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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 common thread among a number of structural indicators highlighted in this chapter is a focus on State-led incentives for promoting access to higher education for socio-economically marginalised groups. This incentivisation process is interrogated as needing to occur for third level institutions, including at distinct faculty and departmental levels, in so-called ‘elite’ universities, as well as through pathways that include or produce equivalent effects to reserved places for students from backgrounds of socio-economic exclusion.

In a number of countries, it is evident that there is little incentivisation taking place at national level for third-level institutions to open their doors to groups experiencing social marginalisation. There is a need to establish a fund (nationally and at EU level) where university faculties could compete based on their performance in relation to access—and participation—of specific target groups. In providing this fund at faculty and not simply university level, faculties would be encouraged to engage in a substantial outreach dimension to engage with target groups, including fostering more diverse pathways for admission to the faculty and more preparatory courses prior to admission. Incentives here could also be given for cooperation across universities for access, outreach and community engagement. The issue of access to ‘elite’ universities also requires focus on the earlier stage of elitist selection processes for schools. A number of arguments are considered for and against reserved places for socio-economically excluded groups at third level.

Further key principles are those of representation and targeting. This leads to a range of structural indicators concerning representation of target groups in decision-making structures and processes at national and institutional levels, as well as targeting groups of particular vulnerability. It is pivotal that a discourse on access and targets centrally involves those being ‘targeted’ so that they are subjects and not mere objects of social policy. Some examples are highlighted in a number of national reports of a certain level of institutional resistance in European contexts to representation of and consultation with members of target groups for access to education in a decision-making process. While orphanages have been largely replaced by adoption and foster care in Western Europe, they still remain in a number of countries in Central and Eastern Europe, including Russia; the question arises as to how to better support orphans and those in care, in order to facilitate their access to lifelong learning, including university education.

Keywords

Foster Care Lifelong Learning National Report Structural Indicator Underrepresented Group 
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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