22 SES 11 B, Prospects for Transitions: Equity and Differentiation in Marketised HE Systems
This symposiumdraws on international scholarship and experience, to show how discourses and practices associated with marketisation, differentiation and equity are manifested in higher education today and the implication for transitions in and out of higher education for students from diverse social groups. It exposes some of the contradictions which arise from the tension between equity and an increasingly marketised higher education across a variety of countries with varying HE systems and relationships to the market. Our approach conceptualises marketisation as a process, rather than an end-state and one which may also be shaped by local conditions and contexts. The papers in this symposium address the following questions:
What are the international discourses of equity, marketisation, and differentiation and how are they reshaping higher education?
What is the international context for the intensification of marketisation in higher education, and how does this impact of notions of equity?
Does differentiation support or undermine diversity in various national HE contexts?
How do these processes complement or contradict one another?
What are the implications for our understanding of the nature of higher education?
The three papers look at prospects for equity and differentiation in different ways.
Stevenson, Whelan and Burke's paper takes an international comparative overview of the impact of marketisation on the reconfiguration of higher education examining the research literature pertaining to the rise in the globalisation of higher education and the intensification of market pressures across four highly diverse countries: UK, Australia, China and Singapore. The paper draws attention to dominant themes across the literature as well as to significant local variations.
McCaig’s paper contends that market differentiation pressures (exemplified in institutional discourses) are skewing teaching and pedagogy towards 'excellence' in the name of league table positionality, often at the expense of student diversity, widening participation and other related social justice activities. The paper concludes that thepractices associated with marketisation and differentiation have significant implications for equity and equality.
Taylor, Holden and Middleton’s paper considers the tensions arising from the use of performance indicators to ‘measure’ teaching quality. Using the UK National Student Survey as an example of international trends, the paper highlights need for a more complex approach to understanding the relationships between data use, performance indicators and understandings of students’ experience, and argues that the problem of measuring teaching ‘quality’ is exacerbated by competitive pressure arising from marketisation and institutional differentiation.
Brown, R. and Carasso, H. (2013), Everything for Sale? The Marketisation of UK Higher Education (Research into Higher Education). Abingdon: Routledge Hemsley-Brown, J. (2011). Market Heal Thyself: the challenges of a free marketing in higher education. Journal of Marketing for Higher Education, 21, 115-132. Locke, W. (2014), The Intensification of Rankings Logic in an Increasingly Marketised Higher Education Environment, European Journal of Education, Special Issue: Global University Rankings. A Critical Assessment, 49 (1), pp. 77–90, Lynch, K. (2006) Neo-liberalism and Marketisation: the implications for higher education European Educational Research Journal, 5 (1), pp. 1-17 Molesworth, M., Scullion, R. and Nixon, E. (2010), The Marketisation of Higher Education and the Student as Consumer. London: Taylor & Francis Stevenson, J., Burke, P-J and Whelan P. (2014), Pedagogic stratification and the shifting landscape of UK higher education. York: Higher Education Academy.
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