Chapter

Reducing or reinforcing inequality: assessing the impact of European policy on widening access to higher education

Edited by Elisabet Weedon and Sheila Riddell

in Lifelong learning in Europe

Published by Policy Press

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9781447300137
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9781447307709 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1332/policypress/9781447300137.003.0007
Reducing or reinforcing inequality: assessing the impact of European policy on widening access to higher education

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There has been a large expansion of participation in higher education across Europe, driven in part by social justice concerns, but also by the need for workers with higher skills to compete in a globalised market. Students from middle class backgrounds and women have been the major beneficiaries of this expansion. The marketisation of higher education is evident across Europe, with elite universities competing for the most highly qualified students, and often for those who are willing and able to pay increasing student fees. Countries with more liberal economic regimes, such as Estonia and Scotland, are witnessing a marked intensification of institutional hierarchies, with students from lower socio-economic backgrounds markedly under-represented in the most prestigious institutions.

Keywords: Higher education; Widening access; Marketisation; Gender; Social class

Chapter.  9556 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Occupations, Professions, and Work

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