Higher education is contributing to global inequality as much as it is addressing it. It is time to act.

The third World Access to Higher Education Day took place on 17th November 2020.

World Access to Higher Education Day (WAHED) is a platform to raise global awareness around inequalities in access and success in higher education (HE), and act as a catalyst for international, regional and local action. Due to the success of the first two World Access to Higher Education Days, held in November 2018 and November 2019, we are now establishing this as an annual event.

WAHED 2020 is set to be our most exciting event to date, taking the form of a series of consecutive global conferences across various time zones on 17th November, each led by an organisation committed to equitable access to Higher Education in a specific continent

The case for World Access to Higher Education Day is striking. UNESCO have recognised the importance of access to HE by making equal access to education, including university, one of its Global Goals for 2030. World Access to Higher Education Day can act as a platform to help make sure this goal is met by:

  • Acting as a catalyst for local, regional and global action
  • Advocating for equitable access to HE across the world to policymakers, governments and higher education providers
  • Providing the platform for the development of a global equitable access network

You can read our summary report about the achievements of WAHED 2019 here. For further details about the 2018 World Access to Higher Education Day please click here.


What does ‘access to higher education’ mean?

The terms and definitions used to describe access to higher education and widening access are often varied. But it is important that ‘access to higher education’ should not simply mean entering higher education.

A person from a marginalised group may be able to enter higher education but could have fewer options in doing so, have difficulties completing their course, find themselves unable to achieve a comparable level of attainment to other students and then struggle to get a good job.

Access to higher education should include the completion of quality higher education and progression into post-higher education study or work.

Why is access to higher education important?

  • Ensures opportunities are shared fairly
  • Has the potential to boost economic growth
  • Gives people a chance to transform their lives
  • Helps to create a society where we all work together to build a better world

What has World Access to Higher Education Day achieved?

In 2018 and 2019 we:

This year’s conference series will be entitled WAHED 2020 Global Conference Series: Access and Success in the Post Pandemic world.

We are pleased to confirm WAHED regional co-ordinators for the Global Conference programme as below:


Who is leading World Access to Higher Education Day?

World Access to Higher Education Day is organised by the National Education Opportunities Network (NEON), the UK’s professional organisation for widening access to high education, and is supported by NCUK, the trading arm of the Northern Consortium charity.

However, as a genuinely global event, the individual conferences and other events taking place on World Access to Higher Education Day will be led by their hosts.

World Access to Higher Education Day is also supported by educational institutions from around the world, some of which are involved in planning for the day. You can find a complete list on our Become a Supporter page, where you can also register your own organisation as a supporter.

Help us to spread the word about access and success