University presidents of the U7+ network advocate for inclusive education

The summit of university presidents of the international network U7+, founded by École Polytechnique, was held at Bocconi University in Italy from April 11 to 12, 2024. Laura Chaubard, director general and interim president of École Polytechnique, participated in this conference. The summit was concluded with an official declaration, which emphasizes the importance of universal access to higher education and calls on the G7 to cooperate on four key points.

The summit of the presidents of the U7+ network took place this year in Italy, hosted by Bocconi University. The host country of the G7 summit traditionally hosts the summit of the U7+ network presidents.

Dedicated to the theme “Inclusive education for inclusive societies”, the conference gathered presidents and leaders of more than 80 universities from 18 countries from April 11 to 12, 2024 to discuss issues and modalities of access to higher education in the world. . Laura Chaubard, Director General and Interim President of École Polytechnique, as well as Gaëlle Le Goff, Director of International Relations at the School, attended the summit.

The presidents of 46 member universities of the U7+ alliance signed a declaration in favor of universal access to higher education, which was announced at the end of the summit. Presidents are committed to fostering an inclusive and supportive culture on their campus and providing financial, social, and academic support to students from disadvantaged communities to mitigate potential unintended barriers to equal access. In the statement, which outlines further action points, they also highlight the importance of working closely with their communities to assess and improve pathways to higher education and reduce barriers and biases that may exist.

Equal opportunities are a priority in X. The school carries out several actions to inform and inspire students from all over France at different levels of their education. As part of “Operation Monge”, polytechnic students go every year to almost 500 secondary schools throughout Franche, especially in less popular areas, to introduce secondary school students to scientific areas of excellence and thus encourage them to continue their studies in this field helps reduce unconscious barriers or self-censorship. This is just one of the many initiatives of École Polytechnique in favor of equal opportunities at the national level. At the same time, X is also working towards greater diversity in student recruitment in terms of geography, society and gender. In addition, every year l'X offers scholarships to students with the support of the École Polytechnique Foundation.

In the declaration of the U7+ Alliance, university presidents also address G7 leaders and ask them to work with the network to improve universal access to higher education worldwide and thus promote inclusion and the arrival of stable and prosperous societies.

They respectfully ask the group of seven to work together on four points: the ambition to provide all students with an equitable and inclusive quality education, from primary to higher education; investing in higher education in low- and middle-income countries; providing scholarships to support students from marginalized communities, locally and globally, as well as supporting the prioritization of visas for students and scholars fleeing armed conflict, repressive regimes or threats of conflict.

The U7+ Network Declaration for Universal Access to Higher Education was presented to Anna Maria Bernina, Minister of Higher Education and Research of Italy, as representatives of the Italian government, which will host the G7 in June 2024.

École Polytechnique is one of the founders of the U7+ Alliance, which was launched under the auspices of Emmanuel Macron in 2019. The presidents of the U7+ member universities meet once to define the actions that higher education institutions can take together to face global challenges in coordination with the heads of government of the G7 countries and wider.

The statement can be accessed here: 2024 U7+ Statement on Global Access to Higher Education

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