Bringing equality to Tower Hamlets

A long-serving member of London Metropolitan University has been selected to serve his local area in recognition of his community spirit and selflessness.

Date: 19/12/2012

A long-serving member of London Metropolitan University has been selected to serve his local area in recognition of his community spirit and selflessness. 

Habibur Rahman has been appointed a Fairness Commissioner for the borough of Tower Hamlets, a role which will make a real difference to people living in the area. 

Habib, Deputy Head of London Met’s Quality Enhancement Unit, is an active member of his local community and regularly volunteers at the East London Mosque. 

“I’m honoured to be a Fairness Commissioner, it’s a real privilege”, said Habib. “I have the opportunity to contribute to something I feel very passionate about.  Our work will have a significant impact and will inform future policy around social issues.”  

The Tower Hamlets Fairness Commission was set up to tackle inequality in the borough, in which 49% of children live in poverty. This is a particularly striking statistic when the average salary of those who work in Tower Hamlets is £58,000, the second highest in the UK.

“One of the things which concerns me a lot is the underachievement of my own community, the Bangladeshi community”, said Habib. “The community has been here for 40 years now, but there is still high unemployment in the newest generation. I want to find out what is holding them back.” 

The commission has fourteen members who will be holding public meetings with residents, consulting with experts and drawing on research to identify issues of fairness. The recommendations will address ways and means of reducing the gulf between rich and poor in the borough, along with addressing the numerous problems associated with it - health and nutrition, housing, unemployment, access to opportunities and poverty. 

There is one issue that Habib feels particularly passionate about – education. He has a background in IT, computing and education and has contributed to teaching and supporting the student experience. 

Before moving to quality enhancement, Habib was an academic leader responsible for managing London Met’s student academic support service, which was commended by the QAA. Currently Habib is undertaking a professional doctorate in Education and his research involves student experience in higher education.

“I have always been passionate about education and have a particular interest in encouraging and improving educational attainment of the local community”, he said. 

“This is an area which can have a huge impact on social mobility and development, and I have extensive experience in this field.”

This commitment to the value of education especially for disadvantaged communities is one of the reasons Habib chose to work at London Met, given its ethos of accessibility, affordability and quality. 

“We’ve always been a University concerned with widening participation, and the community embraces that. I’ve worked with all kinds of students here, and I hope I can bring these experiences to my role in Tower Hamlets”, he said.