After Montreal in October 2013, this year will see the second of three conferences on access to post-secondary education in Malaysia, now under the name GAPS.
The idea of the first conference was: “We aim to make a tangible impact on rates of participation and success in post-secondary pathways throughout the developing and developed world, where youth and adults are held back by poverty, birth and other economic and social circumstances.” For 2015, the initiative issued the following statement: “Participation in post-secondary education is the gateway to economic and social prosperity for individuals and countries in the 21st century. There will be a shortfall in the number of workers educated to ‘college level’ across the world of 30-40 million by 2030.
Participation in post-secondary education leads to better health, greater civic participation and increased happiness. Yet across every nation in the world, regardless of size, culture or political regime, access to post-secondary education is unequal. It is estimated that 260 million students will be in post-secondary education across the world by 2025 (OECD 2011) but who will these students be? It is an economic and social imperative that they are drawn from all sections of society, not just the already educated and the privileged. Reducing these inequalities is a challenge that should unite those in education, politics, business and civil society globally. But is this happening?
Are those with the ability to make post-secondary education fairer really working together on a global scale to do so?
The GAPS Initiative exists to address the global access challenge. In an increasingly inter-connected world where information and people flow across borders, we have to address the major social and economic challenges that we face in a global way.
GAPS will work across sectors and across countries to bring together those committed to extending economic and social prosperity and advocate to policymakers and leaders to make the changes necessary to open up access to post-secondary education.”