22 SES 05 C, Student Transitions and Graduate Employability
The focus is on the role of HE students’ mobility to university colleges, if mobility contributes to the replication of gender and class structures in Sweden.
Higher education has expanded by increasing the number of study places and by incorporating previous colleges, mainly located in provincial centres. The inclusion of such colleges within the ambit of an expanded higher education was meant to be a way of levelling out social class differences (Bauer, Askling, Gerard Marton, & Marton, 1999). The former colleges largely offered training programmes as teacher education or nursing education, attracting a majority of women. Since these colleges were included within higher education, the student population changed from having a majority of men to a majority of women (HSV, 2008) and types of programmes became more diversified. Still a majority of the prestigious programmes are offered at the universities, but there are also examples of international and prestigious programmes at university colleges (e. g. engineering). However, for comparable programmes, admittance requirements have been lower at university colleges than at universities (Cliffordson, 2009).
A straightforward theory to rely on is reproduction. People with ample resources, such as private means and networks, have traditionally been mobile (Bourdieu & Passeron, 1990). They have moved to cities and educational institutions, where it has been possible for them to gain and reproduce their family capital. However, if already socially privileged groups of students, whose own achieved educational capital could not reach the standards required by the traditional universities, proximate to where they grew up, they need to adjust their educational aims. Such an adjustment would be to apply for a study place in a less prestigious educational programme or at a less prestigious higher education institution (Kivinen, et al., 2001).
However, social class explanations are not enough. In addition to social class differences, there are gender differences and with that follows, differences in fields of knowledge and age. Women have expanded their educational choices to almost cover all types of programmes, except for computer science and some technological fields, while men usually stick to the engineering programmes (Berggren, 2008). A large proportion of the mature students are women, returning to education when their children are not toddlers anymore (Balke, 2002).
In the big picture, the direction of the mobility is typically from less populated regions to the urbanised regions (HSV, 2011), and mobility is more common among women than men particularly in the early 20s (SCB, 2011). Another picture is that young students who still live within the parental home and the mature students who have a family of their own have been attracted to the university colleges by the increased accessibility, because they did not need to move from their hometown to undertake their studies (Wikhall, 2001). Even though Sweden is considered a gender equal country, women still carry the main responsibility for the family (Holth, Jordansson, & Gonäs, 2012). Having a family clearly restricts the possibility to move.
- Do privileged groups of students, women and men, originating from city regions, but with insufficient self-achieved educational capital adjust their aims and move to a university college to reproduce the resources of their family?
- Will “non-traditional students” who have had a possibility to study at university colleges now be outcompeted by “traditional students”?
Balke, G. (2002). Olika bakgrund - olika uppfattning? [Different Background - Different Opinion?] (pp. 40). Göteborg, Sweden: Dep of Planning and Evaluation. Bauer, M., Askling, B., Gerard Marton, S., & Marton, F. (1999). Transforming Universities. Changing Patterns of Governance, Structure and Learning in Swedish Higher Education (Vol. 48). London and Philadelphia: Kingsley. Berggren, C. (2008). Horizontal and Vertical Differentiation within Higher Education - Gender and Class Perspectives. Higher Education Quarterly, 62(1-2), 20-39. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2273.2008.00381.x Bourdieu, P., & Passeron, J. C. (1990). Reproduction in Education, Society, and Culture (2 ed.). London ; Newbury Park, Calif.: Sage in association with Theory Culture & Society Dept. of Administrative and Social Studies Teesside Polytechnic. Cliffordson, C. (2009). Från elituniversitet till masshögskola - utbildningsexplosionen och individuella förutsättningar för högre utbildning In L. Wikander, C. Gustafsson, U. Riis & L. Larson (Eds.), Pedagogik som examensämne 100 år [Science of Education as Subject for Examination 100 years] (pp. 143-164). Sweden, Uppsala: Uppsala University. Holth, L., Jordansson, B., & Gonäs, L. (2012). Gender and the Division of Labour in a Swedish Context. In M. Jansdotter Samuelsson, C. Krekula & M. Åberg (Eds.), Gender and Change. Power, politics and everyday practices (pp. 75-94). Karlstad: Karlstad University Press. HSV. (2008). Women and Men in Higher Education. Stockholm: National Agency for Higher Education. HSV. (2011). Universitet & högskolor. Högskoleverkets årsrapport 2011 [Swedish Universities & University Colleges - Annual Report 2011]. Stockholm: National Agency for Higher Education. SCB. (2011). Inrikes omflyttning [National relocation]. Retrieved 28 Jan, 2014, from http://www.scb.se/Statistik/BE/BE0101/2010A01L/Inrikes_omflyttning.pdf Wikhall, M. (2001). Universiteten och kompetenslandskapet: effekter av den högre utbildningens tillväxt och regionala spridning i Sverige [Universities and the Landscape of Competence: Impacts of the Expansion and Regional Decentralization of Higher Education in Sweden ]. Sweden, Lund: Lund University.
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