22 SES 11 C, Troubling Mobilities in Higher Education
Higher education used to be accessible mainly for the socio-economically privileged. However, in the 1960s higher education started to expand and as a result it became more and more accessible to socio-economically disadvantaged people. But despite the increasing improvements in the access to higher education for the unprivileged groups over time the elitist opportunities in tertiary education have been preserved in other ways, one of these ways being the access to specific fields of studies. Since some fields have better employment prospects than others, the more “marketable” fields are more competitive at enrolment, often charge higher tuition fees, and therefore are less accessible for socially disadvantaged groups (Robst, 2007) The programs aimed at facilitating access to higher education to Roma implemented during the Decade of Roma Inclusion generally have not considered diversifying beneficiaries’ specializations (Garaz, 2014; Greenberg, 2010). Has this led to Roma students’ overrepresentation in specific fields of studies? If yes, was that over-representation linked to their (generally) unprivileged socio-economic background? If yes, what employment prospects do those fields offer to Roma graduates? This study seeks to answer to these questions, using the data from EUROSTAT (2013) on employability prospects of various specializations, from EUROSTUDENT (2011) on mainstream students’ academic and socio-economic profile, and from Roma Education Fund on Roma students’ academic and socio-economic profile. Until now most programs based on affirmative action principles implemented in various Decade countries were not designed in a way to avoid the overrepresentation of Roma in specific fields. However, data show that they enrol more frequently in humanities and social sciences and less frequently in science, technology, engineering or mathematics, as compared to the mainstream students (Ortiz & Kucel,2008; Reimer et al. 2008; Reimer & Steinmetz, 2009). The evidence that this difference is associated with Roma’s underprivileged socio-economic status and with relatively fewer prospects for decent employment upon graduation shall be used for further policy adjustments aiming at creating a more diversified palette of occupations among Roma graduates.
EUROSTUDENT IV (2011) Field of study by characteristics of BA students. https://eurostudent.his.de/eiv/report/index.jsp?x=37&y=15. EUROSTAT (2013) Labor Force Survey Indicators. http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/data/database. Garaz, S. (2014) Helping the Marginalised or Supporting the Elite? Affirmative Action as a Tool for Increasing Access to Higher Education for Ethnic Roma. European Journal of Education Research. 13(3), 295 311. Greenberg, J. (2010) "Report on Roma education today: From slavery to segregation and beyond." Columbia Law Review 919-1001. Ortiz, L. & Kucel, A. (2008) Do Fields of Study Matter for Over-education?: The Cases of Spain and Germany, International Journal of Comparative Sociology, 49, 305-327. Reimer, D., Noelke, C., & Kucel, A. (2008) Labor Market Effects of Field of Study in Comparative Perspective. International Journal of Comparative Sociology 49(4-5), 233-256. Reimer, D. & Steinmetz, S. (2009) Highly educated but in the wrong field? Educational specialisation and labour market risks of men and women in Spain and Germany in higher education, European Societies, 11, 723-746. Robst, J. (2007) Education and job match: The relatedness of college major and work, Economics of Education Review, 26, 397-407.
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