Congratulations to the Awardees of the 1st Students and Young People’s Award

Announcement of the Award Winners


1st Students and Young People’s Award for Furthering Access to Post-Secondary Education


The GAPS Initiative, with the support of the Austrian Union of Students (Österreichische HochschülerInnenschaft), is delighted to announce the award winners for the 1st ‘GAPS Students and Young People’s Award for Furthering Access to Post-Secondary Education’.


The Global Access to Post-Secondary Education (GAPS) Initiative of the European Access Network (EAN) aims to build a global access movement with the objective of widening access to post-secondary education. Partnering with organizations from across the world, GAPS works to bring together those sectors committed to equality of access to post-secondary education through collaborative advocacy and action.


The Austrian Union of Students founded in 1946 is the legal representative for all Austrian students. The union represents the interests of students to the appropriate authorities and provides services and activities to improve the study conditions of students. With regards to access, the student union has organized several projects and campaigns and offers counselling and support to students.


The ‘Students and Young People’s Award for Furthering Access to Post-Secondary Education’ will be conferred for the first time at a special ceremony following the GAPS Kuala Lumpur 2015 conference dinner (Meeting the global challenge of building equitable knowledge economies, Sunway University, October 5-8, 2015). The Award winners will also present their work during the ‘Access Forum for Students and Young People’ taking place October 5th.


The award winners were chosen by a selection committee after an extensive review of all received nominations. Selection committee members were Michael T. Nettles (Chair of the Selection Committee, ETS), Jeanna Keller Berdel (Lumina Foundation), Luke Shore (Open Society Foundations), Mary Tupan-Wenno (Echo), Miro Verdel (ÖH) and Prof. Tan Sri Dato’ Dzulkifli Abdul Razak (IAU). The awards are going to Saima Maqbool (Pakistan) and Frans Lesiba Bapela (South Africa).


Saime Maqbool,volunteered to teach children after an earthquake destroyed the infrastructure in Azad Kahsmir (Muzaffarabad) in 2005. She holds a BA in sociology and is now working as an advocacy officer for the Sustainable Development Organization funded by USAID. In addition to volunteering with several organizations and projects, she has also researched hate speech, street harassment of girls and approaches to bridging skill and perception gaps in female employment.


Frans Lesiba Bapela is a final year Bachelor of Education (Physical Science and Mathematics) student at the University of Witwatersrand. He has a passion for innovative teaching and learning of science and is looking forward to what lies beyond his student life. Frans Lesiba Bapela was already a student activist prior to reaching the higher education level. He has also been involved in community outreach activities in addition to his student leadership roles.


For further information about the award or GAPS’ work for and with students and young people please contact:


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