The deliberate involvement and participation of population groups who might otherwise have been excluded or marginalised from universal access to opportunities is the bedrock of inclusivity. This ‘do with’ approach will ensure that such population groups are treated fairly and equally. Access to inclusive, equitable, quality education and healthcare is imperative for ending poverty in all its ramifications and achieving sustainable economic and social development.
The United Nations has consistently recommended that ending all forms of discrimination based on the grounds of gender, ethnicity, age, race, class, sexuality, disability and empowering vulnerable populations is an important step in the promotion of health and wellbeing. Therefore, providing a safe environment for individuals to build a sustainable lifestyle while managing national health risks is vital for economic growth and survival in Nigeria.
The academia, research institutions, civil society organizations, government bodies and developmental agencies were important contributors to the issues addressed in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). This conference based on the broad concept of inclusion in the context of commitment to education for all and equitable access to healthcare irrespective of disability, gender, socio-economic class, sexuality or factors that reinforce marginalisation will contribute directly to the attainment of five of the SDG, which are outlined below.
End poverty in all its forms everywhere
Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all.
Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.
Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
Reduce inequality within and among countries.
It is identified that multi-stakeholder partnerships will mobilise experts in various fields to share knowledge and promote technological development as well as improve resource mobilization which is essential to achieve the SDG.
The first national conference on inclusivity, equality and diversity (IED) in university education in Nigeria is a forum for active engagement of academia, government, civil society and the private sector working together to promote sustained and inclusive economic growth and social development to benefit all Nigerians.