22 SES 12 B, Comparative View of Extra-Curricular Activities: Transitions to and from Higher Education
This paper analyses student’s views of a particular type of student organisation - colleges of advanced studies - that plays an important role within the Hungarian higher education system, offering a wide range of extra-curricular activities. The membership in a college mostly requires the participation in a wide range of activities simultaneously. Beyond participating in professional activities mainly related to the subject area (which are emphasized), members tend to live together in halls and they are involved in organizing community events, and make decisions together with respect to the life of the college (Cegledi & Fonai, 2012). The main aims of these institutions are varied: 1) they intend to supplement higher education; 2) they support talented students; 3) provide a general training for intellectuals; and 4) nurture active and socially sensitive citizens. Given this complexity in activities and aims as well, there are a number of different narratives available to explain why these colleges became important and long-standing organisations despite reaching a relatively small percentage of the university population: I. The talent support narrative, which claims that these are important institutions that select and nurture talent. II. The employability narrative, which claims that students of the colleges acquire skills and knowledge brings and advantage on the labour market. III. The social-capital narrative, which claims that institutions like these are ground for making (exclusive) social bonds helping to maintain or improve the social status of individuals or groups. IV. The democracy and social responsibility narrative, which claims that through the experience of decision making and management processes, and the colleges sensitivity towards social issues they help to raise responsible and active citizens. This paper examines how these narratives are reflected in the motives of the members of colleges of advanced study, and how these vary by field of education, extent of student autonomy and how systematic the education in a college is. In 2011 an online survey was conducted among college-members (N=632), where they were asked about their motivations of becoming a member and the main uses of the colleges (Gero et al., 2011).
Gero, M., Demeter, E. & Horzsa, G. (2011) Szakkollegiumi kutatasok eredmenyei. (Results from the research on colleges of advanced studies) Budapest: Oktataskutato és Fejleszto Intezet (OFI), 2011. Cegledi, T. & Fonai M. (2012) Who Enters? Former Achievement and Social Background of Students in Colleges for Advanced Studies. IN Gyorgyi, Z. & Nagy, Z. (eds): Students in a Cross-Border Region. Higher Education for Regional Social Cohesion. Oradea: University of Oradea Press
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