Topic 1: How do we recognise success in equity and inclusion in education?

When we discuss equity, inclusion and access to education, we often talk about the barriers to be overcome. I guess we will have that discussion in this forum over the next few weeks.

To take a different view, this topic considers how we can tell when equity and inclusion efforts are successful. What are the signs of success? Who decides what is successful? Does success have to be measured, or is it about a feeling or sense of cultural change?

If you have an opinion, an example from your own work or the published literature, or any resources to share, you are welcome to share them here.


The concept of equality, inclusion and access are related. In my view they have to do with availing opportunities to all gender irrespective of socio-economic background, health conditions, age, culture, religious beliefs etc.

we can recognize success the moment we see increase in enrollment and successful completion of programmes by all.

Equity and Inclusion in education can be achieved when the education system is democratised. The education system should be open enough to accommodate and be accessed by as many as it can regardless of disabilities and educational background

I believe success in equity and inclusion can be easily measured if we have Key Performance Areas (KPAs) and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) of the same. It is only through targets that we can measure our performance and the success of any initiatives. If we can come up with a universal agreed rubric and or defining attributes of equity and inclusion, then we can certainly measure ourselves against those features.

Hello Shadreck Balisi,

Thank you for your comments. I’m just wondering how we might express the democratisation of education through KPIs and KPAs. It’s a big question, but do you (or anyone else in the forum) have any suggestions about which attributes we might include in a rubric?

Best wishes,

Hello Patience,

Thank you for your comments. You mention a range of factors (health, age, beliefs etc) as well as gender. How do you think these affect successful completion of courses? In your experience, how can we support people with a diversity of factors?

Best wishes,

Health is an important factor in successful completion of a programme. If a student is not healthy,she or he doesn’t have strength and motivation to study because of I’ll health. If is therefore important to educate students about the importance of staying healthy, avoid indulging practices that will put their health at stake.

Age is another factor in completing studies successfully. Young people normally are at an advantage because they don’t have too many responsibilities. They are able to focus. On the other hand, older students are self motivated to study but the reality still stand, they are sometimes overwhelmed by too many responsibilities and loss motivation, some end up dropping out because they are unable to cope.

The best way to support students is to diversify the mode of delivery to suite their diverse needs. For instance, online activities for most of the course to allow working students to access it at their own time and pace.

That’s my contribution in this issue.



In order to measure the success of these indicators, we first have to define and agree on what is equity and what is inclusion. In some instances when we have declared success, using the predetermined and agreed benchmarks, someone may decide that this is not success for them.
There will come a point when the minimum benchmark for success in equity and inclusion in education must be clearly defined and remain steady.
In recognising success in equity and inclusion in education, we would be expecting to see all genders, races, disabilities and socioeconomic classes being given the same opportunities within the education system.

Democratisation of Education means education that exhibit the values and/or principles of equity, social inclusion, open access and empowerment

Welcome to the discussion, Marlyn, and thank you for making these points. Do you think it would be helpful to have a new topic about definitions of equity and inclusion? You are welcome to start one.

Quote: ‘In some instances when we have declared success, using the predetermined and agreed benchmarks, someone may decide that this is not success for them.’

Wondering whether others have experiences of this mismatch between personal and organisational succcess?

Here at the UKOU we had a goal to increase progression from one course to the next. Some students were satisfied with completing the first course, so they didn’t want to study any further. Our % progression didn’t increase, but the students were fine. How might an educational organisation respond to that?

These points resonate with me, but I don’t want to write too much, lest I dominate the discussion. The family and work responsibilities of older students are familiar in my work. Finding time for studying is a challenge.

There is the question of how healthy do you have to be, in order to study? And how do we adapt the educational experience to meet students’ needs if they have a long term illness with fatigue, for example?

Wondering whether others have experiences of diversifying provision to share here? @cnaleen researches mobile education for life-long learning

It is hard to define success in these matters but IGNOU’s (India) high enrolment of prisoners; attempts towards mainstreaming transgenders through free enrolment; and making possible a life of dignity for sex workers through education are perhaps some indicators of success.

Weclome to the discussion, Sutapa, and thank you for highlighting these groups of people and the work IGNOU is doing. Would you like to say some more about how you support these students through education? @patiencesd33 has made the point that we need to diversify the mode of delivery to suite diverse needs.

Best wishes,

Special study centers are set up for target groups who cannot leave their place (stay & /work) . Special study centers have therefore been opened for jail inmates. For sex workers too such arrangements are made.

The initiative for transgenders is relatively recent. However the greatest support for all these groups is the policy of waiving of fees.

I understand the point about activities that can be completed at a distance and when convenient. But sadly online itself is a barrier for some students - those who do not have internet access at home, or have a poor connection, or have one device per family for example.

Cath @CathB welcome to the discussion! There is a tension here: technology can increase engagement with education, but access to the technology can then become a barrier for some people. So do we add ‘technologically excluded’ to our list of factors, complementing age, socio-economic status etc?
What are the implications for how we design open and distance learning?

These are fascinating projects @sbose and it is inspiring to see people studying under these conditions. You may know know my colleague Dr Anne Pike’s work on offender learning here in the UK. Here’s a link to her research publications:

Do others in this forum have experience of reaching students on the margins of society?
Feel free to share your practices.

1 Like

Thanks for the link.

WOW. Thanks for sharing. In my place there was same kind of achievement by a prisoner who was sentences life in prison. Do you think it is a good case study for me? :slightly_smiling_face: