22 SES 09 F JS, Higher Education
Joint Paper Session NW 07 and NW 22
The social dimension of higher education is discussed in European strategies for more than 15 years. Recent documents strengthened the aim to ensure inclusion in higher education of learners from diverse backgrounds by widening access and providing better social and financial support, more permeability between educational tracks and measures to ensure gender equality as well as inclusion of disabled or disadvantaged learners, migrants and refugees. In 2015 European ministers agreed upon ‘Making our systems more inclusive [as] an essential aim for the EHEA as our populations become more and more diversified, also due to immigration and demographic changes’ (Yerevan Communiqué, 2015).
At the same time, the role of higher education institutions in society is discussed widely by defining universities third mission on the one hand and aiming for excellence at the other hand. Education is considered as vehicle to ensure social mobility, by enabling learners from diverse backgrounds to reach their full potential, leading to reduced social inequality across all society.
Higher education institutions play a key role in the integration of social dimension concepts and thus contribute to a more democratic, equal and inclusive society. Within this paper we will focus on the question, how higher education institutions can contribute to a more equal society by following the European approach towards the social dimension in higher education. Nevertheless it is important to understand higher education as one element within a complex environment of policies and institutions which have to meet the challenge of social inequality.
According to OECD figures Austria is one of the countries with very low social mobility, although participation in education is growing. The contribution of higher education to social equality is analyzed in this paper on the basis of measures implemented at institutional level. This enables in-depth insights in institutional approaches towards the social dimension and helps to identify best practice examples and gaps. More than 250 measures were analyzed in a multi-dimensional model based on three dimensions: The first dimension focuses on the disadvantaged group(s) which were targeted by the institutional measures, based on definitions provided by the Eurostudent survey (e.g. students of a certain gender, first generation students, students with disabilities, chronic or mental illness, students with financial difficulties, …). The second dimension focuses on clustered types of measures (e.g. information and orientation, evaluation, governance, financial support, quality of teaching, …). The third dimension concerns the position of measures within the student-life-cycle (phase before studying, phase at the beginning of the studies, phase during the studies, study completion phase). The (quantitative and qualitative) analysis of measures in the context of this three-dimensional model as well as in-depth case studies provided the basis to elaborate recommendations at institutional and policy level to strengthen the social dimension in higher education in Austria.
Such an analysis of higher education institutions’ measures on the social dimension enables to learn which disadvantaged groups are targeted by institutions and what types of measures are implemented. It allows to identify gaps, best practice examples and to provide recommendations for the future development of measures. The transfer and exchange of best practice examples to other countries will be addressed in future research.
Arneson, Richard (2013). Equality of Opportunity: Derivative Not Fundamental. Journal of Social Philosophy, 44: 1–15. BMWF (2010). Dialog Hochschulpartnerschaft. Empfehlungen zur Zukunft des tertiären Sektors. Ergebnisbericht des Dialogs Hochschulpartnerschaft. http://hochschulplan.at/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/E. BMWFW (2015). Der gesamtösterreichische Universitätsentwicklungsplan 2016-2021. http://wissenschaft.bmwfw.gv.at/fileadmin/user_upload/wissenschaft/publikationen/2015_goe_UEP-Lang.pdf. Council of the European Union (2013). Council conclusions on the social dimension of higher education. http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_data/docs/pressdata/en/educ/137144.pdf. EHEA Ministerial Conference (2012). Bucharest Communiqué. Making the Most of Our Potential: Consolidating the European Higher Education Area. http://www.ehea.info/Uploads/%281%29/Bucharest%20Communique%202012%281%29.pdf. EHEA Ministerial Conference (2015). Yerevan Communiqué. http://www.ehea.info/Uploads/SubmitedFiles/5_2015/112705.pdf. EUA (2012). Tracking Learners’ and Graduates’ Progression Paths. TRACKIT. http://www.eua.be/Libraries/publications-homepage-list/EUA_Trackit_web.pdf?sfvrsn=0. Hauschildt, Kristina/Gwosc, Christoph/Netz, Nicolai/Mishra, Shweta (2015). Social and Economic Conditions of Student Life in Europe. Synopsis of Indicators. Eurostudent V 2012-2015. http://www.eurostudent.eu/download_files/documents/EVSynopsisofIndicators.pdf. Miles, Mathew B./Huberman, A. Michael/Saldana, Johnny (2013). Qualitative Data Analysis. A Methods Sourcebook (3rd edition). Sage Publications. OECD (2016). Education at a Glance 2016: OECD Indicators, OECD Publishing, Paris. http://dx.doi.org/10.187/eag-2016-en. OFFA/HEFCE (2014). National Strategy for Access and Student Success in Higher Education. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/299689/bis-14-516-national-strategy-for-access-and-student-success.pdf. Zaussinger, Sarah/Unger, Martin/Thaler, Bianca/Dibiasi, Anna/Grabher, Angelika et al. (2016). Studierenden-Sozialerhebung 2015: Bericht zur sozialen Lage der Studierenden. Band 1: Hochschulzugang und StudienanfängerInnen. Research Report. IHS. http://www.sozialerhebung.at/index.php/en/studierenden-sozialerhebung-2015-band-1-hochschulzugang-und-studienanfaengerinnen-in-german.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
Network 6. Open Learning: Media, Environments and Cultures
Network 7. Social Justice and Intercultural Education
Network 8. Research on Health Education
Network 9. Assessment, Evaluation, Testing and Measurement
Network 10. Teacher Education Research
Network 11. Educational Effectiveness and Quality Assurance
Network 12. LISnet - Library and Information Science Network
Network 13. Philosophy of Education
Network 14. Communities, Families and Schooling in Educational Research
Network 15. Research Partnerships in Education
Network 16. ICT in Education and Training
Network 17. Histories of Education
Network 18. Research in Sport Pedagogy
Network 19. Ethnography
Network 20. Research in Innovative Intercultural Learning Environments
Network 22. Research in Higher Education
Network 23. Policy Studies and Politics of Education
Network 24. Mathematics Education Research
Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
Network 26. Educational Leadership
Network 27. Didactics – Learning and Teaching
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