Access to what? Opportunities in education and employment

Brennan, John and Shah, Tarla (2003). Access to what? Opportunities in education and employment. In: Slowly, Maria and Watson, David eds. Higher education and the lifecourse. Buckingham, UK: Open University Press, pp. 106–121.



This edited collection attempts a challenging task – to explore the place that higher education plays, and has potential to play, in a lifelong learning context that is both lifelong and lifewide. An introduction argues for the strengthening of the tripartite core university functions –research, teaching and service – but in new ways that embrace new partnerships and that re-visit the broader purpose of higher education. These include understanding globalisation contexts, the relationship between university and civil society, the proactive role of universities for lifelong learning and individual learner needs. Some of the long-standing issues include social class, an increasing market approach to student learners as consumers, and addressing diversity in ways that work for both higher education and learners alike. The three sections that follow divide the book into analysis of the changing nature of the student population (part one), the student–university relationship in the changing contexts of on-line learning, widening participation and student-as-consumer (part two), and finally some reflections on the broader implications for re-visioning higher education’s role in the broader regional and global world.

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