Widening participation in higher education

Butcher, John (2023). Widening participation in higher education. In: Holliman, Andrew and Sheehy, Kieron eds. Overcoming Adversity in Education. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, pp. 139–150.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003180029-13


Efforts to widening participation in higher education have been energetically pursued in the UK and internationally, but the adversities faced by those excluded are not always understood. This chapter uses a framework to identify examples from the UK, contextualised with international perspectives, showing that, despite increased participation, the diversity of HE learners has not sufficiently widened. Individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds continue to face obstacles in accessing and participating successfully in the transformative potential of HE. The chapter suggests some institutional and policy mitigations and recommends three principles through which participation might be widened.

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