers a series of major conferences bringing those from across sectors together to work on the access to post-secondary education challenge. The next conference will take place in Kuala Lumpur in October 2015. Additionally, GAPS will organise an event in South Africa in 2016 (tbc) and its second World Congress on Access to Post-Secondary Education in Brazil in 2017.

What is the upcoming conference in Kuala Lumpur about?

The GAPS 2015 conference „Access to Post-Secondary Education in the 21st Century: Meeting the Global Challenge” taking place from 5 to 8 October 2015 in Kuala Lumpur will bring together over 300 key decision makers in higher education, policy and business in Asia. It will focus on articulating access to post-secondary education as one of the key global challenges in the 21st century. It will look at why access to post-secondary education is so important to nations and regions, where the gaps in the knowledge base are regarding post-secondary education by background, what tools are available to us to extend access and how they can be deployed.

It will address particularly the role of access in Asia, and in supporting the nation building of Asian countries. There will be 5 ‘big issues’ at Kuala Lumpur 2015:
·      Making access matter: Who are ‘the marginalised’ in post-secondary education? How can their futures matter to those in power in Asia, the South Pacific and globally?
·      Combining excellence and equity: Is access to post-secondary education defined in Euro and western-centric ways? What does excellence and equity mean in Asia and the South Pacific?
·      Extending capacity affordably: How can you expand both new and old systems without creating barriers to the participation of students at the margin?
·      Nurturing Innovation in access: What are the new answers to the old questions, such as, how to change university cultures? How to reach out to young people and communities?
·      Engaging Business and Civil Society: What is the role of employers and NGOs in extending access to post-secondary education? What are they doing now? What is the unique contribution that they can make?

Get in touch with GAPS

GAPS is seeking organisations who wish to support the work of GAPS and associate their work with one of the most important global issues in the area of economic growth, social prosperity and equity.

There is a range of opportunities to become engaged with GAPS:
·      Sign up to GAPS monthly bulletin
·      Follow GAPS on twitter: @gaps-education
·      Partner with us in the development of one or more of our strands.
·      Become involved in the GAPS Conference Series as partner and/or sponsor
·      Attend GAPS conferences

For further information please contact florian.kaiser@gaps-education.org

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