November 6, 2003

Widening Access to Third Level Education on the Island of Ireland: Towards Better Policy and Practice

Higher Education Conference Series: Conference 3
6-7 November 2003
Ramada Hotel, Belfast

The purpose of this conference was to discuss how improved collaboration in policy and practice issues could widen access to Higher Educationon on a North/South basis. This was the third in a series of North/South Higher Education Conferences.


Thursday 6 November

Chair: Professor Áine Hyland. Vice-President, University College Cork

1.15 pm Registration
2.00 Official opening by a Northern Ireland government representative and the Irish Minister for Education and Science, Mr Noel Dempsey TD
2.45 A Reflection on Equal Educational Opportunity Policy in the United States
Dr Arnold Mitchem, President, US Council of Opportunity in Education
3.30 Mr Samuel Isaacs, Executive Officer, South African Qualifications Authority
The South African Experience of Higher Education Access for Disadvantaged Persons: A National Qualifications Framework perspective
4.00 Refreshments
4.30 From Periphery to Policy: Inclusive Access to Higher Education in the Republic of Ireland
Dr Mary-Liz Trant, Head of National Office for Equity of Access to Higher Education, Dublin
5.00 Opening plenary discussion
7.45 Reception
8.30 Dinner

Friday 7 November

Chair: Mr Dick Langford, Chairperson, National Qualifications Authority of Ireland

9.15 am Widening Access in Scotland: Recent Policy Developments
Mr David Wann, Deputy Chief Executive, Scottish Higher Education Funding Council
9.45 Widening Access: The Northern Ireland Experience
Professor Bob Osborne, Professor of Applied Social Studies, University of Ulster
10.15 Three parallel sessions to examine examples of good practice in Ireland:

  • Disadvantaged school leavers: the University of Ulster’s Step-Up programme in Derry – led by Mrs Martine Mulhern, Head of Science, St Mary’s College, Creggan, and chaired by Professor Brian Norton, President, Dublin Institute of Technology
  • People with Disabilities -led by Ms Ann Heelan, Executive Director, AHEAD – Association for Higher Education Access and Disability, Dublin, and chaired by Ms Monica Wilson, chief executive, Disability Action, Belfast
  • Disadvantaged Mature Students – led by Mr Brian Turtle, Director, Belfast Institute of Further and Higher Education, and chaired by Professor Gerry McCormac, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Queen’s University Belfast

11.45 Final plenary session, introduced by Dr Rosemary Hamilton CBE, Director, The Open University in Ireland
1.15 Lunch (and close of conference)

See the list of attendees.