SISA8 - A rights based approach to development as a priority for addressing race inequality in higher education research institutions

Day 1 at 17.20
The UN Thematic Consultation on Education for the World We Want has stated a number of targets for the achievement of sustainable development goals including, “reducing and eliminating disparities in educational outcomes among Learners”, (Sayed: 2013). My involvement as a postgraduate researcher on the Race Equality Mark Self Assessment Team at the University of the West of England has increased my awareness of inequalities in the field of education nationally. E.g. empirical evidence highlights people of African descent living in the UK experience disproportionate inequalities as a result of structural discrimination in the fulfilment of the right to education. This threatens diversity and inclusion in the Europe 2020 Strategy.

Notably, people of African descent remain disproportionately marginalised from senior academic and management posts in British universities. Moreover disproportionate differentials persist in attainment and retention levels of students and staff, including researchers from different ethnicities. I will therefore critically analyse the effectiveness of interventions such as the Equality Challenge Unit's Race Equality Charter Mark for the attainment of sustainable development goals . E.g. How can we achieve “more inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities” SDG4? In this respect my PhD thesis proposes to make an original contribution to knowledge in the field of universal human rights through the impact of this research, in addressing race inequality, including structural discrimination in access to the right to education.

This Special Interest Session will therefore focus on discussion of how supranational initiatives such as the Plan of Action for the International Decade for People of African Descent, can empower and create impact, e.g. through education and human rights awareness. Sustainable Development Goal 16 asserts the need to promote ‘peaceful and inclusive societies, access to justice for all, as well as inclusive institutions at all levels’. With this in mind, my doctoral research asserts it is imperative academic institutions address human rights violations affecting people of African descent, for the attainment of inclusive sustainable development. I therefore propose to argue for a rights based approach to development which is inclusive of people of African descent, as a priority in higher education research institutions in the UK.
Day Day 1
Session Special Interest
Start time 17.20
Code SISA8

Ade Olaiya, Postgraduate Researcher, University of the West of England