No One Left Behind: Advocating for Equitable Opportunities for Success in Tertiary Education

There is much literature on the global expansion of tertiary education and the exponential growth of online teaching platforms. This move has been expediated by the COVID-19 pandemic. This relentless rise in the use of Education Online Technologies (EOT) has necessitated a closer examination of how various equity groups have fared in this time of rapid change in education. It is proposed that all these changes in education do not necessarily bring about equal access, participation and opportunity for success. Several issues have been noted when exploring the relationship between tertiary education and equity. However, less research is available on the relationship between culturally responsive, sustaining and safe online teaching-learning spaces and equitable opportunities for success in learning. This panel argues that the heart of teaching and learning is in relational connectedness and the rapid reliance on Education Online Technologies (EOT) has led to the marginalisation of some social groups. The literature on equity of access, participation and success is mostly oriented towards some clearly defined social groups that were, or still are considered as being discriminated against. The primary objective of this panel presentation is to propose that focusing on access and opportunity in education will open the door to a discussion on issues of moral equality and the belief that human beings should be given equal access to life chances. This will ignite a different perception of ‘equity’ and how it is lived and practised in tertiary classrooms. It is envisioned that this will, in turn, move our professional dialogue into issues of moral equality and the fundamental right of human beings to equal access to life chances. This panel seeks to address some questions on social groups that favour relational pedagogy and face-to-face teaching-learning environments. How might this rapid global march towards online learning and the pervasive rise in technologically enhanced teaching-learning environments, disadvantage such groups? Will power imbalances contribute to one form of delivery subjugating the other; one way of knowing and doing enslaving the other? Will this then lead to unequal opportunities for participation and success for some social groups in tertiary education?

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Posted by IAFOR