05 September 2023

Call for Contributions


Call for Contributions to a Special issue on 
Equity and Access to Higher Education: Perspectives from Central Asia 

Aliya Kuzhabekova, University of Calgary, and Juldyz Smagulova, KIMEP University 

Guest editors 

Achieving equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) are becoming increasingly important in higher education reforms of many countries around the world. However, the discussions of EDI in the context of post-Soviet Central Asia remains rather limited. Most of the current discourse circulates around the inclusion as an extension of international development initiatives and government policies aimed at expanding access to education for students with special needs. Meanwhile, what is missing is a broader discussion of access and the values of EDI, as well as their relevance to higher education in the multicultural societies of Central Asia, which are increasingly diversifying along linguistic, economic, and cultural lines. This special issue intends to fill the existing gap by creating a space for scholars from within and outside the region to discuss these issues together, as well as to bring attention to the important issues and to their work via a focused collection of papers on the topic. 

The issue is open for paper submissions of analytical, theoretical, and empirical nature, using any theoretical and methodological approaches. Comparative explorations of the topic are particularly welcome. In general, papers addressing the following questions would be of greatest relevance: (1) How are access and EDI are understood within the policy and organizational context in the region? (2) What are the barriers and opportunities in access to employment and education at universities for individuals from various underrepresented backgrounds (along the lines of socio-economic status, gender, country/urban/rural residence, ethnicity, language ability, physical and mental abilities, LGBTQ+ status, etc.)? (3) What are some of the attempted policy and organizational approaches, which have demonstrated effectiveness in addressing access issues and promoting the values of EDI? (4) How the local conceptualizations of EDI differ from other international conceptualizations (for example, Western conceptualizations)? (5) Should we critically reconsider the EDI values when applying them in the contexts of Central Asia? To what extent the values might be a part of the external neocolonial agenda? 

The timeline for the preparation of this special issue is as follows: 

October 15, 2023 - 500 word abstracts should be submitted to the editors by email (aliya.kuzhabekova@nu.edu.kz and juldyz@kimep.kz). 

January 31, 2024 – drafts of invited papers should be submitted via the journal submission system with the indication that the paper is a part of the special issue. 

December, 31, 2024 – special issue will be ready for publication online. 

Any questions about the special issue and additional instructions can be requested by writing to Aliya Kuzhabekova at aliya.kuzhabekova@ucalgary.ca. 

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