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Structural Indicators for System Level Change for Access to Education for Marginalised Groups

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Part of the Lifelong Learning Book Series book series (LLLB, volume 21)

Abstract

In developing an argument for system-wide clusters of structural indicators for access to higher education and lifelong learning, it is important to acknowledge a double neglect at European level. Firstly, there has been a neglect of structural indicators overwhelmingly in favour of outcome indicators at European Commission level in education and social inclusion. Secondly, there has been a limitation of emphasis on the education sphere at Commission level within the open method of coordination, at least until recently.

Particular focus for current purposes is on structural indicators for system level scrutiny of access to higher education and lifelong learning over time by analogy with the UN right to health framework but not contingent upon it. The focus with structural indicators is on relatively enduring features (structures/ mechanisms/guiding principles) of a system, features that are, however, potentially malleable. Structural indicators can operate at different system levels such as individual institution, local, regional, national, EU and potentially UN and OECD levels. This proposed incorporation of a focus on structural indicators goes beyond a traditional qualitative/quantitative distinction. Analysis through the lens of structural indicators goes beyond a discourse reliant on sharing models of good practice to seek to identify key structural conditions for good practice rather than seeking to blithely transfer a good practice from one complex context to another. The proposed range of structural indicators is based on themes and issues emerging from the results of the 12 national reports. Benefits of European level structural indicators, as benchmarks of progress of Member States for access of marginalised groups to lifelong learning, are highlighted.

The current OECD Education at a Glance annual reports examine structural issues thematically rather than systematically through structural indicators. An argument is made to expand the OECD’s education indicators beyond outcome and process indicators. It is important to emphasise that structural indicators are much less expensive to observe than quantitative outcome and process indicators and thus, there can be more of them employed to scrutinise change in a system. There is a need to distinguish a focus on structural indicators from a general critique of performance indicators as giving expression to a neo-liberal agenda in education.

Keywords

Lifelong Learning Outcome Indicator Human Trafficking Process Indicator Structural Indicator 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Educational Disadvantage Centre St. Patrick’s CollegeDublin City UniversityDublinIreland

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