Widening Participation In Higher Education Policy - Essay Example

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The United Nations' International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights decreed that "higher education shall be made equally accessible to all, on the basis of capacity, by every appropriate means, and in particular by the progressive introduction of free education" (United Nations ICESCR Article 13)…
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Download file to see previous pages The gap between both the social groups was around 30%, a figure on the higher side. Some reasons that have been cited for this trend include the inability to bear the overall expenses of studying for a higher university degree, the desire to earn money rather than study, and the feeling that good institutions and good jobs are closed doors for them.
Furthermore, it did not help matters that the ones in control had their own views about students and higher education. It was Margaret Thatcher and her government who ushered in New Right Ideology to deal with matters concerning higher education. These were her very words, "We are going much further with education than we ever thought of doing before" (Margaret Thatcher 196). This government took control in 1987, and their agenda can be summed up to include four major changes that they brought into the system. The first one was to make all educational institutions directly responsible for their finances and budgeting. It resulted in fierce competition between schools and colleges, since those that exhibited wonderful results in external examinations would be favored with more finances. Scholarly pursuits got relegated to the background, and the focus was shifted to attracting as many students as possible to respective institutions. This had not been the old pattern of thinking. In earlier days, the bureaucracy interfered as less as possible, believing that universities and institutions were meant for intellectual development more than anything else.
Advertisements for academic posts contained phrases such as-"used to introducing commercial thinking", "excellent strategic and financial skills", "naturally
authoritative and decisive leader", "commercial acumen", "strong strategic awareness",
"creative visionary", "energy, resilience with the ambition to drive the organization
forward"-and so on. These were discovered by Professor Rosemary Deem, Lancaster
University's Department of Education Research. Managerialism had thus entered the
field of education. The techniques, values and practices from the commercial sector
made an entry into the higher educational arena. Though these managers did strive
Last Name 1
towards excellence, they also tended to subject everything to minute scrutiny, resulting
in a lot of dissatisfaction all round.
Next on the agenda was governmental control over institutions offering higher
education. This could be termed as the Rationalist approach. Funds would not be
allocated to whoever asked for them; the government would take up "rationing of
funding". Furthermore, a national curriculum would be prepared and this had to be
followed diligently. Based on how well the teachers delivered that curriculum to
the students, the institution would receive its share of finances for its functioning. There
were also detailed directives given as to how the curriculum was to be delivered. And no
one was allowed to take liberties with it, considering that government-appointed
inspectors would be making their rounds. Their final reports carried a lot of value, for
higher education could not be ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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