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Welfare Reform on the Web (August 2006): Education - UK - higher

Institutional admissions policies in higher education: a widening participation perspective

P. Greenbank

International Journal of Educational Management, vol.20, 2006, p.249-260

This article analyses how higher education institutions have responded to the UK government’s policy of increasing the participation of working class students in tertiary education through changes to their admissions criteria. The research used documentary evidence and interviews with institutional policy makers to examine admissions policies and the rationale underpinning them. The research found that admissions policies owed more to the nature of demand than attempts to widen participation. Old universities tended to ask for high A-level grades and were sceptical about the value of vocational qualifications, but demonstrated a willingness to be more flexible where there was low demand for courses. Less prestigious universities tended to enrol more working class students because of the markets they were able to recruit in rather than because of their widening participation policies.

An investigation into international business collaboration in higher education organisations: a case study of international partnerships in four UK leading universities

R.M. Ayoubi and A. al-Habaibeh

International Journal of Educational Management, vol.20, 2006, p.380-396

In he UK, universities have expanded their international activities since the 1990s, primarily through international partnerships. The purpose of this paper is to make a comparative analysis of the objectives of international partnerships in four leading universities. According to interviewees, the universities aimed to achieve six main objectives of varying degrees of relative importance through international partnerships: exchanging students, developing joint degrees, recruiting fee-paying students, developing joint research projects, exchanging staff, and developing overseas teaching programmes.

Why are fewer students from poor backgrounds going to university?

S. Cassidy

The Independent, 21st July 2006, p.41

This article begins with the claim that government initiatives encouraging students from poorer backgrounds to apply to university mostly benefit the middle classes. According to this article children from the richest 20 per cent of UK families are about five times more likely to go to university. The article further discusses the use of positive action when it comes to university applications from students from poor backgrounds and the benefits of more diversity in higher education.

Widening participation in higher education: an examination of the factors influencing institutional policy

P. Greenbank

Research in Post-Compulsory Education, vol.11, 2006, p.199-215

Widening participation in higher education, particularly among students from lower socio-economic groups, remains an important policy objective for the current Labour government. This paper examines how higher education institutions in the UK are responding to government economic and political pressures to widen participation. The study utilised documentary evidence and interviews with key policy makers in higher education institutions to gain a better understanding of the factors influencing the development of internal policy on widening participation. It concludes that analyses of institutional responses to this agenda need to take into account economic forces, political factors and the mediating influences of organisational culture.

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