6 December, 2023
By Maura O'Shea
Posted: 8 September, 2022
Higher education institutions have an opportunity to play a critical role in relation to racial inequalities both within the sector and in wider society and there is an opportunity for Higher Education to become a beacon of good practice in this area.
This is according to the first ever Race Equality Implementation Plan in the Higher Education Sector, which was launched today by the Higher Education Authority.
The aim of the Implementation Plan is to advance the work of the HEA’s Centre of Excellence for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion following the publication of the first National Race Equality Report published in October 2021.
As part of its ongoing work in the area of staff equality, diversity and inclusion, the HEA conducted a national survey of staff in higher education to develop a picture of race equality across the Irish higher education sector.
This report indicates that higher education institutions have an opportunity to play a critical role in relation to racial inequalities in wider society and there is an opportunity for Higher Education to become exemplars of good practice in this area.
The HEA has now finalised an Implementation Plan with a view to advancing anti-racism work across the higher education system.
CEO of the Higher Education Authority, Dr Alan Wall, said:
“The HEA has pioneered this work through a national survey and the first ever report on race equality in higher education. This implementation plan demonstrates the HEA’s ongoing commitment to tackling race inequality and the onus is now on our higher education institutions to act as societal leaders in this regard.”
Head of the HEA’s Centre of Excellence for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Dr Ross Woods, said:
“We have moved beyond the time for discussions about whether or not inequalities exist. By building an evidence base through the national survey and report, the HEA has been able to develop this targeted implementation plan to advance the sector’s ongoing work ahead of the publication of the National Action Plan Against Racism later this year.”
The HEA will monitor the implementation of a number of actions that have been identified at institutional and national level, which will be undertaken between now and the end of 2024. Key actions include the development of higher education institution Race Equality Action Plans and a national campaign to encourage staff disclosure of equality monitoring information. Of particular note is the development of a Race Equality Charter for higher education institutions and a national conference in January 2023.
NOTES TO EDITOR:
· In 2021, the HEA Centre of Excellence for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion ran the first National Race Equality Survey of all HEIs, the findings of same were included in the Race Equality Report, published in October 2021.
· The Centre prepared a Discussion paper on the Report which was circulated to the Committee for discussion at their April meeting. The Centre has received feedback from the Athena SWAN Intersectionality Working Group, the HEA National Committee for EDI and from HEIs.
· The Centre has now finalised the Implementation Plan with a view to advancing this work across the higher education system.
· Following the launch of the Implementation Plan the Centre will develop a monitoring system to ensure that relevant stakeholders are implementing the key strategic actions which have been identified by the HEA.
· The Centre will begin implementation of those recommendations for which it is the lead stakeholder. Of particular note is the development of a Race Equality Charter which HEIs will sign up and a National Conference in January 2023.
6 December, 2023
1 December, 2023