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The European University Association selects the UOC as an example of diversity and inclusion

  Photo: Rawpixel / Unsplash (CC)

Photo: Rawpixel / Unsplash (CC)

Virgnia Snchez Romn

"Universities' strategies and approaches towards diversity, equity and inclusion - Examples from across Europe" collates the experiences and different approaches of seven European universities. The UOC has been selected to share its initiatives for inclusion based on e-learning.

How to manage diversity, inclusion and equity in the classroom is one of the current challenges facing European universities in a context where, according to OECD figures, one in every five young people in member states is a migrant or a child of migrants. Aware of the need for universities to share strategies and good practices in this area, the European University Association (EUA) has published "Universities' strategies and approaches towards diversity, equity and inclusion - Examples from across Europe", in which the UOC explains how e-learning can contribute to Sustainable Development Goal 4 of the 2030 Agenda.

Gemma Xarles Jubany, director of Globalization and Cooperation, and Pastora Martnez Samper, Vice President for Globalization and Cooperation, co-authored the article included in the publication. Titled "eLearning to Promote Quality Education for All at the UOC", it explains how the UOC model has contributed to ensuring access to quality higher education in Catalonia to people who, for different reasons, are excluded from the on-site education system and how this model can be replicated around the world.

"Currently, the UOC is the leading Catalan university and the third in Spain in terms of numbers of students with disabilities, which represents 2.5% of all students at the University", assures Xarles, going on to say that "this fact offers us evidence that e-learning can be a real solution to breaking down barriers, not only physical ones, but also communicative, social and attitudinal."

The article also describes the University's initiatives in relation to welcoming refugeestraining professionals who are deployed in remote areas of the world and online mobility programmes, which offer the experience of studying at an international university without having to travel. Thanks to students from different parts of the world sharing the Campus, they interact with and enrich each other, promoting skills that enable them to face the global and social challenges of an ever more changing world.

Transferring the UOC's experience and model is one of the actions included in the university's strategy for the coming years. "At the UOC we are convinced our experience can be replicated in other contexts", explains Martnez Samper. "That's why we've set ourselves the objective of increasing the access and availability of quality higher education around the world, and helping other countries so that they can develop their own online model".

What is the EUA?

With over 850 members in 47 different countries, the EUA is the largest organization representing universities in Europe. Its objectives include influencing European public policies in relation to higher education, research and innovation, and serving as a forum for cooperation between member universities.