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International Equality Project at Freie Universität

Facilitating Access to Higher Education for Disadvantaged Groups in Latin America

№ 20/2012 from Feb 02, 2012

The European Union is funding a new international research consortium at Freie Universität Berlin. The group will address the issue of how Latin American universities can contribute to overcoming social inequality. Together with Universidade Estadual de Campinas in Brazil, the Institute for Latin American Studies at Freie Universität will coordinate the three-year joint research project. Spokespersons at Freie Universität are Prof. Marianne Braig and Dr. Martha Zapata. Twelve Latin American and four European universities are involved. Freie Universität will bring its expertise in gender policy and gender studies into the joint project. As coordinating university, Freie Universität will receive 2.45 million euros, the largest proportion of the allocated funding.

In a global comparison, Latin America is the continent with the greatest inequalities. Education plays a central role in addressing the issue of which social institutions either contribute to or reduce inequality. Particularly in higher education, there are exclusion processes such as gender or ethnicity that go beyond economic inequality. In the past two decades, education in Latin American has changed fundamentally, yet education remains inaccessible to many parts of society. At the same time there is an expectation that better education will be able to overcome inequalities.

As part of the new project, the 16 participating universities will examine measures and instruments to facilitate participation and equality in Latin American universities. The main objectives are to create opportunities for disadvantaged groups to gain access to higher education and to improve the conditions that would lead to more students graduating. The individuals to be reached include members of indigenous and Afro-American populations, migrants, and women, as well as older people and those with disabilities or low incomes.

In addition to Freie Universität, universities and institutions of higher education from the following countries will be working together: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, England, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru, Poland, Spain, and Uruguay. The project is also linked with other partners, for example, the German Society for International Cooperation (GIC) and the Unión de América Latina y el Universidades Caribe (UDUAL).

Further Information

PD Dr. Martha Zapata Galindo, Latin America Institute, Freie Universität Berlin
Tel.: +49 (0)30 / 838-55109, Email: mizg@zedat.fu-berlin.de