Reconsidering Access: Using Specific Impact Ranking Metrics to Manage Access in Conventional and Open Higher Education


  • Halima-Sa'adia Kassim The University of the West Indies
  • David Rampersad Higher Education Consultant



Access and participation, Equity, Measurement and monitoring, The University of the West Indies, Caribbean


This paper considers the widening access and participation agenda, its implications for higher education institutions (HEIs) and contends that it must be underpinned by strategic measurement and monitoring.  Access is viewed through of the following lenses: (i) supporting participation, and (ii) facilitating equity. Using mixed methods, the paper draws on data from The University of the West Indies (UWI) and provides examples from key plans and initiatives over 20 years to showcase how the UWI has increased access. Concurrently, the need for more nuanced and complex datasets to assess the extent of equity is highlighted with metrics drawn from the Times Higher Education University Impact Ranking. The authors argue that the strategic use and management of data can promote public accountability associated with access and boost institutional reputation. However, universities will have to be innovative and accelerate measures to survive/thrive in the post-pandemic environment by identifying their institutional scope and “system of interest” in widening access.   

Author Biographies

Halima-Sa'adia Kassim, The University of the West Indies

Dr. Halima-Sa’adia Kassim holds a Ph.D. in History from The University of the West Indies and is employed as
a Senior Planning Officer with responsibility for institutional research and business intelligence in the Office of
Planning, Vice Chancellery, The University of the West Indies. Prior to re-joining the UWI, she held positions
such as Deputy Programme Manager for Gender and Development at the CARICOM Secretariat in
Guyana, Head of Continuing Studies at Cipriani College of Labour and Cooperative Studies (CCLCS), and
Special Advisor to the President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. Her research interests include gender
and multiculturalism with reference to the Muslim community and gender and higher education. Email:

David Rampersad, Higher Education Consultant

David Rampersad has worked in the field of higher education for more than two decades. He has managed
relationships of The University of the West Indies with other universities, research organisations and specialist
organisations; been responsible for research management; and has overseen the enhancement, through the
application of UWI expertise, of the knowledge-based capacity of major national agencies, regional private
sector organisations, boards of regional organisations and governing bodies of tertiary level education
institutions in the Caribbean. Email: 



How to Cite

Kassim, H.-S., & Rampersad, D. (2022). Reconsidering Access: Using Specific Impact Ranking Metrics to Manage Access in Conventional and Open Higher Education. Journal of Learning for Development, 9(1), 17–36.



Research Articles