22 SES 13 C, Identifying Risks of Non-completion in Higher Education in Different National and Institutional Contexts
The aim of this paper is to make a summarizing overview of various risks for non-completion of studies in context of Finnish universities. In addition, the paper aims to reflect the theoretical and methodological choices which could enhance the wider understanding of non-completion risks. When more closely examining the transitions, educational choices and problematic progression patterns in higher education, different societal and individual life course perspectives can be combined (Yorke 1998; 2002; Elder et al. 2003; Ecclestone et al. 2010). ”Transition regime” is a concept describing different national configurations of transitions in the life course (Walther, 2006). The main idea of transition regime is that transitions are not solely shaped by educational institutions and individual decisions and choices, but they are also mediated by state institutions and welfare systems. (see Walter et.al, 2006.) The identified transition regime of Finnish and Nordic welfare states is so called universalistic regime. In universalistic regime young people are not seen only as a potential resource for the future but the aim is also to support them in their educational and career choices (Walther, 2006; 2009). Transition into higher education, choice of educational field and progression in studies is in many ways colorized by individual choice biographies and social expectations (e.g. Robinson, 2009; Ecclestone et al., 2010). Bourdieu’s concepts of ‘field’, ‘capital’ and ‘habitus’ (Bourdieu, 1988; 2004; see also Ashwin, 2012) are offering a interpretative framework for analyzing the problematic progression patterns leading to probable non-completion in education. Higher edu-cation institutions and disciplinary cultures can be seen as special social fields where specific forms of capital are necessary and where habitus is the device through which individuals carry their cultural capital into these particular fields (Ashwin, 2012). By combining the data of quantitative and qualitative studies the paper creates an overall picture of risks for non-completion of university studies. The results suggest that wide range of risks for non-completion can be found. In context of universalistic transition regime, the non-completion is mainly caused by prolonged studies and opting out. The risks are linked to wrong study choice, students’ previous education and age, gender, study field, individual life situations, health and learning problems, and varying orientations to studies. Multi-method approach makes possible to examine the risks for non-completion on different levels and interpretative viewpoints.
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