22 SES 13 A, Barriers and Policies for Access to Higher Education In Belgium, England and France
Access to higher education, especially at the university level, remains for all educational systems a major issue, despite the so-called “quantitative” democratisation of higher education (more students accessing university today than in the sixties or the eighties). Indeed, the major question becomes now that of “qualitative” democratisation. That is, is the students’ choice of studying at the university influenced by their social background? If so, is that influence still at play when the students’ career is kept under control? Our quantitative survey among last year students in secondary school in French-speaking Belgium will provide clues to answer these questions. The findings from this study will be complemented by the analysis of interviews conducted with the same type of young people in last year of secondary school. Using this material, we will analyze the different ways in which social background influences young people’s aspirations and the construction of their future choices of higher education and field of study.
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