World Access to Higher Education Day (WAHED) 17th November 2020 – Access and Success in the Post-Pandemic World

17/11/2020 | News

The third WAHED on the 17th November 2020 is being marked by over 30 events across 25 countries including 6 online conferences involving over 2000 delegates and the release, over the week, of four new WAHED research reports looking at the extent of inequalities in access and success in higher education across the world and how they can be addressed. WAHED is the global day of action focusing on increasing access and participation in higher education for those from low income and other marginalised groups and it is convened by the National Education Opportunities Network (NEON).

The theme of this year’s WAHED24 online conference series, delivered in partnership with University World News is ‘Access and Success in the Post Pandemic world’. The series includes over 30 speakers and events led by partners from each continent including the Asia Europe Foundation (ASEF), the University of Nairobi, the UNESCO International Institute for Higher Education in Latin America and the Caribbean, the Lumina Foundation and the Equity Practitioners in Higher Education Australasia/National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education.

The research reports released examine both the relationship between equitable access and success in higher education and COVID-19 as well ongoing challenges.

Two reports are released by NEON in association with the Sutton Trust this week. The first looks at how leading universities across the world are supporting access and success for learners from low income and marginalised backgrounds. The second summarises the findings of a survey of over 40 countries looking at how they are enabling access and success since the pandemic began.

In the US the Lumina Foundation will be launching a major study looking at the relationship between higher education and COVID-19 authored by ex-Head of Tertiary Education at the World Bank, Jamil Salmi. The UNESCO Institute for Higher Education in Latin America and the Caribbean are releasing a major review of the global evidence on who participates in higher education and how inequalities in participation can be addressed in Latin America and the Caribbean and globally.

As Director of the National Education Opportunities Network (NEON), Dr. Graeme Atherton states:

There has never been a more important time to focus attention globally on the issue of inequality in access and success in higher education. It is a challenge that transcends universities and countries of all types and one that COVID-19 will make even harder to address. WAHED shows however that there is a global community working on this challenge but they need further support from university leaders and governments if they are going to really succeed in their work’.


Notes to editors

  1. To find out more about World Access to Higher Education Day go to:
  2. To read the new reports from the Sutton Trust Room at the top Access and success at leading universities around the world’ and  ‘University Access, Student Success and COVID-19 in a Global Context’ later this week please go to:
  3. To read the new report from the Lumina Foundation COVID’s Lessons for Global Higher Education please go to:
  4. To read the report from the UNESCO International Institute for Higher Education in Latin America, Towards universal access to higher education: international trends please go to:
  5. To attend one of the WAHED24 online conferences please go to:
  6. For further information or to arrange an interview with Dr Graeme Atherton please contact Maria-Anna Petrou at

Get Involved