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Education and equality of opportunity - Essay Example

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This sector enhances the growth and development of human capital. Individual expertise or professionalism borrows heavily from education. However, critical issues arise every now and then…
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Education and equality of opportunity
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Topic: Education and Equality of Opportunity Affiliation: The education sector isan important component of any given economy or society in general. This sector enhances the growth and development of human capital. Individual expertise or professionalism borrows heavily from education. However, critical issues arise every now and then regarding equality of opportunity in education. The UK has essentially conquered the equality of opportunity challenge in her higher education system. The UK higher education system advocates for fair admission, teaching, and learning for all beneficiaries, regardless of their gender, class, age, ethnicity, faith, disability, wealth, or sexual orientation (David, 2007, p.686).
Equality of opportunity in UK’s higher education system is provided for by the transparency practices observed during admissions (Schuetze & Slowey, 2013, p.269). The higher education admissions boards shun discriminatory practices when selecting and admitting students in higher learning institutions. This practice is consistent with the legal provisions that enforce right to education. In other words, gender, class, age, ethnicity, faith, disability, wealth, and sexual orientation are not the determining factors for admissions purposes (Brunswick, 2012, p.183). However, this does not rule out the occurrence of discriminatory practices in the UK education system. Cases of failure to admit qualified students have been reported, thereby raising concerns about the extent to which UK higher education system provides for equality of opportunity (HEFCE, 2008).
The UK education sector is characterized by a large number of foreign student populations. It is important to note that the admission of foreign students in higher learning institutions is done in line with the available opportunities. Given this the high number of foreign students in the UK, it is undoubtedly true to conclude that the UK system has diversified its education opportunities. As result, equality of opportunity is not only provided to the locals, but also to the international student population.
Merit is a vital factor that influences student enrolment in the UK higher education system. Whilst the system has been said to operate on a for-merit basis, the reliability, relevance, and validity of the process have been challenged (Parry, 2007, p.104). This follows concerns about the exact factors and variables that define merit. In regard to the merit factor, the equality of opportunity prospect has been more or less jeopardized. Notably, the admissions system works towards minimizing or alleviating barriers to equality of opportunity in education.
The higher education system in the UK depicts numerous aspects of professionalism. Structures and processes that higher education systems have implemented reflect the need for educational diversity. The admissions processes also take into account the diversity of persons relative to gender, class, age, ethnicity, faith, disability, wealth, and sexual orientation. This by itself is a major step towards promoting equality of opportunity in education, an aspect observed in the UK higher education system.
Reference List
Brunswick, N. (2012). Supporting Dyslexic Adults in Higher Education and the Workplace, London: John Wiley & Sons.
David, M.E. (2007). Equity and Diversity: Towards sociology of higher education for the twenty first century? British Journal of Sociology of Education, Vol. 28, no. 5 pp. 675 – 690.
HEFCE. (2008). Strategic Plan for 2006-2011. [Online] Available at: [Accessed February, 2013].
Parry, G. (2007). “The English Experiment,” Journal of University Studies, Vol. 35 pp. 95-110.
Schuetze, H. & Slowey, M. (2013). Higher Education and Lifelong Learning: International Perspectives on Change, London: Routledge. Read More
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