A Western Agenda for Access and Equity in Higher Education: The Evolution of Widening Participation

Edited book (chapter)


Davis, Charmaine and David, Bull. 2023. "A Western Agenda for Access and Equity in Higher Education: The Evolution of Widening Participation." Padro, Fernando F., Green, Jonathan and David, Bull (ed.) Widening Participation in Higher Education. Singapore. Springer. pp. 1-22
Chapter Title

A Western Agenda for Access and Equity in Higher Education: The Evolution of Widening Participation

Book Chapter CategoryEdited book (chapter)
ERA Publisher ID3337
Book Title Widening Participation in Higher Education
AuthorsDavis, Charmaine and David, Bull
EditorsPadro, Fernando F., Green, Jonathan and David, Bull
Page Range1-22
SeriesUniversity Development and Administration
Chapter Number1
Number of Pages22
Year2023
PublisherSpringer
Place of PublicationSingapore
ISBN9789811995538
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-19-9553-8_4-1
Web Address (URL)https://link.springer.com/referenceworkentry/10.1007/978-981-19-9553-8_4-1
Abstract

Widening participation has become a widely adopted and populist position for higher education practitioners from western democracies to embrace. The social and economic value of broadening access to higher education has in the last 30 years begun to be appreciated. This appreciation has subsequently become an international economic rationalist argument as well as a catch cry for those who believe in the provision of educational opportunity for all persons. From the 1970’s, a dramatic expansion of participation in higher education has occurred across almost all middle-income and many low-income economies. This global expansion in higher education continues its substantial momentum, responding to wider calls for social justice, shifting demographic trends and population growth, and demands for economic development.

While many nations have adopted widening participation strategies as they strive for a knowledge-based society, the political and ideological dynamism driving this massification of higher education has largely emanated from the United Kingdom, the United States, and Australia. This chapter examines the evolution of the widening participation agenda in the United Kingdom, the United States, and Australia, with a particular focus on the Australian experience. It is primarily concerned with educational opportunities for adults seeking access to and academic preparation for study at undergraduate level. While each nation has approached widening participation in different ways, a powerful driver in these western democracies has been ambitious humanist agendas of achieving greater equity of access and participation in higher education. While these agendas have arguably been eclipsed by increasingly neo-liberal economic motivations, despite fluctuations in government political priorities, the fundamental goals of widening participation have remained consistent.

KeywordsWidening participation Access and Equity; Social Justice; Preparatory Education; Policy and Practice
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020390303. Higher education
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Byline AffiliationsUniversity of Southern Queensland
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