Equity in higher education means better opportunities

Higher education institutions nowadays should be equity-minded. But equity, is not the equivalent of equality

Higher education institutions nowadays should be equity-minded. But equity, is not the equivalent of equality.

Higher education institutions should aim for equity by helping less advantaged students to obtain their degree, and improve a country in economic and societal means. So higher education institutions promoting inclusivity and internationality, have a crucial role.

Equality versus equity

There is a difference between equity and equality, but what does that exactly mean?

Equality is when everyone is given equal possibilities, as things should already be set out – at least in Western countries. On the other hand, equity is an approach that helps the less advantaged, depending on the situation, offering al ot or even just a little help to a minority.

Therefore, the equity-centred mindset pays attention to and provides support to a less advantaged group. While equality relates to sameness, equity means fairness and ensures that everyone gets their share in more or less equal parts.

And it is essential to distinguish the two, especially in higher education.

Societal improvement through education

Economic and societal improvements usually occur when there is the proper basis for the two to flourish. And what better tool for this than with education. Completing college improves economic mobility. 

Equal opportunity and financial success are intertwined: the better the economic success of a country, the more equal opportunities. In countries with higher income rates, people are more likely to enrol in universities or colleges. And for low-income families, a college degree is a ticket to get out from poverty. 

Inequity: a problem in HEIs

Too few low-income students complete their college or university. The same goes for students from different cultural backgrounds. And there are also significant inequities in university or college readiness, the latter a crucial element for obtaining a degree.

Wide gaps in college readiness among all the enrolling students. This issue comes from the differences in educational opportunities. As each instructional attainment leads to a new educational opportunity, it is often tricky for disadvantaged groups and minorities to reach every step correctly. 

Problems might arise even during the first and most critical years of the educational path: economic difficulties, judgments based on race, gender and sexual orientation, or the need to take care of – in financial, temporal and emotional terms – the closest ones in a family with few resources at hand, or young or single mothers. These but a few examples of people finding themselves in this kind of disadvantaged situations.

These are the main categories that may, and do suffer from inequalities during their educational path. 

The choice of HEI for less advantaged students

The choice of an institution is an essential step in every student's life. Resource-rich institutions usually guarantee the best opportunities and economic income in post-graduate life.

But minorities and less advantaged students usually attend less prestigious institutions. This group of learners is often compelled to attend low-level higher education institutions for economic difficulties or implicit but existing discriminatory policies. 

These policies, of course, are usually not openly listed in the application process of some prestigious (and often non-inclusive) HEIs, but they may still play a significant role as the application is being processed.

HEIs promoting inclusivity and internationality

The key in solving these issues is to be found in the promotion and implementation of inclusive institutions. In higher education institutes, inclusivity and internationality become extremely important as they are the critical factors in promoting equity. Of course, equality has to be the basis for these institutions.

But equity has to be the goal that has to be reached and maintained, cared for, and worked on from schoolyear to schoolyear. In today's globalized world, it is almost impossible not to be inclusive for a higher education institution.

Moreover, inclusivity also means the readiness of an institution to embrace the students from diverse backgrounds by offering them the support they need, which is tailored to their requests and requirements.

ACS - ASOMI College of Sciences is an international higher education institution based on internationalization in higher education. It promotes internationality in the means of students as well as partners and stakeholders. Projects, research and innovation, are the critical values of ACS, and they are all implemented through a solid international attitude.