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Access to Higher Education for Socio-economically Marginalised Groups: Indicators at Macro-Exo Levels

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

Abstract

A structural indicator of a central driving committee for access of marginalised groups to higher education and lifelong learning at national and regional levels gives expression to a concern with sustainability and sufficient intensity of impact to overcome inertia for change to occur throughout system levels. A central driving committee at national level, specifically focused on lifelong learning and access to higher education, is with a view to facilitating a framework that would also embrace regional and local flexibility, rather than simply being a top-down imposition without dialogue.

Such a central driving committee with a social inclusion focus can also serve as a vital counterpoint to the danger of a purely outcomes and per capita funding-driven agenda. It is evident from the national reports that much work needs to be done in ensuring a systemic strategic approach is in place in relation to both access to higher education for socio-economically excluded groups and for lifelong learning. Many states that have strategies in these areas lack structures to ensure the implementation of such strategies. A further benefit of such committees to implement and review progress in this area is that they can provide reforms to existing strategies and clarification of funding strands while also developing European good practice in this area.

A common feature of interviews across institutions and national policy officials in Estonia, Bulgaria, Russia and Slovenia is that there exist neither criteria for establishing target groups for access to higher education initiatives based on poverty, low parental education or socio-economic background, nor a particular awareness of or willingness to seek such criteria. In Hungary and Lithuania, there is some focus on low income though this criterion appears relatively underdeveloped conceptually and also with regard to data collection for such a target group for access. From the perspective of access to education for groups experiencing socio-economic exclusion, there is some urgency in promoting regional dialogue across Central and Eastern European authorities and for educational institutions to agree on transparent criteria for socio-economic exclusion, beyond low income alone, in order to facilitate a more strategic approach to access to education for this group. The EU Commission can drive this process.

Keywords

High Education Lifelong Learning National Report Eastern European Country Adult Education 
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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