22 SES 09 B, Inclusion and Diversity in Higher Education Settings
Globalization pressures, the advent of the “knowledge economy and society” and the heightened demand for highly trained labour force have brought the issue of access to higher education at the core of the education policy agenda of the EU and other international organisations (UNESCO / OCED) and have established it as a field for educational research (DIUS, 2009, Teichler, 2004, OECD, 2008, OECD, 2004, OECD, 2006, Eurydice, 2009, Commission of the European Communities, 2006, UNESCO/CEPES, 2009).
In comparison to other European countries, in Greece the demand for higher education appears, ever since the seventies, to be both exceptionally high and unequally distributed, (in the sense that there is very high demand for certain scientific fields/university departments and very low demand for others).
Until now Greek education policies regulating access to higher education have been formulated based on the opinion of “experts” rather than empirical data exploring and explaining the factors that affect the distribution of the social demand for higher education. This paper presents initial results of the pilot survey of a large-scale research presently conducted in Greece, with a view to be completed by 2015. The study collects data that provide a basis for the development of evidence-based education policies and aspires to contribute to a better understanding of the choices made by students in upper secondary education.
In the recent past the social demand for higher education appeared to be related to the existence of a binary higher education system, comprising a technological and university sector. The technological higher education institutions appeared to be less attractive to students, due to their lower status, lacking infrastructure and the vocational orientation of their programme of studies. (Kontogiannopoulou-Polydorides, Stamelos, Papadiamantaki 2005; Kontogiannopoulou-Polydorides, 1995). The high demand for certain university departments and fields of study appeared related to the status of the programme of studies and its relation to the labour market. Economic factors also seemed to play a role, as for example geographical proximity of the department to the residence of the student and the possible cost of relocation.
Taking into consideration that Greeks have to cope with unique economic and political conditions in this time of crisis, the research aims to highlight differences – in relation to the recent past - in the social distribution of the demand for higher education studies and to explore factors that may affect the choices made by upper secondary education students and the implicit hierarchy of universities of university departments and field of studies. In this paper as factors affecting students’ choices are considered the following:
(a) The perceived quality of studies in specific university departments,
(b) The relevance of the field of studies and consequently the (perceived) quick(er) entry in the labour market.
(c) The importance of economic factors as for example the geographical proximity of the department to students’ residence.
Commission of the European Communities (2006). Efficiency and equity in European education and training systems. COM(2006)481 Final DIUS (2009). Higher Education at Work - high skills: high value. London: DIUS. Eurydice (2009). Key Data on Education on Europe. Luxemburg: OFOPEU. Kontogiannopoulou-Polydorides, G., Stamelos, G., Papadiamantaki, P. (2005) “Internationalization and academic hierarchies in Greece: culture, power and agency”. In: J. Huisman, M. Van der Wende (Eds) On Cooperation and Competition II. Bonn: Lemmens. Kontogiannopoulou-Polydorides, G. (1995). Sociological Analysis of Greek Education: The Entrance Examinations , Vol. I, method, social subjects, hierarchy in tertiary education (in Greek). Athens: Gutenberg. OECD (2008). Higher Education to 2030, Volume 1, Demography, Volume 2, Globalization. Paris: OECD. OECD (2004). Education Policy Analysis. Paris: OECD. OECD (2006). Education Policy Analysis – Focus on Higher Education, 2005 2006. Paris: OECD Teichler, U. (2004), ‘Changing Structures of Higher Education Systems: The Increasing Complexity of Underlying Forces’, UNESCO Forum, Occasional Papers No. 6, The Diversification of Higher Education and the Changing Role of Knowledge Systems, Paris: UNESCO. UNESCO/CEPES (2009). Forum on Higher Education in the Europe Region: Access, Values, Quality and Competitiveness. Bucharest: UNESCO/CEPES
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