AUAS signs Amsterdam agreement for inclusive higher education

22 Sep 2020 15:10 | Communication

On Monday 21 September, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (AUAS) and eight other higher education institutions signed the Amsterdam agreement for diverse, inclusive and socially engaged higher education. In doing so, the institutions have declared their joint commitment to creating an inclusive and just society in which there is no room for racism and discrimination.

Combating inequality of opportunity

The agreement was signed on behalf of AUAS by Hanneke Reuling, Interim Chair of the Executive Board. As part of the Amsterdam Higher Education Agreement (Amsterdams Akkoord Hoger Onderwijs), the educational institutions have committed to setting concrete and measurable goals to combat inequality of opportunity, while striving for increased representation, accessibility, involvement in the city, shared knowledge and a safe learning and working environment for everyone. By signing the agreement, the institutions are also expressing their commitment to engage in dialogue with students, lecturers and other staff about adhering to these goals and keeping them relevant.

Diversity as a top priority

Along with Sustainability and Digitisation, Diversity and Inclusion is one of the key priority areas of AUAS policy for the years ahead, and various initiatives have been launched to promote an inclusive university of applied sciences. Because students have a need to study under lecturers with whom they can relate, the diversity and inclusion trainee programme was established in 2019. In this programme, 40 young professionals with a bicultural background are trained as lecturer-researchers. The hope is that the programme will help AUAS to better reflect the student population and increase students’ sense of connection. In order to create more diversity among employees and equal opportunities for all, AUAS pays special attention to inclusivity during the recruitment and selection process. In addition, various AUAS networks and platforms strive to build an inclusive university of applied sciences on a daily basis.

A joint commitment

Despite the numerous initiatives to promote diversity and inclusion, there is still much to be achieved when it comes to inclusive education, awareness and support for this theme, and the exchange of knowledge, expertise and experience with other educational institutions. Via the Amsterdam Higher Education Agreement, AUAS is joining forces with other educational institutions and making a joint commitment. To fulfil the agreement and achieve the goals, progress will be jointly evaluated during an annual event. This meeting will include discussions on areas for improvement as well as good practices.

The agreement is part of WeMakeThe.City 2020 (Dutch), an online programme hosted by Pakhuis de Zwijger.