From access to success: Closing the knowledge divide, M Cooper

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Content: From Access to Success: Closing the Knowledge Divide Higher Education for Under-represented Groups in the Market Economy Edited by Michael Cooper
FROM ACCESS TO SUCCESS: CLOSING THE KNOWLEDGE DIVIDE HIGHER EDUCATION FOR UNDER-REPRESENTED GROUPS IN THE MARKET ECONOMY Papers from the 19th Annual Conference of the European Access Network Sцdertцrn University, Stockholm, Sweden 14-16 June 2010 Edited by Michael Cooper 2
The European Access Network The European Access Network encourages wider access to higher education for those who are currently under-represented, whether for reasons of gender, ethnic origin, nationality, age, disability, socio-economic status, family background, vocational training, geographic location, or earlier educational disadvantage. The EAN is the only European-wide, nongovernmental organisation for widening participation in higher education. It is organised for educational purposes and operates under English Law. Membership is international and is open to all those with an interest in access, equity, diversity and inclusion. The EAN's objectives are: · To promote effective policies and negotiate resources for wider participation in higher education · To undertake collaborative research and development programmes on access issues · To share information on, and provide mutual support for, access developments · To co-operate with other international and national bodies to promote wider participation · To analyse access philosophy within and between member states · To share pedagogical strategies and multi-cultural curriculum approaches · To explore professional and political issues which promote wider participation · To encourage international exchanges among access students and staff From Access to Success: Closing the Knowledge Divide (Higher Education for Under-represented Groups in the Market Economy) Published by the European Access Network, London, U.K. 2011. © 2011 European Access Network ISBN: 978-0-9567730-3-6 EAN Secretariat Lawrence Building, Roehampton University Roehampton Lane, London SW15 5PJ, United Kingdom T: +44 (0)20 8392 3857 F: +44 (0)20 8392 3148 Email: [email protected] Website: www.ean-edu.org 3
List of Contents
Introductory Remarks
Michael Cooper
6
Contributor Contact Details
9
Markets and Access: A Contradiction in Terms?
Roger Brown
11
Widening Participation and the Changing Role of Higher Education in a
Globalised World
Lennart Olausson
27
Minding the Gap to Higher Education: What Educators and Leaders Need to
Know Do!
Brenda L.H. Marina
35
Learning styles and cultural differences: Case studies of American, Albanian,
Austrian, Japanese, Chinese and Croatian students
Violeta Vidacek-Hain, Victoria Appatova, Harry Prats, Kenjiro Takemura,
Liren An, Jozef Bushati, Norbert Berger and Katarina Pazur
43
Promoting student discussion, collaboration, and a sense of community online
Audrey Cooke, Sheena O'Hare, Lynne Quartermaine
53
Technology enhanced learning ­ opportunity for lifelong learning and enhancement
of under-represented groups
Blazenka Divjak & Renata Horvatek
63
Firm foundations for the future in a knowledge-based global economy:
an Australian perspective on access education
Christopher M. Klinger
75
UBC Okanagan's Aboriginal Access Studies Program: Opening doors to student
and institutional success
Adrienne Vedan, Teresa Flanagan, Grisel Garcнa Pйrez
85
Developing a Culture of Accessibility and Success in Post-secondary Studies
- Quebec's Experience within Canada
Pierre Chenard
95
Engaging the Hearts and Minds: An Alternative Approach to Ethnic Inequalities
in Higher Education
Ruth Mieschbuehler & Barbara Dexter
108
4
Enabling education: adding value in an enterprise culture
Neil Murray & Christopher M. Klinger
118
Lack of Skilled Workers and Equity in Higher Education - The Astonishing
Effects of Demographic Change in Germany
Hannah Leichsenring
129
Widening Access to the Global Stage: the Critical Value of Enterprising
Intervention and The Summer [email protected]
Amanda J McLeod & Christine Percival
145
A Curriculum for a Multicultural Student Body - Case Study: Mountain Forestry
Master at BOKU
C.A.M. Lennkh & G.Gratzer
158
5
Introductory Remarks The EAN annual conference in Stockholm in 2010 took as its theme a topic which has been with us for over a decade but which, with the advent of the financial crisis, become more acute, namely how higher education can be made accessible to all citizens in a situation where public funding is declining and institutions are having to rely on private sources. This need to seek alternative funding has led to governments and universities to begin to consider what form of higher education is most valuable to society in terms of the market economy. Terms such as `an educated workforce' and 'employability' are playing an increasingly significant role in arguments for and against the type of higher education institutions should be offering. Whilst there is no doubt that these are important considerations, they are definitely not the only aspects that should be taken into account when a society is planning the type of education it wishes to offer its citizens. For a society to be successful, these short-term goals must be complemented with a commitment to developing the lives of citizens and thus the wellbeing of society in a longer perspective. An essential role of higher education, then, is to provide every citizen with an opportunity to gain a relevant and appropriate education. Further, this must be seen in a global perspective, where the mission of institutions extends beyond national borders in a process of benefit to all, irrespective of where they happen to live. The tone of the conference was admirably set by two keynote speakers who approached the topic from different angles. Dr Arnold Mitchem of the Council for Opportunity in Education in the US stressed the value of education not only for society as a whole but for the individual whilst Professor Roger Brown of Liverpool Hope University in the 9th Maggie Woodrow Memorial Lecture examined the potential contradiction between markets and access to higher education. He concluded that, to produce a higher education system that reasonably mirrors society as a whole, we need to adopt policies for the distribution of income and wealth, and for the structure of our education systems, that will mitigate the disadvantages of the inequalities in economic and social capital. The changes that higher education institutions are at present undergoing and their implications for widening participation formed the topic of the Rector of Malmц University, Sweden, Lennart Olausson's presentation, which he illustrated with the work being carried on at his university, one of the leading institutions in Sweden in the field of widening participation. On a more general note, Hanne Smidt of the European University Association presented the latest Trends report prepared by the Association providing an overview of the current state of higher education from various angles. Sonja Barendregt-Roojers of PriceWaterhouseCoopers argued that diversity means business; underlining that diversity is of value not only in the academic world but also in business. 6
In all these presentations, funding was never far from the surface and in an interesting address, Professor Malcolm Gillies, Vice-Chancellor of London Metropolitan University made some useful comments on how to attack this issue in relation to access. The final plenary session was a debate where Professor Maurits van Rooijen, Rector of Nyenrode Business University in the Netherlands argued that "An enterprise culture is no threat to equity in higher education" whilst Hanna Victoria Mцrck from the Swedish National Union of Students was of the opposite opinion. After some lively discussion, it was felt that there were problems facing equity in an enterprise culture but that it was possible to resolve them. The papers presented in the sessions and workshops that interspersed the plenaries illustrated the theme of the conference from many different angles, and the contributions included here, together with two keynote presentations, represent a good overview of what has been achieved with indications of the directions that future work in the field might take. Global collaboration (Marina) is an essential tool for efforts to close the educational gap and international comparisons (Vidacek-Hains) help to stimulate effective learning environments. These two papers show how valuable international contacts are in providing a solid basis for equitable educational opportunities. Another area of growing importance is the use of various forms of e-learning for student support. Divjak and Horvatek report on the University of Zagreb's strategy for e-learning with special measures to enhance retention rates among under-represented groups whilst Cooke shows how online learning at Curtin University in Australia helps to create an environment that encourages and supports student success. A number of papers discussed various types of foundation programmes intended to promote wider access to higher education for particular groups. Klinger discusses programmes designed to provide `second chance' opportunities for students. He shows how successful they have been for retention rates and for enabling students to progress to degree programmes. Vedan et al. present an initiative to enable aboriginal students in British Columbia to access university-level courses without undergoing the university's standard admission tests whilst Chenard discusses the particular case of institutional practices to widen access in francophone Quebec. Racial inequalities in higher education is the topic of the paper by Mieschbuehler and Dexter who show how action research can be used to explore and address these issues, to consider its strengths and weaknesses and to examine its potential as a staff engagement tool. Addressing the subject of the conference in a direct fashion, Murray and Klinger reveal the key role enabling/access education plays both in responding to economic demands and in meeting ideological equity and social justice imperatives. Leichsenring approaches the subject from a different angle, taking as her point of departure the demographic changes in Germany and showing how three different but broadly technical higher institutions are 7
tackling the problem. Maintaining a balance between achieving government targets for research and innovation, and active outreach programmes to combat social exclusion is the topic of the paper by Mcleod and Percival with a presentation of The Summer [email protected] The final paper in the selection (Lennkh and Grazter) is a study of a specialised competence-based curriculum for a multicultural student body in mountain forestry offered by an Austrian institution to alleviate poverty and widen access to education in mountain regions. Through a career analysis of alumni in Bhutan and Ethiopia, the authors demonstrate the strong influence of the curriculum on national and regional decisionmaking and implementation. Taken together, the papers included here, provide, I believe, a good overview of a topic which is of interest not only to the individual and the institution but also to society as a whole. It is my firm conviction that greater accessibility to higher education for all groups will prove to be an essential means of ensuring that societies will be able to create a more economically healthy climate. I trust that the presentations will be of interest to the reader and that they will provide a stimulus for the discussion and implementation of further measures to create a more equitable higher education. Michael Cooper Executive Director EAN 8
Contributor Contact Details Liren An, Northwest University (China), Xi'an, P. R. China [email protected] Victoria Appatova, University of Cincinnati Clermont College Cincinnati, Ohio, USA [email protected]; [email protected] Norbert Berger, Karl Franzens University, Graz, Austria [email protected] Roger Brown, Professor, Higher Education Policy, Liverpool Hope University, Liverpool, UK [email protected] Jozef Bushati, Advising Information Students Center, University of Shkodra`Luigj Gurakuqi, Shkoder, Albania [email protected] Pierre Chenard, Registrar, Universitй de Montrйal, Quebec, Canada [email protected] Audrey Cooke, Curtin University of Technology, Perth, Western Australia [email protected] Barbara Dexter, Professor, Quality Enhancement Manager, University of Derby, Derby. UK [email protected] Blazenka Divjak, Vice Dean, Faculty of Organization and Informatics Varazdin, University of Zagreb, Croatia [email protected] Teresa Flanagan, International Advisor, University of British Columbia Okanagan, BC, Canada [email protected] Grisel Maria Garcia Perez, Spanish Program Course Advisor, University of British Columbia Okanagan, BC, Canada [email protected] G. Gratzer, Study program coordinator, Institute of Forest Ecology, Department of Forestand Soil Sciences, University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences (BOKU), Vienna, Austria [email protected] Renata Horvatek, International Relations Officer, Faculty of Organization and Informatics Varazdin, University of Zagreb, Croatia [email protected] Christopher M. Klinger, Senior Lecturer, Program Director: Foundation Studies University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia [email protected] 9
Hannah Leichsenring, CHE Consult, Gьtersloh, Germany www.che-consult.de/DiversityManagement. [email protected] C.A.M. Lennkh, Institute of Forest Ecology, Department of Forest- and Soil Sciences, University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences (BOKU), Vienna, Austria [email protected] Brenda L. H. Marina, Assistant Professor, College of Education, Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, Georgia, USA [email protected] Amanda J. McLeod, Development Officer, Innovative Routes to Learning, Faculty of Education, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland [email protected] Ruth Mieschbuehler, PhD Research Student, University of Derby, Derby, UK [email protected] Neil Murray, Senior Lecturer, Senior Consultant: English Language Proficiency University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia [email protected] Sheena O'Hare, Curtin University of Technology, Perth, Western Australia [email protected] Lennart Olausson, Vice-Chancellor, Malmц University, Malmц. Sweden [email protected] Katarina Pazur, Faculty of Organization and Informatics, University of Zagreb, Varazdin, Croatia [email protected] Christine Percival, Director, Innovative Routes to Learning, Faculty of Education, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland [email protected] Harry Prats, University of Cincinnati Clermont College Cincinnati, OH, USA [email protected]; [email protected] Lynne Quartermaine, Curtin University of Technology, Perth, Western Australia [email protected] Kenjiro Takemura, Keio University, Yokohama, Japan [email protected] Adrienne Vedan, Aboriginal Access Advisor, University of British Columbia Okanagan, BC, Canada [email protected] Violeta Vidacek-Hains, Assistant, Faculty of Organization and Informatics Varazdin, University of Zagreb, Croatia [email protected] 10
Markets and Access: A Contradiction in Terms? 9th Maggie Woodrow Memorial Lecture Roger Brown Abstract Choice mechanisms, if not limited by other policies, tend to have a clear tendency toward social stratification along socioeconomic lines, because of the way markets work for people with very different information, skills and resources (Orfield, 2000, quoted in Barry, 2005: 65) Just as capitalist markets generate inequality of wealth in the economy, market coordination in American higher education has tended to exaggerate financial inequality across colleges and universities and encourage social inequality in student access to educational opportunities (Geiger, 2004: 180). The principle behind private sector services is that you get what you pay for, or, more precisely, what the supplier can make a profit out of. Private sector services are by nature discriminatory. Nobody suggests that Fortnum and Mason should lower its prices so that it receives a balanced intake of shoppers. Nor does anyone propose to prohibit the practice of charging higher vehicle premiums to people who live in poor urban areas. Unfairness is inherent to private sector services. (Wilby, 2006). INTRODUCTION The question you have asked me to consider is whether the marketisation of higher education is inherently negative for access. My answer to the question is a qualified "yes". It is qualified because marketisation is only one of the things that are responsible for the underrepresentation of certain groups in higher education. However, marketisation certainly is one of the factors that prevent higher education ­ both the student body and the teaching force ­ from being fully representative of the society in which it exists and which it serves. Moreover, as marketisation continues, the position is likely to get worse before it gets better, especially in the current economic climate. I shall therefore be considering: 1. What is meant by the "marketisation" of higher education? 2. What do we know about its effects both generally and specifically in relation to access? 3. What do we do about it, if we assume that marketisation is basically negative for access? In considering these questions, I shall be drawing on material gathered for my soon to be published book Higher Education and the Market (Brown, in press). The case studies in my 11
book cover a wide range of developed higher education systems, but most of the literature concerns the Anglophone systems which already incorporate some features of marketisation. This inevitably biases the discussion. Nevertheless since higher education seems generally to be moving in a market direction, it may be that a consideration of the experience of these systems will be instructive for other countries moving down this path, even if they do not have the serious, entrenched differences of race (the United States) or class (United Kingdom). I shall incidentally be touching on most of the listed Conference objectives. Let me start by defining "marketisation". MARKETISATION In economic theory, a market is a means of social coordination whereby the supply and demand for a good or service are balanced through the price mechanism. Consumers choose between the alternative products on offer on the basis of perceived suitability for them in terms of price, quality, and availability. It is often held that organising economic relations on these lines represents the best use of a society's resources. Markets provide both greater "static efficiency" (the ratio of outputs to inputs at any point in time) and greater "dynamic efficiency" (sustaining a higher rate of growth over time through product and process innovation and better management of resources) than any alternative. In particular, markets are often contrasted with "command and control" economies where quantities and prices are determined by state action. A Market in Student Education A pure market in student education would be one where: 1. There is little or no regulation of market entry for providers 2. There are no limits on the numbers of students enrolled or the prices charged by institutions 3. The cost of teaching is met entirely through tuition fees 4. There are no taxpayer subsidies to households to help meet the costs of fees or student living costs 5. Users decide what, where and how to study on the basis of information about the competing offers available. Limits to Markets in Student Education The fact that no developed university system has all of these characteristics suggests that there may be limits on the theory of markets as applied to higher education. The main ones are: 12
1. The fact that higher education confers both collective (public) and individual (private) benefits. Because of the risk of undersupply, both first cycle education and academic research are subsidised in most systems 2. Because of the key role which higher education plays as an accreditor of knowledge, especially the knowledge required for the practice of the professions, market entry and competition are also regulated in most systems 3. Because of the difficulties of attaining and disseminating proper information about quality, there is a case for a mixed system of regulation, with important roles for the state and the academy, as indeed is the case in most systems 4. Further problems arise from the amount of product differentiation and the difficulty that institutions face, by virtue of the length of the product life cycle, in moving rapidly in response to market signals. Marketised Systems The result is that there is no higher education system anywhere that conforms to a pure market model. Nevertheless, there are several systems that display a significant degree of marketisation. These are systems where 1. There is a significant amount of competition between institutions for students and research funds, and correspondingly a significant amount of choice for students and other funders; 2. Tuition fees exist and represent a significant share of the costs of teaching; 3. Private support for these costs represents a significant share of institutional funding; 4. There is a considerable amount of information available about the choices available to students and other funders. The US, the UK and Australia are all examples, and most of the literature about the marketisation of higher education comes from these three countries (or from international organisations that have studied the phenomenon). Marketisation and Privatisation It may be worth distinguishing marketisation from "privatisation", the penetration of private capital, ownership and influence into what were previously publicly owned and funded entities and activities. Conceptually, the two are distinct, and indeed the term "quasi markets" has been coined to describe the organisation of the supply of services on market lines where very little or no private capital is involved, the public funding of academic research being a case in point (Le Grand and Bartlett, 1993). In practice, however marketisation will usually involve some degree of privatisation. This reflects the common origins of the two phenomena, the underlying beliefs of which were usefully summarised by the late Peter Self: 13
The "free market" and market-led growth are the principal and overwhelmingly the most important sources of wealth; large incentives are necessary to market efficiency; the wealth created by a free market will trickle down from the successful to benefit all members of society; the market is intrinsically more efficient than government; to create greater "efficiency", government should be redesigned according to market methods and incentives (Self, 1999: 26-28). [For a fuller exposition, see Brown, in press]. Markets and Equity Economists appear to disagree about whether distributional inequity ­ the failure of markets to allocate resources in accordance with socially accepted standards of fairness ­ is technically a market failure (for a discussion, see Wolf 1993: 28-30). However, there does seem to be a consensus that: 1. Markets are driven by efficiency rather than by equity 2. Equity requires some sort of state intervention 3. Democratic societies are usually prepared to sacrifice some of the gains of efficiency for some measure of fairness, even if it is only about reducing excessive disparities in wealth. THE IMPACTS OF MARKETISATION Williams suggested that the marketisation of higher education was driven by three main beliefs: · That efficiency is increased when governments buy academic services from producers, or subsidise students to buy them, rather than supplying them directly, or indirectly through subsidy of institutions · That as enrolments rise, the private sector must relieve governments of some of the cost burden if acceptable quality is to be obtained · That many of the benefits of higher education accrue to private individuals, so criteria of both efficiency and equity are served if students or their families make some contribution towards the costs of obtaining the benefits. (Williams, 1995: 179). There can, I think, be little doubt that marketisation increases both the efficiency with which resources are used and the responsiveness of institutions to the demands of students, employers and other external stakeholders. In turn, institutions are able to achieve more with a given quantity of resources, which is a net gain for society. Marketisation may also mean that higher education is able to acquire more resources than might otherwise be the case. Finally, marketisation may also lead to increased innovation, a phenomenon sometimes associated with the entry of new providers, especially private and "for profit" ones, into the higher education market. 14
However, there may also be negative impacts. These arise chiefly from the difficulty with information. One of the fundamental pre-conditions for a market is the availability of information that enables consumers to decide between different product offerings. Economists recognise that this condition may not always exist, and usually speak of "information asymmetry" whereby producers have more information than consumers (Weimer and Vining, 1992). However, the problem in higher education is that no one has the information about educational quality that would enable a student, for example, to know (in advance) that this or that course or institution was the "best" for them. There are simply too many variables (see Brown, 2007a, for the full argument). What this absence of direct indicators of quality then means is that purchasers seek, and suppliers try to provide, indirect or symbolic indicators of quality (McPherson and Winston, 1993). In higher education, institutional prestige, often supported by marketing and conspicuous expenditure, becomes the substitute. Who is responsible for this? It is customary to blame university leaders like Rectors and Vice-Chancellors. However, in fact many academic staff are also seeking to add to their own, if not their institution's, prestige, very often through performance in research (Calhoun, 2006). These internal pressures towards prestige ­ as opposed to trying to meet the needs of students and other "clients" ­ are then reinforced by similar desires on the part of employers and students, who are equally anxious to be associated with what is perceived to be a high quality institution. These pressures for prestige are stronger than they were previously because of what Robert Frank has termed the "winner-takes-all" society. Winner-takes-all markets are those where small differences in performance, real or perceived, translate into large differences in reward. Frank argues that such markets used to be comparatively rare, confined to cases such as opera singing. However, the information revolution means that we can instantly find out who is rated the top performer in any market, reducing the rest to also-rans. As Frank says: The market for higher education, always a winner-takes-all market, has become perhaps the quintessential example of such a market (Frank, 1999: 9). The various institutional rankings/league tables are a clear illustration, as well as a response to, the information market failure in higher education. Incidentally, it is strongly arguable that institutional rankings/league tables tend to most advantage high income and high achieving students and to most disadvantage minority students and those from low-income homes (Clarke, 2007). It follows that one inevitable consequence of the marketisation of higher education is the stratification ­ or at least the reinforced stratification ­ of institutions and the social groups they serve. 15
Before coming to the consequences for access, let me emphasise again that these perceptions have nothing to do with the quality of the education students are actually likely to receive at these institutions. There is in fact an enormous literature, most of it American, which finds very little correlation between institutional resources and selectivity, on the one hand, and the quality of the student educational experience, on the other (for example, Pascarella and Terenzini, 2005). However, as Bob Zemsky has written: What the faculty and staff of both private and public institutions have learned is that in the end there is really no marketing advantage accorded to institutions that provide extra-quality education... what happens in this market is not quality but rather competitive advantage (Zemsky, 2005: 287). I need not weary this audience with data about the differential participation of various social groups in higher education. This does of course have many causes, with which you will be as if not more familiar, than me. They include lack of finance; lack of the necessary entry qualifications; lack of aspirations; lack of information; and lack of social capital. How far is marketisation responsible? MARKETS AND ACCESS There seem to me to be a number of good reasons for suggesting that marketisation ­ the increase in market competition between institutions for students, resources and status ­ has been negative for access. In particular: 1. the failure of highly selective institutions to expand in line with the overall increase in demand; 2. increased use of student financial aid as a competitive tool; 3. the effects of institutional stratification; 4. the parallel marketisation of the secondary school system. Let us look at each of these more closely. First, as the higher education system has expanded, the most prestigious institutions do not increase their capacity; indeed, they cannot do so without risking a loss of prestige. Astin and Oseguera (2004) argue that many of the more prestigious American private institutions have little incentive to expand whilst the public ones are constrained by levels of state appropriations. This comes on top of, and reinforces, the selectivity practised by the highly ranked institutions that inevitably discriminates against less well-educated (or prepared) students, who tend to come from poorer backgrounds. A similar phenomenon can be seen in Britain, which is why any increase in the fee cap must be accompanied by plans by the higher fee institutions to expand their numbers (especially of students from less favoured backgrounds). 16
Second is the increased use of student aid as a competitive tool. Eckel and Couturier (2006: 1-2) quote US Department of Education data indicating that the percentage of students in the highest income quartile receiving institutional aid increased between 1992/3 and 2003/4. At public institutions, close to 12% received aid, compared with 8% previously. At independent institutions, almost 55% of high-income students received aid in 2003/4, compared with 30 % of their counterparts ten years earlier. In other words, institutions invest their resources in wealthier students. This reflects the growing use of non-need-based aid ("merit aid") alongside, and increasingly at the expense of, need-based aid, in order to boost institutions' entry scores and thus their prestige (see for example Heller, 2007: 44-5). Heller and Rogers (2006: 110-111) comment that minority and poor students receive a disproportionately smaller share of such scholarships, while white and upper income students ­ the groups with generally the highest college-going rates ­ receive a larger share. In other words, prestige is replacing access as the driver of institutional aid. Tuition discounting, though easing the financial demands on middle income students, also reduces the amount of aid potentially available to low income students. In the UK, in spite of the restoration of maintenance grants, low income students are still worse off than they were before the introduction of fees in 1998 (Woodhall and Richards, 2006: 203). There is also evidence of institutions using their bursaries to attract better qualified students though so far the impact has been limited (Callender, 2009). Third is institutional stratification. We know from work at London Metropolitan University (Archer, 2003: 128-130) that the very fact that the former polytechnics (which became universities in 1992) are generally less prestigious is in itself a significant disincentive to participation (further giving the lie to the claim of proponents of league tables that they are of particular benefit to students from less favoured backgrounds) (cf. Leathwood and O'Connell, 2003). Similarly, Reay et al (2005: 141) found that some working class students were put off applying to some of the post-1992 universities that advertise heavily, on the grounds that "good universities shouldn't need to advertise". Finally, we need to bear in mind the fact that in America and Britain marketisation and its impact is not confined to higher education. Stephen Ball has charted the growing marketisation of the English school system (e.g., Ball, 2003). Even without privatisation, there remain glaring gaps in school performance, and these are often correlated with the schools' social intakes: the same is even truer in the US, where local financing by district plays havoc with equity even without Charter schools and the like. Leathwood (2004: 33) quotes Gillborn and Mirza (2000) as suggesting that the gaps between class educational attainment levels actually increased in Britain in the 1990s. Leathwood (2004) has also suggested that, as well as being a problem in itself, the increased stratification of higher education increases the pressure on middle class parents to choose private or selective schooling for their children: 17
Fear of failure or falling back, and "defence against uncertainty" (Walkerdine et al, 2001: 167) remain powerful motivators of middle-class success. The extended hierarchy of universities and the widening gap between the elite and the rest, therefore directly contributes to the sustenance of class divisions within the school sector, just as the divisions within schooling maintain the class divide in higher education (Leathwood, 2004: 41). In other words, the stratification of higher education reinforces the stratification of the school system, and vice versa. This will be even more true in Britain if, as we expect, the cap on university tuition fees is lifted at the same time as greater competition is introduced into the school system through larger numbers of academies and "free schools". So what is to be done? WHAT DO WE DO ABOUT MARKETISATION? In my book, I describe other negative impacts of marketisation for a healthy higher education system. These include a reduction in institutional diversity; the increasing internal differentiation of institutions: structures, activities, personnel; increasing consumerisation and commodification; and poorer value for money (ironically). I particularly emphasise the risk to higher education's control of what I call the "academic agenda" (what is to be taught and what is to be researched), and the threat to the unwritten contact between higher education and society whereby universities receive certain legal and financial privileges in return for producing valued public goods such as a well educated citizenry. This is already coming under challenge in America and we can expect to see similar pressures here. Against these impacts, I propose the following broad responses: 1. There should be a fuller understanding of the meaning of marketisation and its impact and potential impacts on the core activities of universities and colleges: student education and academic research and scholarship 2. There needs to be a discussion and broad agreement between the institutions and the main external stakeholders about the purposes of higher education and the conditions that enable these purposes to be fulfilled (for example, adequate funding, suitable autonomy, appropriate regulation, a high quality workforce, effective leadership). This should encompass the desired balance between public and private purposes and benefits, bearing in mind the fact that marketisation tends to promote and emphasise private purposes and benefits, at the expense of public benefits and goods 3. Similarly, marketisation tends to focus attention on the characteristics and performance of individual institutions and groups of institutions. However, means must be found to 18
assess and improve the effectiveness of the system as a whole in meeting both external and internal needs and requirements, such as equity 4. Agreement also needs to be reached on the desired degree of institutional stratification and diversity. Whilst some degree of hierarchy may be inevitable, and even desirable, too great a degree of hierarchy is not conducive to diversity, since genuine diversity requires some parity of esteem. This may require state action to restrain hierarchy and/or protect diversity. Resourcing and status differentials between institutions that are not based on "objective" factors such as local cost structures should certainly be scrutinised closely, as should variations in the intake of students from specific social groups 5. Given the way in which marketisation tends to separate them, means should be found of connecting or reconnecting the core functions of student education and academic research and scholarship so that each benefits the other, rather than compete unequally for scarce resources and prestige 6. Without reducing the pressure on institutions to use their resources efficiently, or to broaden their sources of income, agreement should be reached on both the level and means of funding that will ensure that the key decisions about how to allocate funds to core activities continue to be made on both economic and academic grounds 7. Similarly, those responsible for governing and funding the system should ensure that academic and professional staff are trained, managed and rewarded in a way that recognises their role as key workers in a knowledge economy 8. An appropriate regulatory balance should be struck between market competition (including information to students), state supervision and academic self-regulation. The state should ensure that academic judgements remain in academic hands subject to the need for accountability for those judgements and the giving of the reasons for them. All this suggests the following reform programme. A REFORM PROGRAMME 1. Market entry and participation, including the entry and participation of private and "for profit" institutions should be controlled by the state through a system of institutional approval and accreditation covering governance, management, finance and educational quality. Diversity of provision should be secured through locally organised "divisions of labour" along the lines of some of the US State systems, with clear demarcation of institutional missions; these should embrace or articulate clearly with other forms of post-secondary education. A state controlled development agency should channel state funds to universities and colleges and, together with the regulatory agency, ensure that the institutions collectively deliver a range of public and private goods in accordance with the declared purposes of the system. 19
2. Academic research and inquiry should be funded on a dual basis. In areas where research is disproportionately costly to conduct, it should be funded on a competitive and selective basis using peer review and performance indicators such as citations and external income (the state, through the regulatory agency, should monitor and control the degree of concentration that results). All other research and inquiry should be funded pro rata to the staff effort involved, with performance being audited through an integrated process of institutional and departmental review. The regulatory agency should also monitor the implementation and effectiveness of safeguards on commercially funded or sponsored research and teaching. 3. Teaching should be funded through a mixture of institutional grants and tuition fees with the proportion of the latter capped at 45-50 per cent. Grants would be based on development plans showing how the institution concerned intended to contribute to the achievement of the objectives periodically laid down for the system as a whole. Fee competition should be limited (any significant local cost differences would be picked up through the grant mechanism). Overall resourcing differentials between institutions should be controlled by the state, with a guaranteed minimum (and possible maximum) of public funding for each student. 4. A system of maintenance grants should be available to help students from low-income backgrounds to meet their living costs while attending college (institutional need-based aid could supplement this but variations between institutions would be carefully controlled). Beyond this, income contingent loans would be available to help meet both fees and maintenance, with the loans repayable on an equitable basis, preferably through some form of "graduate tax". There should be coordination between the funding of teaching and the funding of maintenance. 5. Quality should be monitored by a system-wide regulatory agency accountable to the state legislature. Institutional and departmental review should ensure minimum standards of student learning achievement and high standards of academic practice. Both the agency and institutions should be guided by general statements about the characteristics of programs and awards likely to fulfil those standards. Particular attention should be paid in both forms of review to the ways in which institutions ensure that they have a workforce that is fit for purpose. The agency should have the power to recommend the de-accreditation of any institution that consistently fails to meet minimum standards of governance, management or quality. 6. Research and teaching should be linked through making the achievement of links a legal requirement for universities and degree granting institutions; making it a prerequisite for state research funding; auditing the achievement of links through quality review; and through the promotion of links through targeted initiatives and the identification of good practice. 20
In my book I describe this as the mix of policies designed to maximise the contribution of market competition ­ some of which I see as both desirable and inevitable ­ towards the creation of a healthy higher education system.1 But how far would this programme assist with access? Nearly everyone who has studied the subject agrees that the basic causes of differential participation lie deep in the social, economic and educational systems in our societies, and require interventions at all stages. But we need to avoid exacerbating the problem at a higher education level by, for example, using entry assessments that largely reflect socioeconomic status and acquired social capital (for SAT scores, see Bowen 2004; for A levels, see Gorard et al, 2006). Funding institutions on the basis of strategic plans could be a means of incentivising them to recruit students from backgrounds unfamiliar with higher education. Reducing unjustified resourcing differentials between institutions over time would help less prestigious institutions to become both more attractive to, and better able to cater for, larger numbers of such students. Access would also be assisted by there being better and clearer progression routes both within the system and without, which a local or regional higher education "system" would facilitate. It is cardinal that higher education and further and school education (in UK terms) are not seen as distinct and independent of one another.2 CONCLUSIONS The reality of providing a truly equal opportunity, with each pupil judged solely on his or her talents and willingness to work, would be that the children of the economically, socially or culturally advantaged would no longer enjoy special privileges: the privileges that turn the 7% of pupils attending private schools into the 50% entering the country's two most prestigious universities (Mortimore, 2008). For all that we cherish our autonomy, universities and colleges are ultimately creatures of society and largely reflect that society. The starting point for any serious discussion of educational inequality, at any level, has therefore to be a decision about what kind of society we want. There is ample evidence that societies that are fairer, in that income and wealth are relatively more dispersed between the various social groups, are not only healthier but happier (e.g., Wilkinson and Pickett, 2009). There is also abundant evidence (from the OECD PISA studies) that countries with comprehensive, integrated school systems ­ such as Finland, Canada and Japan ­ are the most educationally effective. If we want a higher education system that is reasonably reflective of our populations, therefore, we need to adopt policies for the distribution of income and wealth, and for the structure of our education systems, that will mitigate the disadvantages of the inequalities in economic and social capital that would otherwise accrue, and which are so evident in some of our societies. We in higher education should play our part, not least by pointing to the 21
evidence of the damage that excessive and inappropriate competition can cause to the educational enterprise at all levels. The choice is ours. Thank you for listening to me. NOTES 1. In my book, I describe a healthy higher education system as having the following characteristics. It will be valued both for its "intrinsic" qualities in creating, conserving and disseminating knowledge and for its "extrinsic" qualities in serving broader economic, social and cultural goals. Responsibility for determining the system's "academic agenda" is shared between institutions and external stakeholders. There is also a balance between the public and private purposes and benefits of higher education. There is a balance between the interests of individual institutions and groups of institutions, on the one hand, and the system as a whole, on the other, a balance between institutional autonomy and freedom of action, and integration and common interests. There is sufficient diversity of provision to enable the system to respond effectively to new kinds of demands, especially for new kinds of learning opportunities. Any significant status or resourcing differentials between individual institutions or groups of institutions are confined to, and justified by, "objective" factors such as local cost differences. The student population is broadly representative of the population as a whole. The staff are well qualified, well motivated, and well managed. There is a productive and mutually beneficial relationship between the core activities of institutions: student education and academic research and scholarship. Institutions are adequately funded for their core activities whilst having sufficient incentives to diversify their funding and make the best use of their resources. The system is effectively regulated in the public interest so that it produces worthwhile outcomes for both external and internal stakeholders. 2. One of the ironies of the post-1980s expansion of higher education is that at the same time as the proportion of the age group entering higher education has risen sharply in virtually every country, the higher education and school/college sectors may be drifting apart as a result of changes on each side especially the emphasis on measuring outcomes in the schools and the increasing diversification of higher education. Yet there should be some match between what schools and colleges expect from their graduates and what universities expect of their entrants. In fact, both the schools/colleges and higher education have an interest in a close and productive relationship. Higher education obviously has an interest in having as many students who are well prepared for higher-level study. This enables faculty to concentrate 22
their efforts on a curriculum that is genuinely "higher" as well as maximising learner progression, achievements and satisfaction. It also avoids wasteful expenditure on remedial studies. At the same time, universities and colleges need to be ready to take us through a far wider spectrum of student abilities as was previously the case, as well as understanding the changes that have been taking place in the schools and colleges. Equally, the schools and colleges benefit from being able to prepare their students for higher education, a preparation which will include an appreciation of the educational requirements of different kinds of courses and qualifications and the range of experiences now available. Schools and colleges also need to understand the increased complexity of the higher education system and the growing importance of the labour market. Universities and colleges in many systems are already involved indirectly with the schools through the training of teachers. There is also a growing emphasis in some countries of university engagement with schools in order to facilitate access. However, an appropriate relationship spanning full range of university and schools/college activity would seem to require proper coordinating mechanisms to oversee joint activity in other areas such as the curriculum (courses, content, assessment), learner progression and preparation for the labour market. These activities can extend to "early college" courses for students still at school and even to direct university involvement with individual schools and groups of schools (in Britain a growing number universities are acting as sponsors for Academies or Trust schools whilst in America universities can operate Charter High Schools in most states though so far the take up has been limited). However these mechanisms would need some degree of support from both the school/college and university/higher education authorities if they are to move beyond the fig leaf stage (Finn, 2006). (According to Michael Kirst (2008), as many as 37 US States have established "T-16" councils ­ groups of education, business and community leaders charged with developing strategies to better coordinate, integrate, and improve education from pre-school through college). The existence of such mechanisms would be facilitated by the sort of system structure advocated for higher (and possibly further) education. 23
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Wolf, C. (1993) Markets or Governments: Choosing Between Imperfect Alternatives. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press. Woodhall, M. and Richards, K. (2006) "Student and University Funding in Devolved Governments in the UK" in Teixeira, P., Johnstone, D. B., Rosa, M. J. and Vossemsteyn, H. (eds.) Cost-Sharing and Accessibility in Higher Education: A Fairer Deal. Dordrecht: Springer, 2006. Zemsky, R. (2005) "The dog that doesn't bark: why markets neither limit prices nor promote educational quality" in Burke, J. and associates (eds.) Achieving Accountability in Higher education: Balancing Public, Academic and Market Demands. San Francisco: JosseyBass. 26
Widening Participation and the Changing Role of Higher Education in a Globalised World Lennart Olausson The theme that I want to discuss in this paper is related to an analysis of some of the trends in the discourse on higher education and its changing role in a globalised world. I also want to give you some thoughts on the discussion on widening access and recruitment of underrepresented groups in society to higher education. This is, of course, a theme which cannot be covered within the framework of this paper, so I can only give you a hint about my way of analyzing what is happening within the Swedish and European context. Higher education and research has been identified as the most important vehicle for making the European countries or rather the members of the European Union more compatible. The first decade of this new millennium has been characterized by different crises. In the first few years, we had a problematic situation within the IT-industry and for the last couple of years there has been what is called a financial crisis. The only thing that we can be sure of is that there will be more crises to come. These crises are affecting the universities more and more, the more important the universities become the more they will be intertwined with the economic development. The globalization process can be seen and felt on your bare skin all over the world. This is also one of the signs of the closer connection between what is happening in different countries. The rhythms in the national economies overlap more and more, which means that a crisis in one part of the world will soon become a crisis in the rest of the world. For the last thirty years or a discourse has developed indicating that future society in the future will be a knowledge society. In the Western world, this has been interpreted as meaning that "we" are losing jobs within the industrial sector to other parts of the world; and, as the work force is too cheap in these parts of the world, the only way the European countries can remain compatible is to have a better-educated work force than the "others". This can make Europe competitive again, but now based on knowledge-based production and an economic order where the service sector is increasingly important. This kind of analysis has gone hand in hand with a new policy for higher education. The socalled Bologna process can be seen as part of this new policy. It has been implemented in order to make it easier for students to move between the different universities all over Europe. Two of the most important ideas behind the Bologna process have been to direct attention to students' learning of students, i.e. more emphasis on students' learning than on teaching, and ­ secondly, on the employability of the students. 27
The universities within the EU have implemented this new policy and they have also raised the question of increased autonomy for the universities. The saying goes, within the European Universities Association (EUA), that it is necessary to increase the autonomy of universities in order to make it possible for them or us to respond to the demands from business as well as from politicians in a more rational and efficient manner. However, there are two sides to every coin, and the demand for increased autonomy is followed by a demand for accountability. The national states want to be sure that they get value for the taxpayersґ money. This discussion on accountability has strengthened the emphasis on measurable results, not only expressed in economic terms, but also in terms of quality in higher education as well as in research. Ranking lists are one of symptoms this as well as the focus on New Public Management within the universities. You can say that the policies discussed for the changes of higher education concentrate on three different points: · The knowledge society and the demand for a more well educated work force · A closer link between education, research and innovation, often expressed within the framework of the "knowledge triangle". · A shift from merely focusing on technological innovation to included social innovation, from innovation within the industrial sector to the service sector. During the Swedish presidency of the EU in the autumn 2009, there was a drive towards including the "knowledge triangle" in the political agenda. Depending on the focus that is placed on the different legs, policies will differ. So far, it has been the research leg that has dominated the scene, with more and more emphasis on the link with innovation. This has been identified as one of the competitive weaknesses within Europe in comparison with the US. An attempt is being made to change the dominant line of line that first research is conducted at the universities, then - primarily within medicine and technology ­ innovation will hopefully take place as a result of the new knowledge. However, this, of course, does not always happen. The third leg has not been discussed so much within this new framework. That there should be a close link between research and higher education is, of course, a foundation stone within the so-called Humboldt ideology. However, what can be said the relationship between innovation and education? Can we develop this link in new ways? Further, what happens to widening participation in this context? 28
WHAT ABOUT WIDENING PARTICIPATION? The above is one way of describing what is happening on the policy level in Europe. Moreover, it will not come as a big surprise that the discussion on widening participation, including the recruitment of students from non-academic homes and an inclusive approach to all the different kinds of students, is no longer on the political agenda. No, I would say that Ben Wildawsky in his book The Great Brain Race (2010) is closer to the dominant agenda in the heading of one of the chapters in the book: "Wanted: World-Class Universities". He writes the following in the first part of his book: My goal in these pages is to chronicle and analyze the growing globalization of higher education in all its dimensions: the ever-more-intense recruitment of students and faculty; the swift spread of branch campuses; the well-financed efforts to create worldclass universities, whether by upgrading existing institutions or by building brand-new ones; the innovative efforts by online universities and other for-profit players to fill up unmet needs in higher education markets around the globe; and the closely watched ranking by which everyone keep score. These rankings are increasingly taking new forms, as they are refined to capture vital elements of the university experience, notably how much students actually learn while on campus. 1 In these universities, there is no room for the non-elites. The ideology of finding the best brains in the world may, of course, mean that you will try to find them in social layers other than the usual, but that does not seem to be the case in any greater extent. If we take a quick look at the other side of the coin, I can take one example from Sweden. From the 1970s onwards, many new universities and university colleges were established in different regions in Sweden. We can now see that there have been very positive developments in the regions where the universities were established. People living there have the opportunity to form new lives to an extent that would not have been possible, if the university had not been there. Furthermore, if they had been forced to leave their region, most of them would never have come back. The region would then have developed differently, probably in a less positive fashion. The expansion of the number of Swedish universities and, of course, the numbers of students was achieved by including some of the semi-professions in academia. Nurses, social workers and teachers for all ages in the school system now became part of the student body at the universities. This meant that many students from non-academic homes were recruited to the universities. This might be said to be the most effective way of widening recruitment from other social layers than the upper classes. However, at the same time, we can say that we built a social and gender division into the Swedish higher education system. Even though the education of nurses, social workers and so forth is now part of the university, the old 1 Wildawsky, B., The Great Brain Race, 2010, p. 2 ­ 3. 29
recruitment pattern still dominates. This means that we still have a lot of work to do in finding ways within the universities of breaking down old barriers. In the latest report from the Swedish National Agency for Higher Education from 2009 on the progress of the work of widening participation, the Agency defines the variables to be measured in the following way: Social background - the level of the parents' education Foreign background ­ people who were either born outside Sweden or both of whose parents were born outside Sweden All Swedish universities and university colleges in Sweden are required to work on widening recruitment. In the above report, the Agency discusses very briefly the concept of widening participation. However, if you consider what they are measuring, it is not easy to see how they propose implementing a more socially inclusive attitude. The authors are aware of the changes that have taken place within the discourse on widening participation, but they still only measure social background. The results given in the report show that universities are working on this issue, and they are doing so in quite different ways and also reporting their work in quite different ways. So, one of the conclusions must be that simply measuring students' background, social or foreign, is not sufficient to grasp what the universities really are doing. We should also be aware that universities are expected to work on widening participation but that there is no incentive for doing so. There is no national policy, which the universities can implement and then get credit for their work. So why should the universities in Sweden do this work? Is widening participation a concept of social justice? Moreover if so, how do you implement that in relation to the now dominant discourse on finding the best brains? Sometimes it is interesting to look a little bit further back in history. Almost sixty years ago, there was a discussion in Sweden on the problem of recruiting students. In those days, only a small percentage of each generation attended universities. Most of them came from the upper classes, very few from the working class. In those days, we had a social democratic government with a strong interest in developing the educational system, from the bottom to the top. The question was what arguments could be used to in support of different way of recruiting students? It was not only a question of building a fair system, giving all the same chances in life. It was also necessary to convince the conservatives that there were many intelligent young people in the working class who could successfully complete higher education. Within the discipline of educational science a new concept was born, a concept constructed to show that it would be possible to recruit not just a few extremely gifted young people from the working class, but to do so at the same level as from the upper classes. The 30
concept, the reserve of talent, was created to express this and also to give politicians a scientifically based concept which would make it possible to change the higher educational system in Sweden. The researchers argued that there was no reason to believe that the distribution of talent or intelligence is different in the lower classes from in the upper classes. Thus, if two thirds of the upper classes could send their sons ­ they were still the dominating sex at the universities in those days ­ then it could and should be possible for the lower classes also to send two thirds of their youngsters to the universities. The Swedish government thought that it was not a good idea to lose so much talent. The argument was formulated at the macro level; at the individual level the changes in the attitudes of the working class and other social layers not accustomed to academia were much harder to achieve. It could be argued that it was not until the expansion of the number of universities into all regions in Sweden that a significantly higher number of young people from the lower classes were recruited to the universities. The book The Rise of Meritocracy 1870 ­ 2033 (1958) by Michael Young provides a hint of the ideological climate in the fifties. Here he formulated the concept of meritocracy and supported the idea that all people should have the same chances in life, independent of the social layer they were born in. Looking at the policy level, you can say that widening recruitment has been a politically important question in Sweden. However, this policy has not been followed by a more concrete political decision to allocate resources to the universities to fulfil this task. Thus, it may be said that working with widening participation ­ if my analysis is correct ­ has disappeared from the political agenda. Furthermore, now that the discussion is increasingly concentrated on recruiting international students from all over the world, it seems to me that the question we are discussing here will become invisible in the political discourse. There is perhaps a solution to this. I think that there are some possibilities in relation to the upcoming discussion on diversity, i.e. diversity in all its aspects, not just social or ethnic diversity among the students. THE CONCEPT OF DIVERSITY ­ A POSSIBLE NEW DISCOURSE? Increasing demands and expectations are being placed on universities all over the world. Politicians and others have formulated the hope that universities will play a crucial role in solving the major problems that the world is facing the coming decades. The universities are also supposed to provide a substantial contribution to the well-being of our societies. To achieve this and fulfil these expectations, the dominant policy within higher education and research has focused on the elite and on a one-dimensional method of attacking the 31
problems. All universities are supposed to be measured by the same kind of standard. Quality is the key word in this policy, but the way of measuring it has not been adapted to take into account the future tasks of universities. Let me conclude this paper with some reflections on what a more diversified approach would mean and why we need a more diversified higher education landscape in the individual countries as well as in Europe and all over the world. There are more than 3000 universities in Europe, probably more than 10.000 universities all over the world. The ranking systems include 200 or sometimes 500 of these universities. Most of the universities are not visible in these measurement systems. This does also mean that we really do not know what all the universities are doing and how good they are at doing what they really do. Within the European Union, a new debate has started concerning diversity. One example is a book edited by Frans A. van Vught, with the informative title Mapping the Higher Education Landscape, where van Vught is saying the following in the preface: This book is the result of a project focused on the development of an instrument able to create useful and effective transparency in the diversity of European higher education. 2 This project can be seen as one sign of the search for a role for all the universities to play, and maybe some of them will take on the role of becoming "excellent" in widening participation. Another example is a fascinating study entitled Institutional diversity in European Higher Education. Tensions and Challenges for policy makers and institutional leaders by Sybille Reichert, who draws the following conclusion in her summary: Current higher education debates often lead us to believe that institutional diversity is generally regarded as beautiful, as a value in its own right. As this study has shown, the values of diversity clearly lie in the eye of the beholder, with different aspects of diversity being prioritized or ignored in different institutional or national contexts. Very few diversity values seem to be shared in the same manner across national or institutional boundaries. Even among the aspects of diversity which are most often positively valued, such as diversity of institutional profiles or functional differentiation of higher education institutions (and their staff profiles), the exact notion associated with this value, e.g. how the different types of institutions should be defined and promoted, or along which dimensions professorships should be differentiated, differ greatly from one national, regional and institutional context to the next. 3 2 Van Vught, F.A., (ed.) Mapping the Higher Education Landscape. Towards a European Classification of Higher Education, (2009) preface 3 Reichert, S., Institutional diversity in European higher education, (2009) p. 122 32
Reichert distinguishes between five aspects of diversity: 1) various target communities; 2) emphases on different dimensions of higher education activities; 3) programmes with subject profiles, creating institutional profiles with different mixes on a continuum from academic to professional orientation; 4) staff profiles; 5) the student profiles by which institutions seek to be defined and which may vary with respect to their qualifications, geographical or national origins or other aspects of their background, with different modalities of admission contributing to institutional profiles. The most interesting aspect for us in this context, working on widening participation and social inclusion, is of course the last one. However, we cannot isolate the different aspects from each other. I believe that we must see that adopting a particular position in the fifth aspect will lead to consequences in the other aspects. However, in Reichert's study, it is not clear that this is the case. She has examined 118 institutions in five European countries and found that where the aspect of diversity of students is concerned, there was a relative indifference. The only exception was England, because there Institutional autonomy and financial incentives combine to produce more explicit institutional diversity policies and targeted measures to address diversity of student backgrounds than can be observed in the other four countries. ..... Only in England has student diversity become a feature which contributes to defining institutional profiles, primarily in terms of diversity of student qualifications, and in some cases of socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds. 4 This is not a surprising result. However, what I think is most interesting in this study is that it shows, on the one hand, that there must be some financial support for widening participation, otherwise most universities will do other things, especially when the dominant discourse is focused on the elite in all its aspects. On the other hand, Reichert gives us an approach to rethink widening participation within the framework of diversity. I will conclude with some reflections on this from my experience as vice-chancellor for a young university, only 12 years old. MALMЦ UNIVERSITY Malmц University was founded in 1998 in the city of Malmц, an old industrial city, where most of the old industry had disappeared in the 1970ґs. The educational level of the inhabitants was lower than average in Sweden. In order to shape a new, more creative and modern Malmц, the politicians decided that Malmц needed a university. 4 Ibid. P. 131 33
Now we have about 25,000 students. Our educational profile is primarily education for the professions with an emphasis on close cooperation with local and regional business in order to prepare our students for the future with their help. Malmц has changed from a city dominated by industrial workers to a multicultural city, with over 170 different languages spoken and with more than half of the young people having some kind of foreign background. This is a radical shift that has taken place over the last in twenty years. In this context, we are creating a new university, where the one-liner in our vision is formulated as "Where diversity makes a difference". The idea is that to work with all our different students and we have been quite successful in widening participation; are now working hard on achieving an inclusive attitude among all our staff as well as all students. We believe that, in order to make use of diversity, we must let the students' experiences be part of our education. We are developing an active method of handling knowledge, as we think that knowledge must be used, and that we must train our students so that they can make use of their knowledge in different kinds of contexts. At the same time, we must not forget the self-improvement aspects of knowledge. Academic studies are also meant to give the student a more reflective way of dealing with all kinds of problems; we try to provide them with knowledge habitats that will remain with them forever. It is also our aim to ensure that all our students gain a reflective understanding of three different aspects: gender, ethnicity and sustainable development, all three of which are perhaps the most important issues with regard to power in society and democracy. Perhaps the best description of what we are trying to achieve was formulated by one of our international students: "I came to Malmц University, because I wanted to meet a little UN every day during my studies". Can we attain that goal? I think that we have the diversity among our students for which we have been striving. This is, in short, how we are working in a new university to make use of the diversity among our students. I hope that we will be successful; it will no doubt be easier to achieve if it can be done in cooperation with other universities. 34
Minding the Gap to Higher Education: What Educators and Leaders Need to Know Do! Brenda L.H. Marina Abstract Every day, educational organizations and institutions make unconscious contributions to inequalities in education through decision-making. In this paper, I discuss the intersection of an achievement gap in education and disparities associated with educational attainment. Our colleagues in other parts of the world report that they have an achievement gap and this gap is described in the literature but it is not commonly described as a global problem. The skills required for success in a global economy are often different from the knowledge and skills that are taught in schools. If we understand global economics, educational leaders at all levels must begin and continue the conversations that lead to practices that will help all students learn at a globally competitive standard; communication is absolutely critical. Thoughtful communication about how we manage inequality in educational attainment can change our experience with the world and the world's experience with each of us. INTRODUCTION It has been documented that there is an achievement gap in the United States of America. Education expert Tony Wagner (2008) suggests that there are two achievement gaps in the education systems throughout the world. The gap between the quality of schooling for lowincome and middle to high-income students is the most prevalent gap in the mind of Americans. Thousands of American schools have this achievement gap, where large percentages of lowincome students are found by standardized tests to be at the beginning of the achievement ladder and large percentages of higher-income students are found to be at the top of the achievement ladder. Educational research has consistently found socioeconomic status to be an important determinant of educational outcomes, and economic research has shown that education strongly affects earnings. The second gap that he suggests is a global achievement gap that is fuelled by economic, social, political and technological changes. The literature on the achievement gap in America has been growing at a rapid rate as a result of the federal government's No Child Left Behind legislation, which sets very rigorous goals for how quickly school systems are to close this gap (Danielson, 2002; Johnson, 2002; Reeves, 2006). The literature contains suggestions regarding how schools might best address the achievement gap (Barth, 2003; Fullan, 2001). For example, Darling-Hammond (1997) identified principles which successful schools have followed. High/universal standards, a performance based assessment, and a school culture that is respectful and welcomes family 35
involvement are highlighted. While states have considered such suggestions, a national consensus does not exist on a single strategy or set of strategies to solve this problem. This author is not suggesting that there is one single strategy to solve this problem. The benefits and influence of higher education on social groups is a recurring theme throughout higher education publications, especially the impact higher education may have on low-income populations. Poverty is not simply the absence of financial resources; poverty is the lack of capability to function effectively in society (Wilms, 2006). Inadequate education can thus be considered a form of poverty. Research findings in the social sciences relate to the relationship between economic and education variables, and therefore between education and poverty (Van der Berg, S., 2008). THE GLOBAL ACHIEVEMENT GAP If we slightly reframe our understanding of the achievement gap to consider the learning gap between young people who are part of the privileged, dominant culture and young people who are in the minority culture and are not privileged, we will find an achievement gap in other parts of the world. Our colleagues in other parts of the world report that they do have an achievement gap. This learning gap is described in the literature (Fanning, 2007; Gynther, 2004; New Zealand Human Rights Commission, 2007); however, it is not described as a global problem. If we consider that there is an achievement gap that is connected to discrimination in society, then it follows that prejudice and discrimination will be a nearly universal function of all cultures (Fanning, 2007). Discrimination in the area of education is a major control mechanism. Equity-minded educators are choosing to shift the framing of this inquiry from explaining the academic failure of students of color to exploring alternative structures, organizations, and practices that lead to greater academic success for all students. (Cooper, 2003, p. 599) The largest learning gap appears to be based on gender. Many cultures do not value the education of a girl in the same way that they value the education of a boy. Females in many countries are treated as the minority culture and girls are not given equal educational opportunities. With the exception of the achievement gap between males and females, it appears that there has not been an awareness that the achievement gap may be a global phenomenon (UNFPA, 2005). The second largest cause for the global achievement gap is related to the cost of attending school at all levels. Even in countries where an education is supposed to be available at no cost, young people must purchase expensive books and writing materials. Given the distance that young people may have to walk to school and the need for a family to have the family member employed, many young people do not have an opportunity to learn because their families are too poor to provide for their education. Such students have no opportunity or access to the future of higher education. It was suggested that school attendance is a problem in almost all countries with an indigenous population, and the authorities have not always given that problem sufficient priority (Fanning, 2007). 36
The situation tends to be aggravated by a cultural gap: a systemic distrust of other dominant cultures. This distrust sustains a culture gap and subsequently, the achievement gap. Many countries have minority populations who do not receive an equal education, which leads to limited access to higher education. EDUCATIONAL LEADERS CAN RESPOND TO THE ACHIEVEMENT GAP Educational leaders can consider the development of a global, sustained collaboration between school leaders and scholars who will share strategies that succeed in bridging the cultural and achievement gaps. Such collaborations can bring about learning equity in their communities. Educators can collaborate with our colleagues around the world as presenters and as participants at international conferences. Whilst it may be expensive to attend conferences in other countries, some of these conferences can be held in the United States or as a webinar, a web-based seminar. Educational researchers and practitioners can publish their research and best practices on their institutions' websites, in journals, and in professional magazines which reach international audiences. Quite often, research and best practices are shared on a very limited basis. During a week-long study tour, arranged by university faculty in the state of Georgia, principals from the United Kingdom toured primary, middle and secondary schools to observe strategies for successful 21st century teaching and learning. This experience afforded the opportunity to speak with other principals as well as teachers and students. Meetings with university faculty members were also arranged to share strategies which have allowed them to successfully create partnerships in their school communities. The week ended with a global education symposium where educators were asked to share perceptions and beliefs of best practices and policies and their impact on 21st Century teaching and learning. The teachers, principals, university faculty, university administrators, and education policy makers also discussed how the educational levels of students could be raised to ensure their success in the future global workforce. The university faculty who arranged the tour and symposium shared their global education research study. This study included educators from elementary, middle, and high schools, university partnership leaders, and education policy makers engaged in dialogue concerning teaching, learning, effective policies and practices in regard to teacher education preparation, and teacher quality. To facilitate this exchange of ideas, data were collected through interviews and focus group meetings from educators in China, England, Wales and the United States of America. Key questions were asked of individuals on their thoughts on knowledge and skill sets necessary for students to be productive citizens in the 21st Century. Educators suggested essential skills include knowledge of technology, the ability to transfer learned skills to daily routines, the ability to think logically and creatively, the ability to communicate effectively as well as the ability to initiate their own learning and have an awareness and understanding of the entire world, not just the world around them. Other 37
questions included topics concerning curriculum and assessment, as well as funding and the impact of policies imposed at the local, state and federal levels as they related to their respective schools and/or universities. Educators were also asked to define teacher quality as it relates to 21st Century teaching success. Some definitions included recognizing that individuals learn in different ways, that collaboration should exist at all levels within diverse communities, that learning should involve a level of motivation and that teachers should possess the ability to assess the needs of individuals in order to support their educational development. Symposium participants were very enthusiastic as they listened to the ideas proposed by their colleagues. At the end of the session, there was a consensus among the educators and policy makers for future collaborations. The following are the ideas which were suggested: 1. Continue to gather information to share with educators · write up documents and publications 2. Collaboration with faculty from other universities and schools · collaboration with others through email and other means of technology 3. Have students become email pen pals with other students from other areas 4. Initiate more "face to face" visits in which university faculty and school personnel can collaborate 5. Teacher/faculty exchange programs 6. Study how the United Kingdom structures their school day 7. Create an electronic reading group with teachers, faculty, administrators, and policy makers and create a blog 8. Conduct collaborative research on soft skills (such as civic responsibility) to develop strategies to create equitable education experiences EDUCATIONAL LEADERS CAN RESPOND TO THE GLOBAL ACHIEVEMENT GAP Educational leaders can seek an international understanding about the fundamental human right to equal educational opportunities for all of the world's young people. The work to develop a comprehensive global plan to bring equal educational opportunities to all young people and the adoption of an international law has already occurred. Educational leaders in America and those who train school leaders lack awareness of this legislation. The 38
connection to international laws and the achievement gap as evidence of a breach of an international agreement has been overlooked. (Earl & Katz, 2006; O'Shea, 2005). The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (as cited in the New Zealand Human Rights Commission, 2007) asserts the principle of non-discrimination and proclaims that every person has the right to education. Furthermore, the "Convention Against Discrimination in Education" was adopted by the General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on December 14, 1960. The Convention moved beyond listing education as a human right and it stated: "The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, while respecting the diversity of national educational systems, has the duty not only to proscribe any form of discrimination in education but also to promote equality of opportunity and treatment for all in education" (United Nations, 2003). The Convention elucidated that the provisions are international law and that: ...`discrimination' includes any distinction, exclusion, limitation or preference which, being based on race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, economic condition or birth, has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing equality of treatment in education. International law does not allow any government to allow: (a) depriving any person or group of persons of access to education of any type or at any level, (b) limiting any person or group of persons to education of an inferior standard and (c) inflicting on any person or group of persons conditions which are incompatible with the dignity of man. (United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, 1960) The term "education" referred to all types and levels of education, and included access to education, the standard and quality of education and the conditions under which it was given. This Convention has several government requirements, most notable for this discussion are: 1) to make secondary education in its different forms generally available and accessible to all; 2) to make higher education equally accessible to all on the basis of individual capacity and 3) to ensure that the standards of education are equivalent in all public education institutions of the same level, and that the conditions relating to the quality of education provided are also equivalent (United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, 1960). This Convention and other international laws have been used to pursue cases for young people to receive a fair and equitable education. CONCLUDING THOUGHTS A global achievement gap exists, despite the ruling of the Convention. Having the international law in place is a prevailing leverage point for educational leaders to seek and gain support for resource allocations and policy decisions to narrow the global achievement 39
gap. Professors of educational leadership are a powerful force that can assume responsibility to develop and garner commitment for equitable results for all students (Lуpez, Magdaleno & Reis 2006). Educational institutions reflect their societies and as such have the same issues of prejudice and discrimination. Educational leaders, as a network of professors and professionals, can guide their educational community to understand the impact of discrimination, including achievement gaps. This exchange of ideas and regular collaboration on a global level is critical. Higher education institutions have a role to play in poverty alleviation. The vast majority of poor people in developing countries live in rural areas and education is a key factor in helping to reduce the level of poverty. Some higher education institutions are developing strategies to increase and widen their contribution to learning and development for rural people. In addition, higher education institutions can play an essential role in curriculum and instruction, and the conceptualization and development of policies. The awareness of education attainment inequities at all levels is necessary for the formulation of educational policies. In addition to higher education leaders and administrators, governments, economists, and policy makers are urged to consider the evaluation of policies in terms of economic growth. Closing the global achievement gap will require a sustained effort by school leaders and scholars, who, as bold and socially responsible leaders, must overcome centuries' old patterns of inequity (Lуpez, Magdaleno, & Reis, 2006). Socially responsible school leaders will think beyond their own school and nation and reflect upon the nature of ethnocentrism and prejudice. Bold school leaders will make the effort to consult openly and honestly with international colleagues to examine common problems and to consider creative and diverse solutions provided by educational leaders and scholars in other countries and cultures (Fanning, 2007). Working together, educational leaders can strive to overcome ethnocentrism, prejudice, and discrimination and develop strategies to create equitable education experiences that will close the achievement gap, which in turn will mind the global achievement gap to higher education. Higher education is a commodity in which all citizens should have equal access. The benefits are limitless when felt locally, nationally, and globally. 40
REFERENCES Barth, R.S. (2003). Lessons learned: Shaping relationship and the culture of the workplace. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press. Danielson, C. (2002). Enhancing student achievement: A framework for school improvement. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Darling-Hammond, L. (1997). The right to learn. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Earl, L. M. & Katz, S. (2006). Leading schools in a data-rich world. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press. Fanning, M. (2007) Perspective on the Global Achievement Gap. Educational Administration 19, 25-42. Fullan, M. (2001). Leading in a culture of change. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Gynther, P. (2004). International non-discriminatory guarantees in education: Empty vows or effective mechanisms? Retrieved May 19, 2010 from http://www.errc.org/cikk.php?cikk=1597 Johnson, R. S. (2002). Using data to close the achievement gap: How to measure equity in our schools. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press. Lуpez, J., Magdaleno, K. R., & Reis, N. M. (2006). Developing leadership for equity. Educational Leadership and Administration, 18, 11-19. New Zealand Human Rights Commission. (2007). Human rights in New Zealand today: Chapter Four--The rights of children and young people. Retrieved May 19, 2010 from http://www.hrc.co.nz/report/chapters/chapter04/children01.html O'Shea, M. R. (2005). From standards to success. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Reeves, D. B. (2006). The learning leader: How to focus school improvement for better results. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. UNFPA. (2005). State of world population 2005: The Promise of Equality Gender Equity, Reproductive Health and the Millennium Development Goals. Retrieved May 19.2010 from http://www.unfpa.org/webdav/site/global/shared/documents/publications/2005/swp0 5_eng.pdf United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. (1960). Convention against discrimination in education. Retrieved May 17, 2006 from http://www.wunrn.com/reference/pdf/Convention_Discrimination_Education.PDF United Nations Commission on Human Rights (2003). United Nations literacy decade (20032012). Retrieved May 17, 2010 from http://www.hrea.org/index.php?base_id=144 Van der Berg, Seervas. (2008). Poverty and Education. Education policy series; 10. Paris: UNESCO: International Institute for Educational Planning Wagner, Tony. (2008). The global achievement gap. New York, NY: Basic Books. ISBN 978465-00229-0. 41
Wilms, J, D. (2006).Learning divides: ten policy questions about the performance and equity of schools and schooling systems. UIS Working Paper 5. Montreal: UNESCO Institute for Statistics 42
Learning Styles and Cultural Differences: Case studies of American, Albanian, Austrian, Japanese, Chinese and Croatian students Violeta Vidacek-Hain, Victoria Appatova, Harry Prats, Kenjiro Takemura, Liren An, Jozef Bushati, Norbert Berger and Katarina Pazur. Abstract Effective learning environments (ELE) are determined by a complex range of psychological, pedagogical, technical, cultural, and pragmatic variables. The active participation of students is an important factor in creating ELE. The main goal of this comparative study is to analyze and compare student's attitudes towards components of an effective leaning environment related to learning styles and learning strategies. For this purpose, students from six different countries were asked to complete the ELE survey. The results of this international comparative study show more similarities than differences across cultural boundaries in students' perceptions of the importance of various ELE factors. Similarities in all six core samples of respondents include, among others, the fact that all of the students' assessments of ELE factors lie in the positive part of Likert's scale. Some cultural differences may be observed in the psychological and pedagogical aspects of interpreting communication and learning skills. INTRODUCTION An effective learning environment (ELE) is an open system of variable factors that influence the effectiveness of student learning from various learner perspectives: students, faculty, administrators and professional staff (Appatova & Prats, 2007). Students' knowledge, learning styles, learning orientations, perceptions and preferences for different kinds of learning environments are important factors related to the students' engagement in the learning process (Entwistle & Peterson, 2004). Students' learning styles vary depending on many factors, such as the type of information, which the student preferentially perceives, the type of a sensory channel through which the external information is most effectively perceived, the way of organizing and processing the information, and the student's progress toward understanding (Felder & Silverman, 1988). Another important component of effective learning and a learning environment is self-efficacy. There are some cultural differences in self-efficacy; for example, American students believe more strongly than their Croatian peers that they can perform difficult tests and solve difficult problems and act efficiently in unexpected situations (Vidacek-Hains et al, 2010a). Learning style is an important factor in the learning process, and there are individual differences in learning styles. There is no significant correlation between students' learning 43
styles and their academic achievements and their grade levels, but there are significant correlations between learning styles with regard to gender and type of education (Can, 2009). The problems involved in measuring individual differences in learning styles that need to be taken into consideration included poor measurement methods and lack of validity (Peterson et al, 2009). Although no gender-related preferences in learning styles have been detected, gender differences appear in the performance scores.. Male students are more successful in technology-based courses and female students are better in artistic and fundamental courses (Demirbas & Demirkan, 2007). There are some other factors which enhance students' academic achievement; for instance, the use of computers and ICT technology in their education has a positive effect on students' motivation and effectiveness (Papastergiou, 2009). Learning styles also differ in the areas of critical thinking and the application of knowledge (Sweet, 2009). Good note-taking skills are instrumental for effective learning and academic achievement. The tools that students use for taking class notes are a pen, a keyboard and a mouse or their equivalents. Using computers for note-taking is feasible and helpful (Ward & Tatsukawa, 2003). Students must learn how to select the relevant information in the note-taking process. Good strategies for listening and selecting relevant information are important for effective note-taking (Kirkgцz, 2010). Note-taking systems are not related to the level of schooling; other factors, such as visual presentations of the learning material, may influence note-taking preferences (Kobayashi, 2005). Some differences may appear in academic performance in relation to the students' various communication styles and cultural differences. Results of the research show some cultural differences in Asian-American and European-American cultural values and communication styles. For example, Asian-Americans use indirect means of communication and a less open communication style compared to European-American students. The latter use a more precise communication style (Park & Kim, 2008). Other research results show that there are cultural differences in learning styles, but the impact of culture is only marginally significant (Joy & Kolb, 2009). The main goal of this research was to analyze and compare students' estimates of the importance of basic effective learning environment factors for their academic performance. For that purpose, core samples of students from universities in six different countries (Albania, Austria, China, Croatia, Japan and USA) are included in this comparative study. METHOD Respondents This research was conducted with students at six different universities. The core sample included students from the University of Cincinnati/Center for Access and Transition, Ohio, USA (N=255, 54% male and 46% female), Keio University, Japan (N=40, 78% male and 22% 44
female), Northwest University, China (N=150, 58% male and 42% female), Advising Information Students Center, University of Shkodra `Luigj Gurakuqi`, Albania (N=331, 51% male and 49% female), Karl Franzens University, Graz, Austria (N=83, 39% male and 61% female) and University of Zagreb/Faculty of Organization and Informatics, Croatia (N=126, 67% male and 33% female). The percentage of respondents age 18-21 from Albania was 90%, from Croatia 98% and from the USA 95%. More than half of the Austrian students were between 18 and 21 (52%) with the remainder being older, from 22 to 30 (48%);. 68% of the Japanese students were between 22 and 30 years old, and only 32% of them were younger (18-21 years of age); 32% of the Chinese students were between 18 and 22, 35% between 22 to 30 and 33% older than 30. Students were asked about the number of family members in their household while they were growing up. The highest number of family members was in Croatia (M=4.51, SD=1.268.), followed by Austria (M=3.89, SD=1.20) and Albania (M=3.02, SD=1.01). Unlike European countries, families in Asian countries and America were smaller: Japan (M=3.25, SD=0.74), America (M=2.14, SD=1.10), and China (M=2.12, SD=0.99). It should be noted that these data only reflect the families of university students, not the average number of family members in these countries in general. The question whether students worked and earned money during their course of study produced the following results: Austrian and Japanese students worked the most number of hours while at university, between 1 and 10 hours a week; Albanian and Croatian students working the least, with Chinese students in-between funding for the cost of higher education provided by the students themselves and by their families varied from country to country. This funding does not include financial aid from university, state or federal resources/grants. The results were as follows: Croatian students are the least funded just by the family, whilst Austrians are the most. In other countries (Japan, China, and Albania), funding by families is at more or less the same level. The participation of the students in the ELE survey was anonymous and voluntary. This comparative study is the second part of a pilot project begun in 2007 as a comparative study of different ELE factors evaluated by American and Croatian students. Measurement The survey has been adapted from the ELE study for college students (Appatova & Prats, 2007). There are four parts to the ELE survey and here the first and second parts of the ELE scale have been analyzed and interpreted. These two sections are Part 1 (Demographics) consisting of 10 questions and Part 2 (Components of Effective Learning Environment) consisting of 28 questions. Part 2 contains items designed to be used with a 5-point Likert scale, answers ranging from 1 "not important at all" to 5 "very important". 45
The alpha coefficient of reliability () for ELE Scale (Part 2) is 0.871 (Vidacek-Hains et al., 2008). This reliability is sufficient for the statistical analysis and interpretation of the results. RESULTS AND INTERPRETATIONS The students emphasized the factors related to their learning styles which played the most significant role in the success of their learning: knowing their preferred learning styles, using various note-taking systems and mnemonic techniques, implementing effective study skills, such as time management, test-taking strategies, and reading skills, as well as writing, mathematics and communication skills. The similarities and differences in students' answers are presented in Figures 1-5. In each figure, each histogram represents one ELE component assessed by students in different countries. The results are interpreted in the terms of ranks, averages and standard deviations. Figure 1 shows the students' answers to the question: "Is it important for your successful learning to have knowledge of various note-taking systems and how to use them effectively when you listen to a lecture or work with your textbook?" The importance of this factor was ranked highest by Austrian (M=4.07, SD=0.98) and American students (M=4.01, SD=1.08), followed by Chinese (M=3.97, SD=1.14), Albanian (M=3.89, SD=1.30), Croatian (M=3.75, SD=1.06), and lastly Japanese students (M=3.68, SD=0.92). These results could suggest that note-taking skills are most important for Austrian students and least important for the Japanese ones.
Figure 1: Knowing of various notetaking systems 5
4
3
2
1
0
Albania Austria
China
Croatia
Japan
USA
Legend. x axis: core samples of students from different countries in alphabetical order; y-axis: mean values (M) of estimates on the 5-point Likert scale from "1 = not important at all" to "5 = very important"
46
The answers to the question "Is it important for your successful learning to know how to attain the best possible results in a test or exam?" are shown in Figure 2. The importance of this factor was ranked highest Croatian (M=4.38, SD=0.77) and American (M=4.31, SD=0.95) students. Austrian (M=4.12, SD=0.90), Albanian (M=4.11, SD=1.26) and Chinese (M=4.11, SD=0.94) students attribute approximately equal importance to results of a test or exam. Japanese (M=3.40, SD=0.98) students consider this factor less important than all other peers. Estimates of all six groups of students are high and lie in the positive section of the Likert scale. That Croatian students attach such importance to this factor might the result of the fact that good marks could help Croatian students gain scholarships. Obtaining funding through scholarships is important especially today when Croatia is in the process of transition, as an applicant to join the European Union. Economic crisis could be a second possible reason for those high estimates of having the best possible results in a test or exam. Cultural differences may appear in academic performance (Joy & Kolb, 2009).
Figure 2: Showing the best possible results at a test or exam
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Legend. x-axis: core samples of students from different countries in alphabetical order; y-axis: mean values (M) of estimates at the 5-point Likert scale from "1 = not important at all" to "5 = very important"
Figure 3 shows results obtained from the question: "Is it important for your successful learning to know how to apply a wide range of memory techniques that make learning fast and enjoyable?" This factor is slightly less important for Japanese (M=3.45, SD=1.31) and Austrian (M=3.81, SD=1.00) students than for all the other peer groups. Among all the other nationalities, the importance of applying a wide range of memory techniques is almost equal. Ranks are as follows: first are Croatian students (M=4.28, SD=0.86), then Chinese (M=4.14, SD=1.06), Albanian (M=4.10, SD=1.14) and finally, American students (M=4.04, SD=0.97). Students need to learn how to select, organize and remember the information (Kirkgцz, 2010).
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Figure 3: Applying a wide range of memory techniques 5
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Legend. x-axis: core samples of students from different countries in alphabetical order; y-axis: mean values (M) of estimates at the 5-point Likert scale from "1 = not important at all" to "5 = very important"
Students were also asked about the importance of recognising and applying their individual learning styles in their college studies (Figure 4). The question was "Is it important for your successful learning to know your own individual learning style and how to apply it in your college studies?" Croatian students (M=4.35, SD=0.80) considered this factor more important for their successful learning than their peers. Approximately equal importance is attributed to individual learning styles by Chinese (M=4.22, SD=1.01) and Japanese students (M=4.20, SD=0.88), whereas American (M=4.12, SD=0.99), Austrian (M=3.82, SD=0.97) and Albanian (M=3.38, SD=1.36) students consider this ELE factor less important. The possible reason for the high estimates of all the students could be the fact that students learn how to develop and apply an individual learning style according to their individual and personal differences and needs. Probably, they can also distinguish between effective and noneffective learning styles according to their special needs. The importance of developing a suitable learning style according to the individual needs is emphasized in other research (Can, 2009).
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Figure 4: Applying an individual learning style 5
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Legend. x-axis: core samples of students from different countries in alphabetical order; y-axis: mean values (M) of estimates at the 5-point Likert scale from "1 = not important at all" to "5 = very important"
Figure 5 shows answers to the question: "Is it important, or would it be important, for your successful learning to have reading, writing, communication, and mathematics tutors available on weekdays, 8 am to 5 pm, to assist you individually and free of charge with any assignments in your content area classes?" The highest assessment of importance comes from American (M=4.14, SD=1.03) students, while the lowest comes from Japanese students (M=2.95, SD=1.01). The rankings of the other nationalities are as follows: first are Albanian students (M=3.37, SD=1.40), then Croatian (M=3.29, SD=1.17), Chinese (M=3.31, SD=1.20) and, finally, Austrian (M=3.1, SD=1.19). The development of those skills is an important factor for academic achievement (Sweet, 2009).
Figure 5: Availability of reading,
writing, communication, and math
tutors
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Legend. x-axis: core samples of students from different countries in alphabetical order; y-axis: mean values (M) of estimates at the 5-point Likert scale from "1 = not important at all" to "5 = very important"
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Students from six different countries reported learning styles as a very important part of their higher education. All of the students' assessments are in the positive section of a 5point Likert scale (most of them averaging around 4 or higher), which means "important" or "very important". There are no significant differences in students' assessments regarding knowledge of learning techniques and the development of individual learning styles. CONCLUSION Respondents from all groups ranked test-taking skills high, i.e. students recognized the need for developing skills like good data organization, memorizing, problem solving, verbal expression etc. (Vidacek-Hains et al, 2008). All students' estimates are in the positive section of the 5-point Likert scale, which means that they considered individual learning styles to be an important part of their successful learning. A point of interest is that, despite possible cultural differences, most of the estimates are nearly the same; i.e. the range of average estimates for each group of students is within one point on Likert's scale. The results confirm some previous research in which there were more similarities than differences between six samples of students. For example, the estimates of the importance of oral and written communication skills, as well as access to information and communication technology and library resources, are also in the positive section of Likert's scale. The analysis of variance revealed no statistical differences (Vidacek-Hains et al., 2010 b). Learning styles are important features of the learning process and are related to critical thinking and the application of knowledge (Sweet, 2009), as well as to academic performance (Demirbas, & Demirkan, 2007). Further research will be conducted on effective learning environments and students' cultural and individual differences in the assessment of their learning environment. The importance of self-efficacy and self-confidence will be measured with some core samples of students from those six universities and possibly other universities as well. 50
REFERENCES Appatova V., Prats, H. (2007) `Effective academic environment for under-prepared college/university learners: listen to student voices.' Paper presented at the 16th EAN Annual Conference Access to Success: The Student Experience from Pre-Entry to Employment, Galway, Ireland, 2007. http://www.ean-edu.org/about/victoria_appatova.ppt, downloaded: February, 15th 2008. Can, S. (2009) `The effects of science student teachers' academic achievements, their grade levels, gender and type of education they are exposed to on their 4mat learning styles (Case of Mula University, Turkey)', Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, vol 1, no. 1, pp 1853-1857 Demirbas, O.O., Demirkan, H. (2007) `Learning styles of design students and the relationship of academic performance and gender in design education', Learning and Instruction, vol 17, no. 3, pp 345-359 Entwistle, N.J., Peterson, E.R. (2004) `Conceptions of learning and knowledge in higher education: Relationships with study behavior and influences of learning environments', International Journal of Educational Research, vol. 41, no. 6, pp 407-428 Felder, R.M., Silverman, L.K. (1988) 'Learning and teaching styles in engineering education', Engineering Education, vol 78, no. 7, pp 674-681 Joy, S., Kolb, D. A. (2009) `Are there cultural differences in learning style?' International Journal of Intercultural Relations, vol 33, no. 1, pp 69-85 Kirkgцz, Y. (2010) `Promoting students' note-taking skills through task-based learning Procedia', Social and Behavioral Sciences, vol 2, no. 2, pp 4346-4351 Kobayashi, K. (2005) `What limits the encoding effect of note-taking? A meta-analytic examination', Contemporary Educational Psychology, vol 30, no. 2, pp 242-262 Papastergiou, M. (2009) `Digital game-based learning in high school computer science education: Impact on educational effectiveness and student motivation', Computers & Education, vol 52, no. 1, pp 1-12 Park, Y.S., Kim, B.S.K. (2008) `Asian and European American cultural values and communication styles among Asian American and European American college students', Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, vol 14, no. 1, pp 47-56 Peterson, E., Rayner, S.G., Armstrong, S.J. (2009) `Researching the psychology of cognitive style and learning style: Is there really a future?' Learning and Individual Differences, vol 19, no. 4, pp 518-523 Prats, H.J., Appatova, V. (2008) 'Framing a university access program for under-prepared students. In Ferrier, F. & Heagney, M. (Eds.) Higher education in diverse communities: Global perspectives local initiatives. European Access Network. London. 51
Sweet, S.L. (2009) `Critical thinking and knowledge application utilizing a multifaceted group project incorporating diverse learning styles', Teaching and Learning in Nursing, vol 4, no. 2, pp 34-36 Vidacek-Hains, V., Appatova, V. & Prats, H. (2008) `Components of effective academic learning environment: Case studies of Croatian and American students', Proceedings of the 19th Central European International Conference on Information and Intelligent Systems, Varazdin, HR, 137-144. Vidacek-Hains, V., Prats, H. & Appatova, V. (2010 a) `Personal efficacy and factors of effective learning environment in higher education: Croatian and American students', Journal of Information and Organizational Sciences, 34, 1, 153-158 Vidacek-Hains, V., Appatova, V., Prats, H., Takemura, K., An, L., Bushaty, J., Berger, N., Pazur, K. (2010 b) `Implementation of information and communication technology in higher education: Comparative research in Asian, American and European universities', Proceedings of the 20th Central European International Conference on Information and Intelligent Systems, Varazdin, HR, in print. Ward, N., Tatsukawa, H. (2003) `A tool for taking class notes. International Journal of HumanComputer Studies, vol 59, no. 6, pp 959-981 52
Promoting Student Discussion, Collaboration, and a sense of Community Online Audrey Cooke, Sheena O'Hare, Lynne Quartermaine Abstract Curtin University commenced a Bachelor of Education (Primary) degree through Open Universities Australia (OAU) in 2009. Our unit enrolments for the second study period of 2010 were 4849. With such a large number of students, our challenge is to ensure that we provide an online environment that promotes student discussion, collaboration, and a sense of community online, while delivering the content required for pre-service teachers. This challenge is significantly affected by the students who are enrolled in the units, most of whom have enrolled in a fully online degree because they are unable to attend a university campus, due to either distance or circumstance. The paper discusses approaches that have been and are being taken whilst situating them within existing theories and research regarding distance and e-learning. INTRODUCTION Curtin University is one of seven universities in the consortium of Open Universities Australia (OUA). At Curtin University, the Bachelor of Education (Primary) course has the same structure and units regardless of whether it is taught on-campus, regionally or online. The units match in content and assessment and all use Blackboard Academic Suite as the Learning Management System (LMS). For online students, the LMS is the sole source of unit information, documentation, submission of assessments and interactions between the student, the teacher, and the content. The structure and arrangement of the units have been designed and are presented in such a way as to promote an environment that encourages student discussion and collaboration. Because our students live in diverse locations, there is a risk of feelings of isolation. We believe that it is essential to create a sense of community for the students as they learn online (Rovai, 2002; Downes, 2010). Moore (1989) proposed that the interactions between and across the students, the teachers and the content are important prerequisites for learning. Supporting this proposal, Anderson (2003) adds that the balance between the quantity and the quality of these interactions is also essential for effective learning. The online units that are part of the B.Ed program are designed to ensure "that we stop thinking of higher education as a deliverer of courses and rather as a deliverer of well-articulated and designed learning experiences offered through tools that the instructor and the learner select" (Jafari, McGee, & Carmean, 2006, p. 58). We support the research that suggests that online learning is either as good as or even better than the learning of students in the traditional classroom (Hiltz, Coppola, Rotter, Turoff and 53
Benbunan-Rich 2000, as cited in Hill, Song, & West, 2009, p. 95). However, we also acknowledge that developing the skills to use the technology is an important aspect (Carmean and Haefner, 2002). An additional factor that we have had to take into account is that the thinking skills utilised when learning online can be different from those in traditional learning (Buraphadeja and Dawson, 2008). While considering the range of implications to our teaching methods and the presentation of this program, we have come to an understanding that our students need to learn how to interact with others online (Macdonald, 2003), and that this is vital for the successful creation of a community of learners. CONTEXT Students were offered the Bachelor of Education (Primary) course for the first time in Study Period 1 of 2009, when four first year units were offered and a sum of 908 unit enrolments were accepted. This grew to a total of 4849 unit enrolments by Study Period 2 of 2010, when four first year units and four second year units were offered. Some of our students come to study straight from high school and others have not studied since high school, sometimes for up to two decades. Further groups of students have already completed a tertiary degree or have started a tertiary degree elsewhere before enrolling in our course. Regardless of their educational background, most of our students have a strong desire to become teachers, with their enthusiasm showing in what they write when they introduce themselves on the discussion boards. Many are enthusiastic about having the opportunity to study teaching; however, the effects of a complete online learning environment and studying at university level can have an impact on their engagement. DELIVERY OF CONTENT In the online environment, there are several levels of content that are provided to students relying on for example Rovai 2002, we have ensured ease of accessibility for students by · Posting a complete syllabus at the beginning of the course · Setting clear guidelines for posting assignments and for discussions · Establishing unambiguous expectations · Providing appropriate scaffolding to assist students · Giving clear and detailed feedback In each online unit, students are provided with a "Unit Information" page that contains information regarding the unit ­ a unit outline that details the learning objectives, modules and topics, essential and recommended resources, and assessments; details about the tutorial groups; the different communication and learning options available within that unit (for example, tutorial groups, study groups, emails, and descriptions of other technologies 54
that will be used), and links to further useful resources (such as the Library, referencing information and university support for study skills such as research and writing). Online learning is different from the traditional classroom, and as such, should not be treated the same (Buraphadeja and Dawson 2008). We agree with the authors in that, if new ways are found that suit online learning, their use will result in greater benefits for both the students and the teachers. Because our degree is offered across three iterations, the benefits achieved in one environment, are likely to also be evident in the other two. In particular asynchronous discussion-based learning is one of the online instructional activities that we have used effectively. This "has the potential to increase learners' levels of thinking, such as critical thinking or upper levels in Bloom's taxonomy [and] ... supports the notion of social constructivism" (Buraphadeja and Dawson 2008, p.142). To support the interaction processes that often need to be taught specifically (Macdonald, 2003) guidelines for student interactions online are provided for students, tutors and coordinators. The format for the communication of these guidelines to students ranges from formal (on the Unit Information pages or documents such as Unit Outlines) to semi-formal (via Announcements for the unit and postings on the Discussion Boards) and to informal (via emails or in response to student posts), recognising the importance of each (Rhode, 2009). Tutors and Unit Coordinators receive information formally via training and general and unit-specific Tutor Guides and informally via emails and responses to posts. We have found that many students are unaware of the level of thinking that is involved in university level study. This has resulted in staff providing more structure and feedback in ways which enable students to learn and develop the skills needed to meet the required level of thinking. This is supported by Reisetter, LaPointe and Korcuska's (2007, p. 67) findings that students considered "instructor feedback ... a particularly important form of interaction". Initially, tutors provide a high level of feedback to students, incorporating a gradual release model (Cambourne, 1988) to reduce the level of feedback as students show improvement in their skills. Students have benefited from developing new skills and learning how to use the different technologies to assist them in their learning beyond the confines of their course. This is supported by Carmean and Haefner (2002), who propose that "by its very nature, the use of technology in the course experience allows a student to develop a different set of lifelong learning skills." (p. 29). Furthermore, they advise that another benefit of using the LMS is the development of "a set of practices in which the learner organizes new knowledge." (p. 32). In fact, Macdonald (2003) states that at the most basic level, a knowledge of the tools and the software environment speeds up effective participation "... if we can acquire some understanding of how online collaboration takes place, then it becomes easier to plan ways of supporting students to achieve competence" (p. 378). 55
However, we should never forget that although students need to learn to use the technology effectively if online collaboration is to be possible, "the technology itself is neutral, a tool that can be turned to whatever ends we select" (Payne, 2003, p. 119). This is particularly true of an online learning environment ­ where all interactions and resources are provided using technology and students need to know how to use that technology to access the appropriate areas. For the students in our context, alternative applications and forms of interacting are investigated and, where suitable products are identified, students are made aware of them and encouraged to explore their use for accessing content, discussions with other students and tutors, and collaboration. STUDENT DISCUSSION Anderson (2003, para. 4) views interaction as "a defining and critical component of the educational process and context". The students are given avenues and opportunities to interact via engagement in online discussions as the entire unit cohort, in tutorial groups, and as smaller work groups. However, as Macdonald (2003, p. 378) proposes "students still need to learn how to interact online with their peers, and inevitably the extent to which their interaction contributes to their learning and understanding will vary with their competency". Students need to learn how to use the environment effectively for them to be productive and to engage in activities that encourage and require their involvement in online discussions, beyond just being fluent in the use of the technology. Rather, technology needs to enhance their learning in a collaborative constructivist environment. This sentiment is echoed by Carmean and Haefner (2002, p. 29) who propose although "file transfer, messaging, asynchronous messaging behaviour, and drop-box features all build a student's sense of place in the world of technology ... these features alone do not guarantee deep learning or technology literacy". The successful use of technology for discussion is crucial, as shown by Yang and Liu (2004, p. 735), who found that "teachers' participation in a knowledge-building community has been envisaged to facilitate the development of subject matter and pedagogical content knowledge". The use of the Tutorial Group Discussion Board allows the focus of online learning to be on the interactions the students will need to learn, as "the learner learns in a real, physical environment in which the technology only provides context, content, and resources. The learners determine what they see, hear, do, and access." (Jafari et al., 2006, p. 58). Moore (1989) outlines three types of interaction ­ learner-content, learner-instructor, and learnerlearner. Moore labels the first type of interaction learner-content as it is "the process of intellectually interacting with content that results in changes in the learner's understanding, the learner's perspective, or the cognitive structures of the learner's mind", considering it "a defining characteristic ... without it there cannot be education" (p. 2). The second interaction is where "the learner comes under the influence of a professional instructor and is able to draw on the experience of the professional to interact with the content in the manner that is most effective for that particular individual learner." (p. 3). The final 56
interaction is considered by Moore to be a challenge to earlier ways of thinking and involves "inter-learner interaction, between one learner and other learners, alone or in group settings, with or without the real-time presence of an instructor ... an extremely valuable resource for learning" (p. 4). Anderson (2003, para. 10) builds on these three types of interaction in his equivalency theorem, where "deep and meaningful learning is supported as long as one of the three forms of interaction (student-teacher; student-student; student-content) is at a high level ...[and] ... will likely provide a more satisfying educational experience". When incorporated in an online environment, the opportunity is created for "the development of social skills, collaborative learning and the development of personal relationships amongst participants as components of the learning process" (para. 25). Several avenues exist for the students in our context to develop social networks and personal relationships with others who are studying with them. These include threads within their Study Group forum, forums created on their Tutorial Group Discussion Board, and Student Community sites that are created and given to students to use outside the formal learning environment. Students also interact via their own email accounts, social networking sites, telephone, and in person. COLLABORATION In her discussion of Moore (1989), Chou (2001, p. 74) stated "although the strategies used to increase learner-learner interaction vary according to the characteristics and backgrounds of the learners, learner-learner interaction can significantly encourage the development of student expertise in different subject areas and promote community building". In several units, the group tasks (not contributing to the students' final marks) and assignments (contributing to the students' final marks) are specifically constructed to enhance collaborative learning, which "plays a significant role in students' sense of learning community as well as students' interaction with peers and the instructor." (Hill, Song, & West, 2009, p. 98). Often, students work in smaller study groups that they organise and run. This approach is supported by Chou (ibid., p. 79), who found that "student-moderated discussion and small group cooperative learning are conducive to interaction and learning". Student collaboration on group tasks or assignments provides an opportunity for "the development of affective support and feelings of connection. This social interaction with group members provides motivation for student participation and learning in the group projects. The importance of emotional bonding and support has been emphasized by several researchers" (So & Brush, 2008, p. 331). This is reflected in the findings of Lim and Kim (2003, as cited in Hill, Song, & West, 2009, p. 97) regarding "the significance of motivation factors in online learning and the complexity of motivation as an influencing factor." To create most opportunities for students to work collaboratively, regardless of their physical 57
location, both synchronous and asynchronous environments are used, though some environments are both, for example, wikis. In one unit, students were asked to set up their small group formation and then notify their tutors, and for one person to set up a public wiki (EtherPad), before asking the other group members and the tutor to join it. EtherPad had several benefits, the initial one being that it enabled both synchronous and asynchronous interactions. There were initial guidelines provided to students by their tutors. Tutors were asked to emphasise the importance of keeping a copy of the URL, stating that it had to be copied and pasted into a secure location as once lost it became irretrievable. However, the URL for the wiki for each group was not to be shared with anyone ­ that is, students should not place it on the Tutorial Group Discussion Board or on their small group forum, as all students in their Tutorial Group would have access. These steps were to address issues that had arisen in the previous Study Periods concerning some students locating and copying ideas and sometimes substantial tracts of other students' work on LMS, which had resulted in contingent disciplinary action. A further way of addressing this was made possible by the functionality of EtherPad ­ the tutor could investigate claims of copying by using the time-slider aspect of EtherPad (this will be discussed in further detail below). The use of the wiki in this unit concerned the first assignment, which was investigative and open to different modes of presentation. Students quickly found that, while EtherPad has a very good import/export facility, it would not support graphics of any kind. This was somewhat of a drawback for those who wished to use graphics, but all students found a parallel application which they were able to share along with their discussions and document creations on the wiki. The marking rubric reflected the effectiveness of the group effort, and asked students to complete an individual and private assessment of the other participants in their group using a detailed rubric that was submitted privately whilst the group assignment was placed in the small Group forum on the Tutorial Group Discussion Board on the due date. The submission of the group assignment on the Tutorial Group Discussion Board had a two-fold advantage ­ other students could view what groups had achieved (enabling a degree of transparency) and tutors found the assignments easy to access and mark on-line. The group evaluation exercise and the final, individual grade were completely privately between the individual student and the tutor. Upon looking at students' individual evaluations, tutors found, as expected, that some students had failed to participate in the assignment. These students demonstrated what Reisetter et al. (2007, p. 73) described in their findings ­ "online learners did not expect to experience a virtual learning community and had less value for it". However, their fellow group members often expressed a sense of unfairness and anger at the thought that they had done all the work while the non-participants reaped the benefits of their labour. The tutors went into the EtherPad, and, using the time slider, found students had gone on to say hello, had maybe contributed two or three lines and then disappeared. Naturally their own 58
group evaluations revealed none of this. Tutors contacted these individuals to ask why they believed that they should share in the group mark and if and what they had contributed as EtherPad showed no evidence of any activity from them. Students who had worked hard on the group assessment felt vindicated in knowing that their opinions and feedback were taken seriously by tutors and were used to evaluate students' contributions to the team effort. Rovai (2002, p. 51) describes a community as "individuals who interact and become connected with each other". He believes that "interactivity is an important component of community building" (p. 52), though it is not limited to the interactions between learnerlearner and learner-instructor, but also "(a) instructor immediacy, (b) dialogue or the amount of control exerted by the learner, (c) learner-content interactions, (d) and the content of learner-learner and learner-instructor interactions" (p. 52). As indicated above, the students in our context have opportunities to interact in formal and informal settings both within and beyond the formal learning environment. These different settings and environments have been created to encourage students to engage in "an online environment that promotes socio-emotional-driven interaction, such as exchanging empathetic messages, encouraging self-disclosure, and discussing the backgrounds and interests of learners may help promote feelings of friendship and connections to others" (Rovai, p. 53). Downes (2010, p. 19) states that learning "occurs in communities, where the practice of learning is the participation in the community". This is further detailed by Rovai (2002, p. 53), who believes "online interactions can help generate a group identity, particularly if the interaction is a component of group work". It seems from the post-unit comments on the University Unit Evaluation site that students in our context enjoyed the opportunity to engage with each other and felt a real sense of achievement and community. The community created is so strong, that students have been asking to go into groups with their "study-buddies" in subsequent units, and it is clear from their communications with each other and us that many are discussing the structure of their course with each other so that they can support each other in their learning journeys, enabling them to develop new skills as part of their life-long learning (Carmean & Haefner, 2002). There is evidence from the Discussion Board that many of these students have made connections, on-line friendships and professional associations which may well last into their teaching careers. CONCLUSION As stated in the introduction, our challenge is to provide an online environment that promotes student discussion, collaboration, and a sense of community online, while delivering the content required for pre-service teachers. This challenge is significantly affected by the students who are enrolled in the units, as the impact of learning at university level in a completely online learning environment combined with the requirements of 59
studying at university level can negatively affect our students' strong desire to become teachers and their enthusiasm at having the opportunity to study teaching. Our experiences have been situated within the existing research regarding interaction opportunities afforded by the online learning environment, particularly in terms of student discussion and collaboration, and the affect the combination of these and the learning of content have on the creation and nurturing of a sense of community. The journey from the first study period in 2009 up to the present has been an exciting journey of discovery, often as co-learners with our students, as we continually engage in an "ongoing commitment to innovation, experimentation and reflective study of our work" (Anderson, Annand, & Wark, 2005, p. 238). Teaching and learning online is challenging and complex for both students and tutors but our commitment to provide an online environment that promotes student discussion, collaboration, and a sense of community online, while delivering the content required for pre-service teachers, makes it incumbent upon us to introduce a learning setting which genuinely allows mastery and growth for both students and teachers. As Berners-Lee (1998) has proposed, it is the interactions of the people who are learning, rather than books in a university library that creates the learning that is an essential part of education. Our journey of discovery will continue via research. The results of student satisfaction surveys conducted by both OUA and Curtin University continue to be examined with regard to student comments on the various online environments and settings to determine which of these were preferred. This has informed areas of research, particularly research that is currently being conducted on student use of the environments and settings provided (both within and outside Blackboard) to investigate the impact of their use on student discussion and collaboration. 60
REFERENCES Anderson, T. (2003) `Getting the mix right again: An updated and theoretical rationale for interaction', The International Review of Research in Open and distance learning, vol. 4, no. 2. Retrieved from http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/149/230 Anderson, T., Annard, D. & Wark, N. (2005) `The search for learning community in learner paced distance education: Or, "Having your cake and eating it, too!"', Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, vol. 21, no. 2, pp222-241. Retrieved from http://search.informit.com.au.dbgw.lis.curtin.edu.au/fullText;dn=143720;res=AEIPT Berners-Lee, T. (1998) Web and Education. Retrieved from http://www.w3.org/People/Berners-Lee/FAQ.html Buraphadeja, V. & Dawson, K. (2008) `Content analysis in computer-mediated communications: analysing models for assessing critical thinking through the lens of social constructivism', American Journal of Distance Education, 22(3), 130-145. Retrieved from http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/title~db=all~content=g901474103~tab=toc~order =page Cambourne, B. (1988) The whole story: natural learning and the acquisition of literacy in the classroom. Ashton Scholastic Limited, New Zealand Carmean, C. & Haefner, J. (2002) `Mind over matter: transforming course management systems into effective learning environments', Educause Review, 37(6), pp. 26-34. Retrieved from http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ERM0261.pdf Chou, C. C. (2001) Model of learner-centred computer-mediated interaction for collaborative distance learning (Dissertation). Retrieved from http://courseweb.stthomas.edu/ccchou/triennial/Publications/IR021513_AECT2001.pdf Downes, S. (2010) Learning Networks and Connective Knowledge. Retrieved from http://www.engineering-science-reference.com/downloads/excerpts/34682.pdf Hill, J. R., Song, L., & West, R.E. (2009) `Social learning theory and web-based learning environments: A review of research and discussion of implications', American Journal of Distance Education, 23(2), 71-87. Retrieved from http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/ftinterface~db=all~content=a911230803~fulltext =713240930 Jafari, A., McGee, P. & Carmean, C (2006) `Managing courses, defining learning: what faculty, students, and administrators want. Educause Review, 41(4), pp. 50-70. Retrieved from http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ERM0643.pdf Macdonald, J. (2003) Assessing online collaborative learning: Process and product. Retrieved January 14, 2010, from http://www.sciencedirect.com.dbgw.lis.curtin.edu.au/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6 VCJ-483TC9M2&_user=41361&_rdoc=1&_fmt=&_orig=search&_sort=d&_docanchor=&view=c&_acct 61
=C000004498&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=41361&md5=2321e61ef161b7781c b49d489237c43c Moore, M. G. (1989) `Editorial: Three types of interaction', American Journal of Distance Education, 3(2), 1-7. Retrieved from http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/title~db=all~content=g915258512 Reisetter, M., LaPointe, L. & Korcuska, J. (2007) `The impact of altered realties: Implications of online delivery for learners' interactions, expectations, and learning skills', International Journal on E-Learning, vol. 6, no.1, pp55-80. Retrieved from http://www.editlib.org/p/6237. Rhode, J. F. (2009) `Interaction equivalency in self-paced online learning environments: An exploration of learner preferences', The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, vol. 10, no.1. Retrieved from http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/viewArticle/603/1178 Rovai, A. A. (2002) A preliminary look at the structural differences of higher education classroom communities in traditional and ALN courses. Retrieved from http://www.whateverproductions.net/Rovai-1.pdf So, H. & Brush, T. A. (2008) `student perceptions of collaborative learning, social presence and satisfaction in a blended learning environment: Relationships and critical factors', Computers & Education, 51(1), 318-336. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedirect.com.dbgw.lis.curtin.edu.au/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6 VCJ-4P8H8581&_user=41361&_rdoc=1&_fmt=&_orig=search&_sort=d&_docanchor=&view=c&_acct =C000004498&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=41361&md5=e318872f373565d2b1 d158630e733be1 Yang, S. C. & Liu, S. F. (2004) `Case study of online workshop for the professional development of teachers', Computers in Human Behaviour, vol 20, pp733-761. Retrieved from http://people.uncw.edu/caropresoe/EDN523/Teacher__OnlineProfDev_CS.pdf 62
Technology Enhanced Learning ­ Opportunity for Lifelong Learning and Enhancement of Under-Represented Groups Blazenka Divjak & Renata Horvatek Abstract Technology-enhanced learning is an excellent tool for increasing learning opportunities for under-represented groups as well as for stimulating lifelong learning. In this paper, we report on a strategy for e-learning that was adopted at the University of Zagreb in 2007 with special measures that were meant to enhance the retention of under-represented groups and the integration of lifelong learning into the teaching and learning process at the University. Further, we analyze the implementation and results that have been achieved three years after the strategy was adopted and the possible implications of these for the next planning period. In this paper, we present several pieces of research the results of which influenced the Strategy of E-learning of the Faculty of Organization and Informatics, and the impact of elearning on targeted groups of students. INTRODUCTION TO E-LEARNING STRATEGIES FOR ENHANCEMENT OF STUDENTS LEARNING Education inevitably changes persons' lives and consequently societies, and technology influences and changes education. And the cycle is closed. This cycle is a crucial factor when writing about the opportunities that technology-enhanced learning can bring to different under-represented groups of students. Technology-enhanced learning is an excellent tool for increasing learning opportunities for under-represented groups as well as for stimulating lifelong learning. The University of Zagreb E-Learning Strategy (2007­2010) states: "Elearning is a synonym for new, modern, quality education. E-learning technologies and information technologies in general, can and should act as a catalyst for integration processes within the University and be an efficient tool in the realisation of quality changes at the University of Zagreb, as well as in the implementation of the principles of the Bologna Declaration. E-learning is an integral part of higher education process".5 It is not only about making the learning content available on-line, or allowing students to take on-line courses and on-line examinations or self-examination but it is also about accessibility, about easier communication, about building better IT infrastructure. More than this, for a meaningful and quality implementation of e-learning at the institutional level certain requirements should be met: a research-based strategy of implementation, an implementation plan, a qualified and committed team responsible for implementation and quality assurance, education and training programmes for teachers, administrators and students. 5 University of Zagreb E-Learning Strategy (2007 ­ 2010) URL: http://www.unizg.hr/fileadmin/rektorat/dokumenti/eucenje_strategija/University_of_Zagreb-Elearning_strategy.pdf 63
UNIVERSITY OF ZAGREB E-LEARNING STRATEGY The University of Zagreb published the E-Learning Strategy in 2007, and in the year 2011, we expect its revision. It was developed and written under the supervision of the Committee for the Development of E-learning Strategy, which was composed of experts in different fields of education, but they all had expertise in some aspect of e-learning (tools, strategic leadership, implementation of blended learning, e-content, e-learning methodology). The question could be asked ­ why e-learning strategy so late ­ in 2007? It was a long process and the University of Zagreb was preparing for it over a long period. There were some obstacles to overcome ­ different levels of institutional readiness for the implementation of e-learning, different levels of IT infrastructure development in diverse faculties, and no less important ­ different levels of motivation and levels of knowledge among teaching staff in different faculties. One of the biggest challenges in implementing the strategy is the fact that the University of Zagreb is a decentralized university, which means that faculties have a high level of autonomy, despite article 53, paragraph 2 of the Act on Scientific Activity and Higher Education of the Republic of Croatia, where it is stated that "the University integrates the functions of its components, especially the faculties, academies and departments (...), and through their bodies ensures their uniform and concerted action in accordance with the strategic and development decisions on academic matters and on scientific research and profiling unique and concerted action in financial management and legal transactions, investments, development plans and in relation to international partners in research activities, and higher education."6 The University is administratively and financially centralized, but legally and, what is more important, in the minds of the people working or studying in different faculties is still very much decentralized. Faculties are also geographically dispersed ­ in Zagreb and across Croatia. The University of Zagreb consists of 30 faculties and three academies of arts, more than 7000 teaching and administrative staff are employed full-time and approximately 63,000 students are studying on three levels of study ­ undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate. Decentralization was not only the challenge; on the contrary, it was one of the reasons for implementing the e-learning strategy at university level ­ to bring faculties as well as institutions, academics and students closer. WHAT CAN THE IMPLEMENTATION OF E-LEARNING BRING TO THE UNIVERSITY? The Faculty of Organization and Informatics (FOI) implemented the E-learning strategy in the same year as the University. Actually, it was the leading faculty in this respect - it was the first faculty to implement the strategy using a top-down approach, by obliging teachers to 6 Act on Scientific Activity and Higher Education of the Republic of Croatia URL: http://narodnenovine.nn.hr/clanci/sluzbeni/306330.html (28. July 2010) 64
put their courses on-line, and also the leading institution in number of research projects and published papers related to the field of e-learning or fields close to the topic. These projects were conducted and their results were carefully consulted during the development of the FOI E-Learning strategy. Further, FOI also participated in the TEMPUS project EQUIBELT (Education Quality Improvement by E-learning Technology)7, which was for development of the e-learning strategy at the University level. Another important aspect for the successful implementation of e-learning was the LMS (Learning Management System) Moodle which the FOI Centre for applications development tested and adjusted to the needs of FOI courses and its blended teaching process, which combines face-to-face classes and on-line content and communication. We knew that other prerequisites had to be fulfilled for the full and meaningful application of e-learning: · 100% of students had their own computer · 99% of students had an internet connection at home · Wireless connection at the faculty for all When these criteria had been defined and, more importantly, when they had been achieved, we knew that we were on the way to making the strategy a reality. It could be concluded that FOI's e-learning implementation project was a pilot project and an example of best practice. Moreover, this approach has proved to be successful ­ pilot project and research, followed by a top-down strategy of implementation and adjusted according to the needs of courses and institutions. Here is a brief description of the implementation phases of e-learning at the Faculty of Organization and the University of Zagreb that can be used as an example of best practice. Inception phase carried out by the FOI team 1. Identification of LMS and standards It is important to choose the right learning management system. At FOI, it was decided to implement Moodle, which is an open-source application, and it was easily adjusted to FOI courses needs. Further, Moodle was chosen because it makes possible the application of elearning standards which facilitate easy transition to other LMS systems, and further it enables the application of accessibility standards that allow students with disabilities to access, use and publish e-content. 2. Example of best practice and dissemination To raise the motivation and competences of teachers and students, e-learning was promoted at different levels ­ to teachers, administrators and students. 7 TEMPUS EQUIBLET project URL: http://eqibelt.srce.hr/ 65
3. Research (e-learning, gender issues, students' satisfaction with e-learning) FOI academics have published more than twenty papers on the topic of e-learning or similar fields. When we indicate other fields, we are thinking of topics that are close to access and equity. This is why it was important for us to examine students' individual learning styles, and students' satisfaction with e-learning. Students already enrolled in some on-line courses (Mathematics) were targeted as respondents. B. Implementation phase (FOI) 1. Training of teaching and non-teaching staff To make sure that the institution's collective will embraced e-learning, the institution's management had to make training and education available for its employees. At FOI, teachers and assistants were obliged to participate in training programmes organized in several different groups. Further, a help desk was available for all employees after they had completed the training. FOI has supported several assistants and young researchers in enrolling in the E-learning Academy in order to gain comprehensive knowledge and competences in e-learning. 2. Advocacy at the University and national level Advocacy can be carried out in different ways, more or less formal. There are other institutions working closely with Croatian HE institutions which had the role of promoting elearning on different levels: the Croatian Academic and Research Network (Carnet ­ http://www.carnet.hr) and the University Computing Centre (SRCE ­ http://www.srce.hr). At the university level, as already mentioned, the Commission for the Development of Elearning Strategy was established by decision of the University Senate, with the main task of developing the University's strategy that would be approved and adopted by all University institutions (faculties, institutes and art academies). 3. Strategy of the University of Zagreb The E-learning Strategy of the University of Zagreb was discussed and approved by the Senate of the University of Zagreb on June 12, 2007. It can be accessed on-line on the University of Zagreb web pages. 4. Three levels of blended e-learning implemented at FOI (100 % of all courses) To ensure 100 % on-line courses, the most important step is to motivate the teachers to actually develop and publish e-content. FOI decided to apply a top-down approach and all teachers were obliged to publish the main information material and course content on-line ­ as level 1. Level 2 courses had implemented forums and discussion boards, on-line materials, 66
self-examination etc. Level 3 courses had implemented simulations and used different media for e-content. C. Evaluation phase at University level 1. Students' survey To evaluate the blended learning system, students taking on-line courses were asked to take part in the students' survey. It is important that the end users are satisfied and, more than this, that they show greater motivation for learning and that the rate of success rises with the implementation of e-learning. All these tendencies have been confirmed by the survey. 2. Standards ­ open-source, interoperability, accessibility Standards should be taken into consideration in all phases of e-learning implementation: during the development of infrastructure, during the development of the LMS application or application and the development of the e-content. This is important not only for accessibility but also to enhance interoperability. 3. Quality assurance Lastly but most importantly, the quality of the process, of the system and of the content are crucial for success. So far, during the process of inception, implementation and evaluation we have learned that e-learning contributes to the quality of the educational process and to the quality of the learning outcomes. The positive side of that educational process is its flexibility and adaptability. Further, it is an educational process that is accessible to wider groups of students ­ students with special needs, students living in distant areas, international students, etc. It enables a better understanding of learning outcomes by employers, which is also one of the very important positive assumptions related to the implementation of elearning. Besides the positive aspects, we are still facing some issues: Standards should be applied in accordance with the special needs of students, teachers and predefined learning outcomes Extra resources (financial, human, infrastructure) are needed in the implementation phase How to raise motivation for using e-learning tools ­ teaching staff, non-teaching staff, students The quality of the digital content and the professional development of the staff. 67
Nevertheless, the strategy is a foundation for planning, determining objectives and procedures, and defining indicators of success. It has been shown in many instances that the mix of bottom-up and top-down approaches in implementing e-learning at the institutional level produces the best results (the needs of particular courses and groups of students are respected but standards and procedures are brought in and adopted at the institutional level). E-LEARNING AND UNDER-REPRESENTED GROUPS "The digital era should be about empowerment and emancipation; background or skills should not be a barrier to accessing this potential"8 It should be added that no one should be excluded from the digital era and that education has a crucial role to overcome the digitally divided groups. One of the important objectives of the Digital Agenda for Europe is "...to facilitate by 2012, in cooperation with Member States and relevant stakeholders, a Memorandum of Understanding on Digital Access for persons with disabilities in compliance with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities". There are not many policies or strategies that blend e-learning and under-represented groups "A common feature of the policy texts was few specific strategies for disadvantaged and under-represented groups. In a majority of policy documents, there was little or no reference to such groups and even fewer evaluations that specifically focused on disadvantaged groups.9 (Brown, et al., 2007) The benefits of using technology-enhanced learning for under-represented groups are recognized in following higher education and e-learning policy documents or institutional missions: "E-learning Strategy of the University of Zagreb", "Equitable access, Success and Quality in Higher Education: A Policy Statement by the International Association of Universities"10, "European Foundation for Quality in E-learning"11. E-LEARNING AND UNDER-REPRESENTED GROUPS AT FOI "The availability of a wide range of assistive technology makes it possible for individuals with almost any type of disability to gain access to computers and telecommunication technologies (Carlson, Ehrlich, Berland & Bailey, 2001; Closing the Gap, 2004)"12. When implementing e-learning and applying e-learning standards, it is crucial to identify the groups 8 The Digital Agenda for Europe, European Commission, May 2010 (URL: http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/digital-agenda/index_en.htm) 9 Brown, M. et al. (2007), E-learning policy issues: Global trends, themes and tensions, ASCILITE proceedings, Singapore, 2007 (URL: http://www.ascilite.org.au/conferences/singapore07/procs/brown.pdf) 10 Equitable access, Success and Quality in Higher Education: A Policy Statement by the International Association of Universities, URL: http://www.iau-aiu.net/p_statements/index.html 11 European Foundation for Quality in E-learning, URL: http://www.qualityfoundation.org/ 12 S. Burgstahler et al. (2004), Making distance learning courses accessible to students and instructors with disabilities: A case study, Internet and Higher Education 7 , pp 233­246 68
of students that have special needs so that they can actually benefit and, what is more important, so that they can achieve better results using e-learning possibilities. At FOI, we have identified 4 groups of students and recognized the benefits for them: 1. Students with disabilities ­ mobility, visual, medical · Accessibility 2. Part time students ­ adult learners, students in a preparation semester · Flexible learning 3. Female students in the ICT field · Research on gender issues in ICT and the empowerment of female students 4. External teaching staff from EU and worldwide, and international students · Internationalization of study programmes and e-content in different languages In connection with accessibility standards, at the Faculty of Organization of Informatics we are considering the web content accessible standards WCAG2 and UK web accessibility standards UK 2A. When implementing the standards, several aspects need to be taken into account: the necessary infrastructure, interfaces, methodology and, last but not least, econtent. Although 100% of FOI courses are on-line (all have fulfilled level 1 requirements), only 60% are aligned with digital content accessibility standards for visually impaired or blind persons. "While many e-learning researchers have long advocated that VLEs (Virtual Learning Environments) should be interactive environments where students complete tasks and activities rather than simply access content, it is fair to say that many teachers are lured into using VLEs or course management systems as a document repository. Materials such as PowerPoint presentations, lecture notes and essential readings seem to be the obvious contenders for uploading onto the learning platform. A typical course in any HEI will inevitably become an electronic file store for materials, which previously were included in course handbooks or given out in the classroom."13 The digital library project at FOI, where librarians, students with disabilities, educational assistants and other students involved in developing content and scanning textbooks and other teaching materials and resources, is a recent innovation. One of the biggest issues related to e-learning content and digital libraries is copyright that is not regulated at either the national or the institutional level. This issue is not solely Croatian, but copyright for digital content for eLearning is a topic of discussion in EU higher education institutions and wider. Educational assistants at the Faculty of Organization and Informatics Even if all the standards are implemented, considering different types of disabilities or special needs of students facing challenges in the learning process, educational assistants 13 Secker, J. (2010), Copyright and E-learning: A guide for practitioners, Facet Publishing; London (URL: http://www.facetpublishing.co.uk/title.php?id=665-7) 69
can be of great help, and this is why the Faculty of Organization and Informatics has started a pilot project with educational assistants. This project is partially supported by the Varazdin County Government. Educational assistants are students who help others with some type of physical disability. Their main role is to help students with disabilities during lectures and seminars, scanning textbooks for blind or visually impaired students, and during preparations and learning for exams. They are not only assistants but also become friends and it has been shown that both the educational assistants and students with disabilities benefit from this student partnership. CASE STUDY "MATHEMATICS ON MOODLE" AND RESEARCH SUPPORTING THE IMPLEMENTATION OF TECHNOLOGY-ENHANCED LEARNING At the Faculty of Organization and Informatics, several challenges were identified that influenced the relatively high drop-out rate in the first year Mathematics course before the restructuring and implementation of e-learning. These were: 1. Large heterogeneous student groups, 2. Low level of students' pre-knowledge, 3. Low motivation of students for learning mathematics, 4. Low achievement in learning outcomes within the prescribed semester. The paper "Enhancing Mathematics for Informatics and its correlation with student pass rates" (Divjak, B., Erjavec, Z., 2008) examined how "the innovations that were introduced in the following areas: content, methodology of teaching and learning, examination methods and support for students" influenced "student pass rates and levels of student satisfaction"14. The results showed that "changes resulted in a significant increase in student pass rates and levels of student satisfaction"15. That was a good indicator how e-learning and a shift to a student-centred approach of teaching can increase the motivation and success of the students. However even after the first phase of restructuring but before the implementation of elearning the above challenges remained with an additional one: 5. High drop-out rates of some underrepresented groups of students (part-time students, adult learners, students with disabilities). Further, there was a very heavy workload for professors and teaching assistants. 14 B. Divjaka, Z. Erjavec (2008), Enhancing Mathematics for Informatics and its correlation with student pass rates, International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology, Volume 39, Issue 1, pp 23 33 15 Ibid. 70
In Table 1 strategies in blended teaching and learning processes that have been used in order to help to overcome issues that teachers and students faced in traditional face-to-face Mathematics classes.
Table 1 Strategies in blended learning approaches to overcome challenges
Challenge
Strategy in blended e-learning to deal with it
Large heterogeneous student
· Continuous monitoring, recording and all guidelines
groups; heavy workload of teachers
available in LMS Moodle
· (Self)evaluation database with exercises
· Forum with information and for communication
· Survey on satisfaction with on-line work
Low level of pre-knowledge
· Evaluation of pre-knowledge, feed-back to students with recommendations how to overcome identified gaps · Student tutors (on ­line peer tutoring and face-to-face tutoring), · Additional material available in Moodle for individual learning
Low motivation of students for learning mathematics
· Students of ICT like technology and therefore in the most cases like LMS and the mathematical software we introduced · Different learning styles ­ presentations, animations having in mind the earning styles of students and teachers · Different motivations taken into account (goal-oriented students appreciate guidelines how to pass the course quickly; learning-oriented ones welcome references for further learning; relationship-oriented ones enjoy working in groups etc.)
Low achievement in learning outcomes within prescribed semester
· Enhancement of the methodology of teaching and learning by clear implementation of taxonomies of learning outcomes · Exercises and additional activities available in Moodle ­ examples and homework
High drop-out rates of some underrepresented groups of students (part-time students, adult learners, students with disabilities)
· Teaching materials available on line · Communication enhanced by forums and e-mails · Digitalized material for visually impaired students
Two recent studies conducted by FOI academics posed the following questions and from the responses received concluded that e-learning was without doubt the way forward. 1. Is the evaluation of the innovative learning strategy in mathematics positive as regards retention? 71
The results show that pass rates have risen significantly. However, female students always have higher pass rates than males. 2. Is there a difference in mathematical pre-knowledge between female and male students? There is no significant gender difference respecting number of hours of mathematics a week in secondary schools, and there is no significant difference in knowledge of mathematics for female and male students as measured by the entrance test. 3. Are female students underperforming in mathematics when studying ICT?16 By the end of the academic year 2006-2007, the overall pass rate for mathematics 1 was 60.56%, but for female students the pass rate was 72.73% and for their male peers 57.97%. 4. Are there gender differences in the students' perspective related to the learning environment?17 Female students are slightly more satisfied with content, teaching methods, the computers available in the faculty, literature available in faculty library, but they are less satisfied than their male peers with the level of communication with teachers and the e-learning system Moodle. However, the results showed also that the level of expectation of female students was lower than that of male students. Since 2003, when innovation in teaching methodology was introduced in the Mathematics course, an anonymous students' survey is conducted at the end of semester and students' satisfaction studied. After each survey, some improvements were introduced, and the students' feedback was positive, as Graph 1 shows. 16 See in: Divjak, B. et al., (2010) Sustainable student retention and gender issues in mathematics for ICT study, International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology, Volume 41, Issue 3, pp 293 - 310 17 See in: Ibid. 72
4
3
2009
2007
2
2005
2003
1
0
1
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5
Graph 1 Survey results
CONCLUSION Technology can make education more accessible, has the power to bring students and teachers closer together, can make students more open and enhances communication between students and teachers. Technology can make the administration, grading and feedback more transparent and easier to handle for administrators, teachers and students. E-learning can make studying flexible for part-time students and distance students. But what is most important ­ technology demands that institutions, teachers, administrators change, change teaching methodology, learning and communication, become more studentoriented, listen to students' needs and answer the challenges of the digital era that we have created. Further, we should always be aware that there are groups that might be left behind and, as educators; it is our role to make knowledge accessible to all groups of students. Finally, all the necessary changes in attitudes cannot be achieved without the commitment of the institution commitment to new paradigm and without a clear strategy how to make it feasible and sustainable.
73
REFERENCES Act on Scientific Activity and Higher Education of the Republic of Croatia URL: http://narodne-novine.nn.hr/clanci/sluzbeni/306330.html (retrived: 28th July 2010) Brown, M. et al. (2007), E-learning policy issues: Global trends, themes and tensions, ASCILITE proceedings, Singapore, 2007 (URL: http://www.ascilite.org.au/conferences/singapore07/procs/brown.pdf) Burgstahler, S et al. (2004), Making distance learning courses accessible to students and instructors with disabilities: A case study, Internet and Higher Education 7, pp 233­246 Divjaka, B., Erjavec, Z. (2008), Enhancing Mathematics for Informatics and its correlation with student pass rates, International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology, Volume 39, Issue 1, pp 23 ­ 33 Divjak, B. et al., (2010) Sustainable student retention and gender issues in mathematics for ICT study, International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology, Volume 41, Issue 3, pp 293 - 310 Equitable access, Success and Quality in Higher Education: A Policy Statement by the International Association of Universities, URL: http://www.iauaiu.net/p_statements/index.html (retrieved: 20th May 2010) European Foundation for Quality in E-learning, URL: http://www.qualityfoundation.org/ (retrieved: 20th July 2010) Secker, J. (2010), Copyright and E-learning: A guide for practitioners, Facet Publishing; London (URL: http://www.facetpublishing.co.uk/title.php?id=665-7) TEMPUS EQUIBLET project URL: http://eqibelt.srce.hr/ The Digital Agenda for Europe, European Commission, May 2010, URL: http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/digital-agenda/index_en.htm (retrieved: 10th June 2010) University of Zagreb E-Learning Strategy (2007 ­ 2010), URL: http://www.unizg.hr/fileadmin/rektorat/dokumenti/eucenje_strategija/University_of_Z agreb-E-learning_strategy.pdf (retrieved: 20th May 2010) 74
Firm Foundations for the Future in a Knowledge-Based Global Economy: an Australian Perspective on Access Education Christopher M. Klinger Abstract Internationally, a well-educated population is considered essential for social and economic well-being and a recent Australian government review called for greater participation in higher education (HE) to maintain Australia's competitiveness in a knowledge-based global economy. A core component of the University of South Australia's equity mission and participation strategy, which responds to global economic factors, is its Foundation Studies access/enabling program, the development of which is outlined here. The participation of students is discussed, including consideration of their performance both during and after their access education experience, when they transition to undergraduate programs in which their performance and retention rates compare favourably with those of students who enter university via any other means. This successful strategy for building capacity and increasing HE participation demonstrates that socio-economic and educational disadvantage can be overcome and emphasizes the value of investing in firm foundations for the future. INTRODUCTION In the last decade or so globalization and emphasis on the market economy has put enormous pressure on higher education institutions, with many universities being radically transformed. Their traditional role as keepers and dispensers of knowledge, as places to cultivate the minds of the elite minority who were able to gain access, is rapidly giving way to new and increasing demands to produce a better educated, more highly skilled workforce as a consequence of globalization ­ driven by market economics and the need for societies to gain and maintain competitive advantages on the world stage. Internationally, a welleducated population is now considered `essential for the social and economic well-being of countries and individuals' (OECD, 2008, p. 30). In order to meet this need there has been a massive expansion in higher education as nations move from an elite to a mass system, or even, in some cases, a near universal system of higher education (Moodie, 2006; Trow, 2006). Among the themes and objectives for the 19th EAN Conference were the following questions: · Is an access mission commensurate with a free market ideology? · Is an enterprise culture a threat to greater equity in higher education for underrepresented groups? · Are enterprise and equity compatible? · How will access be funded in the market economy? 75
The intent of this paper is to provide a response to these questions from the particular perspective of the approach to access education followed by the University of South Australia (UniSA), which is of course set against the background of the broader Australian context in addressing and responding to globalization. THE AUSTRALIAN CONTEXT In a recent government review of Australian Higher Education, the so-called Bradley Review (Bradley, Noonan, Nugent, and Scales, 2008), it was observed that 20 years ago Australia was one of the first countries to restructure to enable wider participation in higher education. The results of those changes made it a leader internationally in the movement from elite to mass systems. Today, however, there is a growing knowledge divide and Australia is losing ground. Within the OECD, it is now ninth out of thirty in the proportion of its citizens in the 25 to 34-year age group with tertiary qualifications, down from seventh a decade ago. This has highlighted, with a sense of urgency, the need for Australia to increase the proportion of its population with a university degree and the Bradley Review emphasized the critical importance of widening participation in higher education in order for the country to remain competitive in a knowledge-based global economy: Australia needs to harness the potential of all capable students to contribute to society and the economy. Actively encouraging and facilitating entry into higher education for people from groups who are currently under-represented is vital (Bradley et al., 2008, p. 10). In such a climate, building demand for higher education is crucial since, in an ageing population, there is a diminishing supply of school-leaver entrants to higher education. The Australian Government responded to the Bradley Review by setting a target that 40% of 25to-34 year-olds would have at least a bachelors degree by the end of the decade. This is in contrast with the current attainment rate of 29%. Of particular interest for access education is that `second chance' opportunities will be increasingly important for those who left school without qualifying for university entry. Typically, these are people from low socio-economic backgrounds and so another target for increasing the proportion of people from low SES backgrounds enrolling in higher education at undergraduate level from 16% to 20% within the next decade (Gillard, 2009.). Of particular significance in the Australian Government's response to the Bradley Review is the increased funding allocated in the 2009 Federal Budget to support the new participation targets, especially with respect to those from low socioeconomic backgrounds. A low SES loading of $325 million has been allocated for the period 2009-2012. This represents 2% of Teaching and Learning funds in 2010, increasing to 4% in 2012, a tenfold increase from the current allocation of approximately $100 for every low SES student to around $1,000 per capita in 2012. The targeted funding, based on actual enrolments of low SES students, confirms the Government's commitments to its new widening participation targets. Importantly, all universities will be required to address these 76
national targets through the new Higher Education Compacts being negotiated with each university. In such a policy context, the role of enabling and other preparatory programs will become increasingly important. ACCESS EDUCATION AT UniSA The legislation by which the University of South Australia was founded carries a mandate `to provide such tertiary education programmes as the University thinks appropriate to meet the needs of groups within the community that the University considers have suffered disadvantages in education' (Government of South Australia, 1990). Thus, the University's equity mission is unequivocal and it is embedded in all aspects of institutional planning, review and quality assurance processes, and UniSA's Teaching and Learning Framework. From its beginnings, the University has been acknowledged for its work in student equity, and particularly for the diversity of its admissions policies and entry pathways (Ramsay, Tranter, Sumner and Barratt, 1996). Recognised nationally and internationally for leadership in distance education and flexible learning, UniSA is the largest provider of distance education in South Australia. It also has a strong history of articulation and credit transfer arrangements with TAFE and other VET providers (Ramsay, Tranter, Sumner and Kain, 1997). Before 2006, the University offered several distinct preparatory programs that included the credit-bearing Diploma in University Studies, bridging programs that provided entry pathways for students in science, engineering, and information technology disciplines, and a bridging program specifically for regional students at the University's Whyalla campus in the mid-north of the State, bordering Australia's vast desert region. Following a review instigated by the Vice-Chancellor in 2004, it was determined that the University's equity mission would be better served by a single, institution-wide preparatory program to replace the previous four. The result, building on its long history of delivering enabling (i.e. access), preparation and bridging programs, saw UniSA establish its Foundation Studies program in 2006. The Australian Government provides funding for this form of access/enabling education so that no student financial contribution is required ­ that is, for students it is fee-free. For students who do not meet the University's standard entry criteria, Foundation Studies is a pathway to any of UniSA's undergraduate degrees, providing first-chance opportunities for those who have experienced educational disadvantage and second-chance opportunities for those who made earlier life decisions not to enter higher education. More than this, however, it enables students, not just by providing access but also by actively preparing them for success in their future undergraduate studies. Importantly, though, Foundation Studies students are full students of the University in every respect, in what might be regarded as a 'Year 0', and they have the opportunity to gain an immersive university experience so that they may begin their subsequent undergraduate careers feeling `at home' in the University culture and its academic, social and geographical landscapes. Foundation Studies is also delivered via a `sister' program, termed the `University of South Australia Preparation 77
Program for Adult Learners' (UniSA-PAL), which is conducted at a number of adult entry colleges and campuses in a unique partnership between UniSA and the South Australian Department of Education and Children's Services (DECS) ­ the government department responsible for primary and secondary education in the State. Rather than adopting a `one size fits all' approach, Foundation Studies is offered in six strands, five of which correspond to the University's major discipline areas, with the sixth catering to students at regional (i.e. non-metropolitan/country) campuses. To accommodate this array of options and opportunities, the program consists of a total of seventeen courses that are provided by a number of Schools across the University, with all students required to complete eight courses appropriate to their strand. All students undertake a set of core courses for the program as a whole, such as `Introduction to Tertiary Learning', `Critical Literacy' and `Introductory Computing'. These reflect a deliberate focus on the development of generic academic and study skills that also anticipate the graduate qualities that the University seeks as outcomes for its undergraduates. In addition, students undertake strandspecific, discipline-related core courses, and elective courses that align with their intended degree-level pursuits. Where appropriate, they can apply for credit for up to four courses via recognition of prior learning (RPL) for relevant vocational studies, partial completion of other access/enabling programs, or Year 12 studies. Flexible study options are an integral part of UniSA's Teaching and Learning Framework and this extends to the Foundation Studies program, which may be undertaken full- or part-time in internal or external modes of study (or any combination), supported by a suite of on-line learning facilities. PARTICIPATION RATES ­ ACCESS AND EQUITY The start of Foundation Studies in 2006 saw almost a doubling of enrolments from the combined total of the previous four programs in 2005 with 295 enrolments for an equivalent full-time student load (EFTSL) of 194.6 compared to previous averages of 167 enrolments and 78.3 EFTSL over the years 2003-2005. The program continues to experience strong demand, with enrolments in 2010 increasing by some 50% over the previous year. Foundation Studies has made a significant contribution to the University's equity mission to provide higher education opportunities for people who have experienced educational disadvantage. A key performance indicator for equity at UniSA is the percentage of Australian students enrolled with one or more equity characteristics. Over 2006-2008, an average of 57.3% of Foundation Studies students came from at least one of several nationally defined targeted equity groups, compared to the 42.5% average for the total UniSA student population. As Table 1 (below) illustrates, for most of the designated equity groups (Indigenous (ATSI), Disability, Isolated, Low socioeconomic status (SES), Non-English speaking backgrounds (NESB), and Rural), the access and participation rates for Foundation Studies are substantially greater than the corresponding University-wide rates, particularly for students from low SES, rural and non-English speaking backgrounds. The exceptions have been, 78
marginally, for Indigenous and Isolated participants in most years, largely due to an anomaly that makes access/enabling programs ineligible for Federal Indigenous Tutorial Assistance Scheme (ITAS) funds, which has meant that the University's Indigenous support staff have been reluctant to advise Indigenous students into Foundation Studies.
ATSI Disability I solated LowSES NESB Rural
Table 1 Access and Participation rates
Access
2006 2007 2008
Foundation Studies
7.9% 1.0% 1.5%
University
1.5% 1.1% 1.4%
Foundation Studies
9.7% 11.6% 10.1%
University
5.4% 5.5% 5.4%
Foundation Studies
1.4% 0.0% 0.5%
University
1.1% 0.9% 1.0%
Foundation Studies
39.7% 43.2% 39.2%
University
24.2% 25.5% 25.5%
Foundation Studies
7.6% 8.5% 5.0%
University
3.0% 3.4% 3.7%
Foundation Studies
17.2% 23.1% 28.6%
University
12.9% 13.5% 14.1%
Participation 2006 2007 2008 7.9% 0.8% 1.2% 1.5% 1.4% 1.4% 9.9% 11.8% 13.1% 7.0% 7.1% 7.2% 1.4% 0.0% 0.4% 1.1% 1.0% 1.0% 39.4% 41.1% 36.9% 24.2% 24.8% 25.0% 7.5% 11.0% 6.5% 3.0% 3.2% 3.4% 17.1% 20.7% 26.5% 12.7% 12.7% 12.8%
While the antecedent programs had strong equity profiles too, representation of most equity groups is generally stronger in Foundation Studies, indicating that the program has been most effective in providing second-chance opportunities to access higher education for people who have experienced educational disadvantage. STUDENT PERFORMANCE The performance of students in Foundation Studies, as with its antecedents, reflects the role of the program as both preparatory and exploratory for those without prior qualifications. Across Australia (and elsewhere) success, retention and completion rates for access programs have always been well below the sector average (DETYA, 2001; Ramsay, 2004). An early report on the attrition of students in UniSA's (superseded) Diploma in University Studies found that 80% of those who withdrew did so not because of difficulties with their studies per se but because of pressures in trying to combine study with family and employment responsibilities (Ramsay, Tranter, Sumner and Barrett, 1996). While there has been no comparable recent study, on the basis of anecdotal evidence it is generally considered that the result continues to hold true. On average, in any year some 50% of students in the Foundation Studies program are aged 25 years or older, compared to 31.5% 79
(2008 statistic) of those undertaking bachelor-level degree studies, suggesting that family and employment commitments are likely to impact on access students more than on undergraduate students generally. Success rates for Foundation Studies students reflect in part the great diversity within this category of students. The rates must be regarded very carefully and in the proper context ­ it is neither possible nor appropriate to make direct comparisons with the success rates for undergraduate students (although some in the University naively try to do so). For one thing, the fact that there are no fees for students means there is no incentive for students to formally withdraw from the program so they stay on the books as `Fails', skewing success statistics unfavourably. More importantly, however, direct comparisons are inappropriate by virtue of the very different nature and purpose of access education, which is to allow people with no entry qualifications to prepare for university study. Some will find that university study is not for them; others will need additional time to be fully prepared, and still others will find that life will get in the way of study. Of course, this is countered by the observation that the students who do successfully complete their programs and transition to undergraduate degree work signify a substantial number of new undergraduate students who would not otherwise have gained access to higher education nor have been well prepared to succeed in that further endeavour. At UniSA, we have found that most students who do not succeed have withdrawn from engagement and participation. As Ramsay and colleagues found (1996), the vast majority of students who withdraw do so for reasons not directly related to study and, where their withdrawal signals an informed, adult decision that university is not for them, I contend that this can be considered as a form of success: the equity objective has been served in that people who otherwise may have been denied the opportunity to attempt university study have now had that chance. Moreover, some of the students who withdraw subsequently return later to make a successful attempt. Thus, it is estimated that of the 45-50% who `fail to succeed', only around 10% do so after persisting in their efforts to finish the programs. This suggests that the `actual' (or academic) failure rate ­ that is, computed for those who persist to completion ­ may not be too dissimilar from undergraduate rates. Further evidence to support the above argument and interpretation is provided by considering how successful Foundation Studies and UniSA-PAL students perform following their transition into undergraduate degree studies. These students gain entry into an impressive array of undergraduate degree programs at UniSA (and at other HE institutions), ranging from a spectrum of Arts and Humanities degrees through to programs in Business, Commerce, Education, Behavioural Science, Medical Radiation, Nursing and Midwifery, Law, and the Sciences ­ a definitive list is too long to enumerate here. Figure 1 shows distributions of students' undergraduate Grade Point Averages (GPAs) for those who enter via Foundation Studies (MFFS) and UniSA-PAL as well as for those who were admitted by all other entry pathways (GPAs of 1.5 and below were discarded as these outlying values are 80
considered to be due to students who did not persist in their programs and this study is concerned with comparing the performance of continuing/active students). Figure 1 Comparison of undergraduate GPAs by method of entry A comparison of these distributions shows that those admitted via our access/enabling programs have on average a higher mean GPA (4.90) than those admitted by other methods of entry (4.74). Statistical analysis (one-tail t-test for significance in mean difference) of the data in Figure 1 reveals that the higher average GPA for former Foundation Studies & UniSAPAL students in undergraduate programs is statistically significant at a level above the 95% confidence level (see Table 2). This provides very strong evidence that the observed difference in the means is a real effect ­ that is, transitioned Foundation Studies and UniSAPAL students are significantly more likely to have a higher undergraduate GPA. No statistical analysis is needed to note the significance of the considerably greater difference in mean GPA found by comparing the performance of access students with those admitted via the STAT (the `Special Tertiary Admissions Test ­ a 2-hour academic competency test). The latter have an average undergraduate GPA of 3.8, clearly much lower than that of the access students, suggesting that access programs have an important role to play in preparing adult entrants for university, not just getting them `through the door'. While a greater number of 81
students are currently admitted through the STAT, many of them appear not to be prepared for the challenges of university study.
Table 2 One-tail t-test for significance of mean GPA differences
Mean GPA Std dev n Significance (p-value)
All entry 4.74 0.9306 112380 0.031 i.e. 3.1%
Foundation Studies & UniSA-PAL 4.90 0.9362 131
This latter observation is reflected in the retention rates; the University-wide retention rate for undergraduates is typically around 85% while for STAT entrants it is about 70%. In contrast, former access/enabling students tend to have the highest retention rate, at some 90% ­ more evidence that the access education provided by the Foundation Studies and UniSA-PAL programs prepares students effectively for future success at university, going beyond merely providing an alternate pathway. CONCLUSION Many of the people who will become the focus of the new participation targets will not qualify for university through the usual pathways and will need to be encouraged to consider university entry as adult entrants, often without Year 12 qualifications. These students are likely to require various forms of access/enabling education. Of even greater importance to enabling educators is the target to increase the proportion of enrolments from low socioeconomic backgrounds. Considering the very low rates of Year 12 completion amongst secondary students from low SES backgrounds, the low levels of achievement amongst far too many of those who do attempt Year 12, and the stubborn persistence of low SES participation rates over the last 20 years (James, 2008), universities will have to work extremely hard in attempting to reach this target. At a time when universities are being asked to increase participation levels while school leaver numbers are stable or declining, building demand for higher education amongst low SES populations will become crucial. The sector will not be able to rely on school leavers alone and `second chance' opportunities will be increasingly important for those people who have left school in the past (and will do so in the future) without qualifying for university entry. Some of these people may have attempted Year 12 but failed to gain an adequate entry score but many will be several years away from formal education and may have only completed a year or two, or less, of secondary education. Such students will be significantly under-prepared for university and
82
will need the support of programs that not only provide opportunities to access higher education but also actively prepare them for success in their future undergraduate studies. Returning to the questions posed at the 19th EAN Conference, the success and growth of the UniSA Foundation Studies program, which has taken place largely in a global economic climate in crisis, demonstrates unequivocally that an access mission can be commensurate with a free market ideology. Moreover, rather than an enterprise culture being a threat to greater equity in higher education for under-represented groups, the Australian experience indicates quite the opposite ­ for one thing, it has triggered a tenfold increase in funding to support attainment of higher participation targets. Since the drivers for this emphasis on widening participation in Australia are globalization and the market economy, it is apparent that enterprise and equity are not incompatible. Notwithstanding the emphasis on profit and privatisation in the presence of such economic forces, the Australian Government has recognised the need to maintain, and increase, investment to fund access to higher education. The effectiveness and success of the University of South Australia's Foundation Studies and UniSA-PAL programs demonstrate clearly not only that socioeconomic and educational disadvantage can be overcome but that `second chance' does not in any way imply `second rate' ­ quite the reverse; many of those who enter higher education by such non-traditional pathways as ours will go on to become some of their institution's highest achieving students and graduates. That is surely a substantial dividend for enterprise. 83
REFERENCES
Bradley, D., Noonan, P., Nugent, H., & Scales, B., (2008), Review of Australian Higher
Education: Final Report. Canberra: DEEWR.
DETYA (2001). The Enabling Program, a report compiled as the basis for national consultation
on enabling programs using data drawn from DETYA statistics and the unpublished EIP
report "The Cost Effectiveness of Enabling and Related Programs in Australian Tertiary
Education" by Clarke et al, completed in 2000, Canberra.
Gillard, J. (2009). Speech to Australian Financial Review ­ Higher Education Conference
Ministerial Keynote Address, Australian Financial Review Higher Education Conference,
Sydney, 9 March. Canberra: Parliament of Australia. Retrieved on 5 September 2009
from
Government of South Australia, (1990). University of South Australia Act 1990. Retrieved on
28 August 2009 from
James, R. (2008). Participation and Equity: A Review of the participation in higher education
of people from low socioeconomic backgrounds and Indigenous people. Melbourne:
Universities Australia and Centre for the Study of Higher Education.
Moodie, G. (2006). Research to Excellence, On-line Opinion. Retrieved on 5 October 2008
from
Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, (2008). Education at a Glance
2008: OECD Indicators. OECD. Retrieved 5 September 2009 from

Ramsay, E. (2004). A new pathway for adult learners: evaluation of a school-university access
pilot. DEST, Evaluations and Investigations Program. Canberra: AGPS. Retrieved 13
August
2009
from
/publications_resources/profiles/new_pathway_for_adult_learners.htm>
Ramsay, E., Tranter, D., Sumner, R., and Barrett, S. (1996) Outcomes of a University's Flexible
Admissions Policies. DEST, Evaluations and Investigations Program. Canberra: AGPS.
Ramsay, E., Tranter, D., Kain, M. and Sumner, R. (1997) Cross Sectoral Linkages: A Case Study,
DEST, Evaluations and Investigations Program. Canberra: AGPS.
Trow, M. (2006). Reflections on the Transition from Elite to Mass to Universal Access: Forms
and Phases of Higher Education in Modern Societies since WWII. In J. Forest & P. Altbach
(eds.) International Handbook of Higher Education, pp. 243-280. Netherlands: Springer.
84
UBC Okanagan's Aboriginal Access Studies Program: Opening Doors to Student and Institutional Success Adrienne Vedan, Teresa Flanagan, Grisel Garcнa Pйrez, Abstract The Aboriginal Access Studies Program (AASP) was launched at UBC Okanagan in 2007. This program allows Aboriginal students to register in university-level courses without enrolling in a degree program or undergoing the University's standard admission process. This paper gives a brief description of AAS, reports how UBC Okanagan has decreased the barriers to participation of Aboriginal students in post-secondary education and presents new pragmatic and realistic approaches our institution has taken to increase access for international students. INTRODUCTION Funding constraints coupled with reduced enrolment predictions have caused significant pressure on tertiary educational institutions. At the same time, Canada's government has called on institutions to increase their service and programming to indigenous people, creating an environment in which the largest youth population in the country can, over the next decade or so, be trained to fill the shortage of skilled workers at all levels of Canadian society. Historically, Aboriginal education in Canada has been deeply scarred by the federal government's former colonialist policies and the effects of these policies are still felt today in Aboriginal communities. With the enactment of the 1867 British North America Act, Canada was given the authority to administer Aboriginal affairs, including education. To solidify this authority, the Indian Act was passed in 1876, which has provided the legal basis for federal administration of Aboriginal affairs to the present-day (Friders, James 1993 p. 173). "Indian residential schools became the primary federal policy instrument for the assimilation of Indian children in Canada (Stonechild 2006 p.20). Starting in 1920, the policy became mandatory and residential school attendance for all Aboriginal children was enforced by Indian agents and police officers, whereby children were forcibly removed from their families. By 1965, the Department of Indian Affairs began the process of closing down residential schools (Stonechild 2006 p.40). The last of the federally run residential schools closed in 1996 in Saskatchewan and two years afterwards, the Assembly of First Nations established the Indian Residential Schools Resolution Unit. Ten years later, the Federal government apologized for past governments' policies of assimilation and the creation of the residential school system. 85
In Canada, oone of the most significant barriers to the participation of Aboriginal students in post-secondary education is the need to qualify with academic course grades. Demand for a program supporting access to higher education can be seen in the continued low percentage of Aboriginal high school graduates, admission rates of Aboriginal applicants to UBC and Aboriginal population growth. The number of Aboriginal students that are qualified to apply for post-secondary education is minimal. AAS targets this gap in the Aboriginal population. The Ministry of Education's Student Transitions Project (STP) found that 83% of Aboriginal graduates had no GPA. The project defined GPA as being calculated on the average grades in English 12 and the best three academic grade 12 subjects upon graduation. Furthermore, the project reported that only 8% of Aboriginal graduates from 2001/02 to 2005/06 were university eligible with graduates being deemed university eligible if their GPA upon graduation was 75% or higher. Not only are the university-eligible graduation rates dismal but there is a 32% percentage gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Six-Year Dogwood Completion Rates, 47% versus 79%. According to this data, if only 8% of Aboriginal graduates have a GPA of 75% or higher and only 47% complete grade 12 within six years of entering grade 8 then 96% of Aboriginal students are not university eligible. This is the group of students for whom AAS is intended and designed.
The STP uses the eligible-to-graduate population. The eligible-to-graduate graduation rate is defined as a measure of Grade 12 students who, if they pass all courses in which they have enrolled as of September, will have met all the requirements to graduate, and graduate.
The following table uses the findings from the STP, applying them to the Grade 12 Graduation Rates 2001/02-2005/06:
Table 1 British Columbia Aboriginal Graduation Rates and Graduate Grade Point Average (GPA)
British Columbia Graduation Rates
Aboriginal
Graduate with university eligible GPA (8 %) Graduate with GPA but not university eligible (9%) Graduate with no GPA (83%) Total number of graduates
2001/ 02 117 131 1208 1456
2002/ 2003/ 2004/ 03 04 05 Number of Graduates
131 131 155
147 1357 1635
147 1358 1636
175 1610 1940
2005/ 06 161 181 1673 2015
Total number of graduates 695 781 7206 8682
Thus, over a five-year period, 2001/02-2005/06:
7,206 781 695
(83%) (9%) (8%)
Aboriginal students did not have a GPA Aboriginal students had a GPA but were not university eligible Aboriginal students were university eligible
86
These figures suggest that an enormous number of students would be able to benefit from the AAS program. These rates are further supported by the six-year dogwood completion rate (see above). The Six-Year Dogwood Completion rate tracks a set of first-time Grade 8 students, and provides a measure of how many have graduated six years later. The following analysis uses the number of eligible graduates who graduated to calculate the number of students for the Six-Year Dogwood Completion Rate. The example below shows the 47% Aboriginal students who did finish the six-year dogwood as well as the 53% who left between grade 9 and grade 11. The figure was calculated by using the following formula and data from the 2005/06 year: 47% of Total Aboriginal students = 2,015 Aboriginal Graduates 2,015 Aboriginal Graduates Total Aboriginal Students = 47% = 4,287 Total Aboriginal Students
Table 2 British Columbia Aboriginal Graduate rates measured using the Six-Year Dogwood Completion Rate
2001 British Columbia Six Year Dogwood /02 Aboriginal Graduation Rates
1,45
Six year Dogwood completion rate 47% 6
Students that don't finish with Six year 1,64
Dogwood
2
3,09
Total number of potential graduates
8
2002 2003 2004
/03 /04 /05
Number of Graduates
1,63 1,63 1,94
5
6
0
1,84 1,84 2,18
4
5
8
3,47 3,48 4,12
9
1
8
2005 /06 2,01 5 2,27 2 4,28 7
Total number of graduates 8,682 9,791 18,473
The report also comes to the conclusion that additional interventions for Aboriginal students enrolled at the post-secondary level but below university level or without university-eligible GPA's could help to increase the retention rate of Aboriginal students in post-secondary education.
In addition to academic barriers, there are other obstacles blocking Aboriginal postsecondary access. These barriers include both financial and non-financial reasons. Statistics Canada's recent Youth in Transition Survey reveals that 72% of those who face barriers to post-secondary education included financial reasons as the number one barrier. Nonfinancial barriers are reflected in personal factors like lack of self-confidence and motivation, lower high school grades, lower levels of parental education and parental expectations. Other barriers have included institutional factors like the lack of Aboriginal culture and the
87
experience of racism on campuses and these issues are magnified by the history of residential schools (The Educational Policy Institute 2008 p.7). The objective of this paper is to give a brief description of AAS and to report how UBC Okanagan has reduced these barriers to make the program succeed. The paper also presents new pragmatic and realistic approaches our institution has taken to increase access for international students. DEVELOPMENT
UBC Aboriginal Applicants
600
500
400
300
Admits
200
Applicants
100
Rejected
0
Figure 1 Prospective Aboriginal students who apply to undergraduate admissions and the number of applicants admitted and the number rejected There is a large demand potential for AAS from the Aboriginal students who apply to UBC and are not admitted. Between 2000 and 2009, there were 2413 Aboriginal applicants and of those 1631 were not admitted. Furthermore, in that same period a record 510 Aboriginal students applied for the winter 2009 session and 72% of these were not admitted. The Aboriginal applicants that are not admitted, that is students who have graduated but are not university eligible, are the prime target group for AAS. Another demand indicator is that there is no other qualifying program like AAS providing an opportunity to apply to a degree program in British Columbia. Many access programs offered at other institutes are upgrading programs whereas AAS provides students with the opportunity of taking university level courses. Furthermore, access programs that do lead to degree programs are often directed to one program, whereas, AAS allows students to apply to their chosen degree program. AAS students have successfully been accepted to degree programs in Management, Education and Barber School of Arts and Sciences. Demand for AAS could also increase with the growing Aboriginal population. The 2006 Census accounts for a 45% growth rate among the Aboriginal population between the years 1996-2006. The increase in the Aboriginal growth rate was almost six times the 8% increase in growth rate for the non-Aboriginal population during the same period. Furthermore, data 88
from this Census indicate that the Aboriginal population is considerably younger than the non-Aboriginal populations with the median age being 27 compared to a median age of 40 for the non-Aboriginal population. The connection between Aboriginal population growth, and reform and access to education is further underlined by Aboriginal leaders. As AFN National Chief, Shawn Atleo stated, "...First Nations learners are the key to the ongoing success and prosperity of this country. We are the youngest and fastest growing segment of the population...Our students need support from the educators, the school workers and political leadership." UBC Okanagan launched the Aboriginal Access Studies Program (AASP) as a pilot project within Aboriginal Programs and Services (APS) in the winter session of 2007. It was designed to remove and or reduce these barriers to post-secondary access. The AAS program plan is unique compared to other programs because it has been modelled to reflect medicinewheel teachings and it is this distinct approach that makes the program successful. The program looks to provide an educational experience of the "whole person", their physical, emotional, social and intellectual wellbeing. This holistic approach is a key concept of medicine-wheel teachings where there is an interrelationship and layering of ideas within a circular model. Variations of the medicine-wheel model can be seen throughout different North American tribal groups. Because these teachings are familiar to an Aboriginal worldview, AAS-students are able to identify with the program and its holistic elements. AAS is a program that facilitates the admission of Aboriginal students to a specific set of university level courses without registering on a degree program or undergoing the standard admission process. AAS students undergo the same admission process as Access students. The program is modeled to reflect medicine-wheel teaching and its four key themes: social, intellectual, physical and values. There is an interrelationship between these themes and in order for the wheel to be complete, there needs to be a balance within each of these areas. Values in the medicine-wheel model include diversity, respect, learning, sharing, humility, openness, persistence, fortitude, humour, generosity and inclusiveness. AAS provides students with opportunities to expand the four areas of the model, with the main goal of providing support for students who are involved in academic activity. The curricular approach supports the medicine-wheel model by providing courses from an Aboriginal perspective. These courses have been developed by faculty members and balance the intellectual and values aspects of the medicine wheel; the program also provides additional support such as peer tutorials to complete the circle. Other goals of the program are to have the students develop an educational foundation and skill set that will provide them with an opportunity to apply to a degree program. AAS students attend classes alongside other students in first-year classes. Some of these core competencies include: a) Numeracy ­ grounding in fundamental mathematical skills 89
b) Literacy ­ university-writing skills c) Research skills d) Study skills AAS also offers enhancements to coursework by providing tutorials, study groups, and works with the Academic Resource Centre to provide workshops to develop academic skills. To assist students with academic preparation, the maximum number of classes that AAS students can enrol in is three per term. Furthermore, tutorials have been built into their Math 126 and English 114 courses for academic support. In addition to the scheduled tutorial hours, the Academic Resource Centre is available for additional Mathematics and English assistance. Not only do AAS students receive academic support through tutorials, but both English 114 and Math 126 courses also provide an Aboriginal perspective. UBC Okanagan's approach to reduce barriers Financial barriers have been reduced with support from APS staff and third party sponsorship. The majority of AAS students receive third party sponsorship from their respective First Nation bands. For those students that do not receive funding from a third party sponsor, AAS also qualifies under provincial and federal student loans programs and a working relationship with UBC Okanagan Student Finance and Awards has been established to assist AAS students who may require this type of financial assistance. Further, AAS students are encouraged to apply as Aboriginal Peer Support Network (PSN) mentors, which will allow them to be employed as work-study students. Efforts to decrease motivational and integration barriers have been achieved through various activities that would fit in the physical realm of the medicine wheel. To involve students with social activities, an intramural volleyball team was formed to encourage social and physical balance within the medicine-wheel model. Other activities have included day trips to the Nk'mip desert cultural centre and Silver Star Mountain Resort. Moreover, an eblast newsletter is sent to the students providing information on upcoming events for the access students along with other activities with APS, the Aboriginal Student Council, the Aboriginal Centre and the campus at large. Alternate forms of social media are also used to engage students and make them aware of upcoming deadlines on campus through the use of face book and texts. In the AAS orientation week, a number of workshops are held for students and include topics such as health and wellness as well as a student panel that shares a student perspective on university life. Being encouraging the students to become involved with campus activities both academically, physically and socially, AAS students will feel more connected to the campus and institution. To reduce family and personal barriers, AAS students are in a course cohort. This arrangement allows the students to become familiar with each other and create a family-like relationship amongst themselves. These new relationships and friendships have assisted students in both an academic and a social sense. The Aboriginal Peer Support Network (PSN) 90
also serves to reduce family and personal barriers. The PSN is made up of work-study students filling the roles of mentors, coordinators and tutors. The mandate of the PSN staff is to serve Aboriginal students in a culturally sensitive manner. Staff training, organized by the coordinators, features an Aboriginal perspective such as using the medicine wheel in suicide prevention and sexual harassment. PSN coordinators and mentors administer student services based on cultural training. On many reserves, cousins are a reliable source of support and friendship. PSN workers must play the same role for any student within the Aboriginal Centre. Whilst the vast majority of PSN staff have Aboriginal heritage, there is also space for non-aboriginal work-study students. A mandate of the Aboriginal Centre is to strengthen capacity building and indigenous understanding among students from UBC Okanagan's diverse student population. Aboriginal culture on campus is a growing aspect of UBC Okanagan and is supported by the institution. Providing a sense of belonging for Aboriginal students on campus is important to their post-secondary success. With the honouring of cultural protocol, Aboriginal students feel safe, supported and more importantly, connected to their new surroundings. The Aboriginal Centre honours indigenous people by incorporating a Medicine Wheel into its floor design. Bi-weekly Smudges are attended by Aboriginal students and non-Aboriginal students alike. Respect is shown to Elders with invitations to speak at ceremonial events and to be honoured at a yearly luncheon. Due to the importance of sharing food, AAS students have at least one meal a week together. Workshops recalling heritage, like tobacco-giving or drum-making, also bring students together in positive way. An annual cultural tour, open to both Aboriginal and international students, helps visitors and locals appreciate the role of the Okanagan Nation in the Valley. The Okanagan language, N'syilxcen, has been built into the AAS schedule as one of the courses of the program. This revitalization of language is an important part of culture. Our program also supports a diverse range of students varying in ages from 18-50 and these Aboriginal students include: a) Recent high school graduates b) Mature students c) Those who would like additional support as they step into university d) Those whose grades do not reflect their academic potential. Results from the three-year pilot show that most students enrolled in the program are primarily in the age range of 19-29 and the second most common age group is 30-39. 91
50-59 years old 40-49 years old 30-39 years old 19-29 years old 18 years old
Winter 2009 session Winter 2008 session Winter 2007 session
0 5 10 15 20 Figure 2 AAS Student Age profile
Although it is expected that most students will fit one of the descriptions above and it is AAS' intent to concentrate on program promotion to this group, Aboriginal students who have already completed their degrees and are looking to enrol in classes to fulfill professional designations, improve their GPA or for other reasons will also be accepted into the program.
The program itself is experiential learning for AAS students because it provides an opportunity to experience university life as well as to qualify for a degree program. Peer tutorials as well as study groups create a time for experiential learning.
CONCLUSIONS
With three years of baseline program information, APS is confident that these students will succeed. AAS student success has been measured in terms of the number of students obtaining 60% in six courses (18 credits). Furthermore, during the pilot phase, APS has been able to fine-tune the program, schedule and variety of support offered to these students.
64 students have been registered in AAS over the 2007, 2008 and 2009 academic years. Of these students, 67% are in post-secondary education but the location of the remaining 33% is unknown. Of these 67%, 48% are at UBC Okanagan, either in degree programs (28%) or continuing as AAS students (20%). Degree programs to which students have successfully been admitted include Arts, Science, Management, Education and Social Work. The other 19% of students at post-secondary level have transferred to other post-secondary institutions including other universities and colleges.
AAS feels that the program has achieved success since 67% of the AAS students are still pursuing studies at UBC Okanagan, with 28% in their degree programs and 20% continuing as AAS students. Furthermore, 19% of AAS students have found educational paths that are of interest to them at another post-secondary institution. Although these students are not attending UBC Okanagan, they are seen as successful because they would not have otherwise been at a post-secondary institution but have found their pathway through AAS. 92
Furthermore, the program also feels that it is on track with other Access programs. The University of Manitoba is one of the founding Access institutions who established their Access programs in the early 1970s and in 1994 reported a 40% success rate based on graduation rates from degree or diploma programs (Alcorn and Levin 1998 p.15). Future Access Applications at UBC Okanagan Currently, UBCO is exploring additional applications of the successful Aboriginal Access Studies model. Although in the early stages of development, one model which is being put into practice with a university in Mexico would offer students from each university the opportunity to study jointly in each country, whilst remaining students of their home university and paying home fees. Students would travel to each university and share faculty members and jointly-delivered curricula. To date, areas of interest have been identified through reciprocal trips, but significant and ongoing effort is required to build and sustain interest and structures within each university to support this potential field school. Goals include the dissipation of the standard economic barrier for students flowing south to north, and the provision of extensive and structured cultural experience for those students flowing north to south. For both institutions, the major advantage is the learning that takes place beyond the classroom, in particular for students learning Spanish or English as a foreign language and anthropology, but also for students in the Faculty of Education. A pilot project will take place in the form of a field school in the summer of 2011. To conclude, these are the new pragmatic and realistic approaches our institution has taken to increase access for international students. 93
REFERENCES Alcorn, William and Ben Levin. (1998) `Post-secondary Education for Indigenous Populations', Conference Papers ­ International Congress on Social Welfare British Columbia Ministry of Education. (2006) `Grade 12 Graduation Rates 2001/02 ­ 2005/06.' Ministry of Education, Victoria British Columbia. Ministry of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development, Student Transitions Project. (2009) `Education Achievements of Aboriginal Students in B.C.' Ministry of Advanced Education and Labour Market, Victoria Frideres, James S., and Lilianne Ernestine Krosenbrink-Gelissen. (1993) Native Peoples in Canada: Contemporary Conflicts, Prentice Hall Canada Inc., Scarborough Heslop, Joanne, Student Transitions Project Manager. (25 March 2010) `STP Aboriginal Message to Adrienne Vedan', Email correspondence Levin, Ben and William Alcorn. (1999) `Post-secondary Education for Indigenous Populations.' Adult Learning, vol 11, no.1, pp.20-25 Stonechild, Blair. (2006) The New Buffalo: The struggle for Aboriginal Post-secondary Education in Canada. University of Manitoba Press, Winnipeg The Educational Policy Institute. (2008) Access, Persistence, and Barriers in Post-Secondary Education: A Literature Review and Outline in Future Research. Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario, Toronto 94
Developing a Culture of Accessibility and Success in Post-secondary Studies Quebec's Experience within Canada Pierre Chenard This paper is largely based on an exchange that took place during the European Access Network's 19th conference in Stockholm from June 14 to 16, 2010, at a francophone workshop involving Canadian and Belgian participants. The workshop's objective was to share institutional practices that could generate information that would be helpful in guiding decisions concerning academic success and the promotion of accessible higher education. We shall examine the case of Canada and more precisely that of Quebec, a majority-francophone province. ACCESS TO HIGHER LEARNING IN QUEBEC FROM 1960 TO THE PRESENT Quebec is distinct within Canada in terms of access to higher learning. Indeed, in the early 1960s, the province was far behind the rest of Canada when it came to access to postsecondary studies. To remedy this situation, a major commission of inquiry (the Parent Commission18) was appointed with a mandate to propose corrective strategies. The Parent Commission's proposals led to something of an education revolution19 within Quebec society. Below are key elements of that transformation that have had a lasting impact in expanding access to higher learning. In 1964, a Department of Education was created. In 1967, the province's elite system of ''classical'' colleges20 was replaced by a more democratic system of secondary-level ''polyvalente''21 schools that trained young people aged 12 to 16 not only for general studies but also for the trades. The same year, an intermediate level of studies between high school and university was created. This new level of studies, which exists nowhere else in the world, was named the general teaching and professional college, better known by its French acronym CEGEP. CEGEPs offer two paths -- a two-year program in preparation for university studies and a three-year course of study to train technicians and prepare them for the job market. A key feature of CEGEPs, in terms of access to education, is that the training they offer is free of charge. Thus, in Quebec, public education is free for 13 or 14 years, 18 Report of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Teaching in the Province of Quebec, 5 tomes, 1963-1964, Quйbec: Government of Quйbec, 1469 pages. 19 This came to be known as the "Quiet Revolution." 20 Secondary-level teaching institutions preparing for university and access to the liberal professions (theology, law, medicine and engineering). Lasting eight years, this program led to a Bachelor of Arts. 21 A "polyvalente" is a multi-functional secondary teaching establishment particular to the Quebec school system. A ''polyvalente'' differs from a secondary school in that it offers not only a general education but also a section reserved for professional training. 95
depending on the course of studies chosen, compared with 12 years in other provinces. Another key characteristic of CEGEPs is that the 54 such institutions in the province have been located in the province's main cities near the general-education high schools known as "polyvalentes." Thus, not only is the goal of access being met quantitatively, so too is it being met geographically. Figure 1 describes the structure of the university stream of Quebec's school system compared with the K-12-type (kindergarten-Grade 12) school systems elsewhere in North America and in France.
Year of study
Canadian system (except Quebec)
Elementary school
1
1st
2
2nd
3
3rd
4
4rth
5
5th
6
6th
7
7th
8
8th
9
9th
10
10th
11
11th
High school
12
12th
13
Undergraduate
14 15
University
16
17
Graduate school
18
Master's degree
19
Postgraduate
20
Doctorate
21
22
Quebec system
French system
Primary
College Secondary
1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th I II III IV V 1 2 Bachelor's degree (3 or 4 years) Master's degree Doctorate
University
Lycйe Secondary
Primary
Preparatory primary Elementary - 1 Elementary -2 Middle - 1 Middle - 2 6th 5th 4th 3rd Second First Final (Baccalaurйat) Licence (1st cycle) Master's (2nd cycle) Doctorate (3rd Cycle)
University
If a 4-year bachelor's program
Figure 1 Comparison of the streams leading to university in three education systems
96
Another of the Parent Commission's major recommendations was the creation of the Universitй du Quйbec network, which doubled the number of university institutions in the province and, more importantly, spread them throughout the entire province near major CEGEPs that were not already served by universities. All of these measures helped Quebec carry out a genuine democratization of access to higher learning, both quantitatively and geographically. Twenty years after the Parent Commission, its most optimistic objectives have been largely surpassed. Indeed, the total university population has risen from an estimated 94,600 students in 1982 to an impressive 191,925. Student population forecasts apparently failed to anticipate the following three decisive phenomena: 1. An explosion in the presence of women at universities Women represented 35 per cent of university students in 1965, but 58 per cent in 2008-2009.22 2. The extraordinary success of the CEGEP system From 1975 to 2006 in Quebec, the rate of college-level diploma achievement rose from 21 per cent to 39.5 per cent of the adult population (from 13.5 per cent to 25.3 per cent for pre-university studies and from 7.5 per cent to 14.3 per cent for technical studies.) 23 3. The impact of the creation of the Universitй du Quйbec network From 1968 to 2007, the student population of Quebec's universities grew fourfold. The presence of the Universitй du Quйbec network accounted for more than 30 per cent of that growth.24 Despite this exceptional progress, the challenge of democratizing the education system has not been fully met, since many indicators of inequality remain. For example, although the creation of CEGEPs and the Universitй du Quйbec network led to a certain qualitative democratization (in terms of students' geographic and socio-economic origins, for instance) all establishments of higher learning are not equally accessible to the entire Quebec population. Indeed, there remain ways in which elites are recruited and reproduced. On the other hand, even though, compared with other Canadian provinces, improvements have been made regarding the accessibility of the post-secondary education system; the way students leave the system is quite another matter. Indeed, Quebec still has a major problem when it comes to access to diplomas. On this score, Quebec still needs to catch up with 22 Source: Statistics Canada, CANSIM, University enrolments by registration status and sex, by province 23 Source: Conseil supйrieur de l'йducation, 2010, p. 38. 24 Source: Jacques La Haye (1989), Quebec Department of Education, Leisure and Sport, data analyzed by Anne-Marie Huynh. 97
Canada's other provinces, and major efforts are still required to reach the true goal of democratizing higher education as recommended by the 1962 Parent Report commissioners. In essence, we assign the following objectives to pre-university and professional instruction: assuring that the greatest possible number of students with the necessary aptitudes have the opportunity to pursue studies of higher quality over a longer period of time; cultivating interest and motivation among students so as to reduce the number of failures and dropouts; optimizing guidance of students based on their preferences and aptitudes; improving the quality of pre-university studies and professional training; standardizing the transition from secondary studies to higher education and better preparing students for post-secondary studies.25 (See Table 1) Despite this observation, public discourse on the need to pursue efforts to broaden access to universities to the greatest number possible, irrespective of social origins, no longer sounds as urgent as it once did. It is largely because of the great progress made in quantitative access to the education system that Quebec's political class has held back on making efforts for greater qualitative access, particularly within universities. Indeed, this issue was identified in the most recent recommendation of Quebec's advisory Conseil supйrieur de l'йducation: Certain entities consulted emphasized that, despite the establishment of a system of mass education in post-secondary studies and the indisputable progress that has been made regarding access and success, certain inequities persist, the main one being, from their perspective, an underrepresentation of students with origins in underprivileged socio-economic groups. A student's socioeconomic background is still seen today as affecting the odds that he or she will attend a post-secondary teaching establishment.26 An immense amount of work will have to be done in Quebec if the province is really determined to develop a truly inclusive and accessible education system. This is precisely what the province's Conseil supйrieur de l'йducation proposed to the Quebec government in 2010. However, working on and committing to the mission of democratizing higher learning is not only a public-policy responsibility; teaching establishments, and more specifically the units they have set up to improve post-secondary access and success rates, have already 25 Commission royale d'enquкte sur l'enseignement dans la province de Quйbec (1963-1966), Rapport de la Commission royale d'enquкte sur l'enseignement dans la province de Quйbec, Quйbec, Government of Quйbec, p. 162. Tome 2 Royal Commission of Inquiry into Teaching in the Province of Quebec (1963-1966), Report of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Teaching in the Province of Quebec, Quebec, Government of Quebec, p. 162, Tome 2 26 Conseil supйrieur de l'йducation (2010) p. 110. 98
been making significant efforts in this regard for many years. We shall briefly examine three such initiatives whose introduction and structuring made a major contribution to institutional and individual decision-making concerning ways to improve access to postsecondary studies and students' success rates in pursuit of diplomas.
Table 1 Participation rates of post-secondary students aged 18 to 24 years old, according to parental income, Canada, (2006)
Parental pre-tax income (in 2006 dollars)
Enrolled in university
18 to 24 years old
Enrolled in a college program
Enrolled in a post-secondary establishment
Less than $25,000
27,5%
40,0%
58,5%
From $25,000 to $50,000
21,7%
45,5%
60,8%
From $50,001 to $75,000
30,6%
45,2%
64,9%
From $75,001 to $100,000
40,9%
44,0%
73,1%
Over $100,000
48,6%
44,3%
80,9%
Source: Conseil supйrieur de l'йducation (2010) p. 110
Note 1: Data include only youths still living with at least one of two parents during the reference year who were not attending primary or secondary school.
Note 2: The sum of figures in the first two columns is greater than the corresponding figure in the third column because some students pursue more than one type of post-secondary education.
Two of these initiatives -- the ICOPE27 et PROSPERE28 projects -- took place within the Universitй du Quйbec network. The third initiative is the Contact-Йtudes (Contact-Studies) initiative of the Universitй de Montrйal. In examining each of these undertakings,29 we shall show how it is possible to develop and nourish a culture of accessibility and success in an institutional setting.
THE ICOPE PROJECT
The Universitй du Quйbec network was created by legislation enacted in response to Quebec society's need for improved access to higher learning. More than twenty years later, two studies by the Universitй du Quйbec (UQ) headquarters' institutional research office have shown not only that the UQ network's student population better reflects the characteristics of the province's population as a whole than do other Quebec universities' student bodies,30 but also that its student population exhibits background traits and an educational
27 ICOPE : Indicateurs des conditions de poursuite des йtudes (Indicators of conditions for the pursuit of studies) 28 PROSPERE : Profil de succиs personnel des йtudes (Personal study success profile) 29 The author has been significantly associated with all three of these initiatives, having conceived and been in charge of them. 30 Chenard, P. (1980) "Universitй et dйmocratie, un couple utopique?," Service de la recherche institutionnelle, Vice-prйsidence а la planification, Universitй du Quйbec. ("University and democracy: is it utopian to have both?" Institutional Research Directorate, Vice-Presidency for Planning, Universitй du Quйbec.) 99
advancement profile that are fundamentally different from those of students attending universities twenty years ago.31 The results of these two studies provide startling confirmation of the success of the mission of the Universitй du Quйbec but still raise many other important questions: · What are the characteristics of these "new students"? · Even if they are now attending university, are they succeeding at their studies? · Do they obtain diplomas? · What are the conditions for success and access to a diploma? A lack of answers to these questions led to the ICOPE project. This institutional undertaking was developed from the outset as a permanent and recurring initiative aimed at producing, on the one hand, a sort of curriculum vitae for students entering the university and, on the other, an individual profile that could be matched to data describing the student's entire educational profile. The ICOPE project consisted of a series of questionnaire-based postal surveys administered to students newly enrolled in a program at the very beginning of their first semester. For the first two surveys, follow-up surveys were administered every three subsequent years; for subsequent surveys, this interval was every five years. The first survey, performed in the fall 1993 semester, had a response rate of 60 per cent. Information collected in the ICOPE questionnaires falls into seven categories (socio-demographic traits, living conditions, state of preparation, intention to pursue further studies, interest in the study program and motivations for enrolling in it, ties to the labour market and knowledge of the study program). In addition, educational attainment characteristics are drawn from institutional databases.32 The ICOPE project has three objectives33: 1. Improving knowledge of the student population through profiling and tracking of changes within it (using recurring surveys); 31 Boulet, F. (1990) "Les classiques," Service de la recherche institutionnelle, Vice-prйsidence а la planification, Universitй du Quйbec. ("The Classics," Institutional Research Directorate, Vice-Presidency for Planning, Universitй du Quйbec.) Viewed as noteworthy at the time, this study found that 15 per cent of undergraduate students at the Universitй du Quйbec shared the three following traits: arriving directly from pre-university studies, being enrolled in a bachelor's program and studying full-time. These three traits matched those of students from the pre-reform era who had arrived at university from classical colleges. 32 To permit a matching of data from institutional databases with that obtained in their questionnaire, participants in the ICOPE survey must sign an authorization. More than 98 per cent of students sign the questionnaire. 33 Source : Pageau D.; Bujold, J. (2000) "Dis-moi ce que tu veux et je te dirai oщ tu iras," Direction du recensement йtudiant et de la recherche institutionnelle, Universitй du Quйbec. 100
2. Improving insight into the dynamics affecting access to diplomas, based on an analysis of the relationship between students' traits and their educational choices; and 3. Identification of new types of interventions that could improve students' abilities to pursue studies right through to a diploma. ICOPE's analyses identified many factors contributing to academic success. Pinpointing these factors led, among other things, to the conclusion that a student's full- or part-time status is actually less important than previously believed in explaining whether studies are pursued through to a diploma. Moreover, it was demonstrated that by respecting certain conditions for success, men and women could obtain diplomas in equally significant proportions. Among the factors associated with academic success and access to diplomas are traits commonly associated with traditional students: arriving directly from pre-university studies, being enrolled full-time in a bachelor's program, taking daytime classes, pursuing studies without interruption, not working while taking courses and pursuing studies in a program in which they wish to obtain a diploma. The problem is that students with all of these traits are a minority within Quebec universities. This is paradoxical, as almost 90 per cent of these students do obtain diplomas. As there can be no question of returning to the past in order to rebuild such a traditional student body, ICOPE data are used to sensitize professors so they may better respond to the needs of new types of students. Data and analyses drawn from ICOPE are broadly disseminated within participating establishments (within almost all of these establishments, in fact) in order to assist in the planning of activities and undertakings aimed at improving academic success and access to diplomas. Almost twenty years after its inception, the ICOPE project is still in effect. Initially, ICOPE served as an outstanding and efficient tool with which to develop a genuine culture of success throughout the Universitй du Quйbec network. The project even inspired a position paper by Quebec's Conseil supйrieur de l'йducation entitled "Necessary conditions for success at a university study program."34 The ICOPE project was also behind the PROSPERE initiative described below and still provides regularly updated results for it. THE PROSPERE PROJECT Despite efforts to disseminate results of the ICOPE surveys and notwithstanding diligent work to sensitize and engage academics responsible for fostering academic success and access to diplomas, the project's advocates and administrators were not convinced its full 34 Conseil supйrieur de l'йducation (2000), "Rйussir un projet d'йtudes universitaires : des conditions а rйunir," 136 pages. (Superior Education Council (2000), ''Succeeding at university studies: conditions that must be met,'' 136 pages.) 101
potential to inform decision-making and action had been efficiently exploited. As a follow-up to critical thinking about ICOPE's potential to generate information and contribute to improved access to diplomas, it was concluded that conditions for success should be laid out and explained not only to professors and academic managers but also, and more particularly, to students themselves. On the basis of this idea, the PROSPERE project was conceived. Based on the conditions for success identified in the ICOPE initiative, PROSPERE's challenge was to develop a dynamic tool with which to measure individual conditions for success -- a tool whose results could be communicated in a pedagogical and helpful way to new students at the beginning of their university studies. The tool was developed by a multidisciplinary team drawn from participating establishments that were active in disseminating results of the ICOPE project within their institutions. The team's work was carried out over a period of three years. PROSPERE's research and development efforts were supported by a major grant from the Universitй du Quйbec network's study council (conseil des йtudes) which had already been sensitized to, and convinced of, the ICOPE project's achievements and results. PROSPERE's deliverable is more an approach than a tool in that it is more a research-action project than a survey such as those used in ICOPE. Indeed, PROSPERE is designed to provoke a reaction in students. What is sought is a change in, or a reinforcement of, the way in which students take responsibility for their academic careers. PROSPERE achieves this through an online questionnaire that students fill out three or four weeks after beginning their university studies. Minutes after completing the questionnaire, they receive an email with an attachment providing them with a personalized success profile at the university. This profile outlines their strengths and weaknesses when it comes to conditions for success; where needed, it also refers them to appropriate resources within the establishment. The success profile is presented as a series of 15 summaries, each of which includes: · A contextual statement explaining, on the basis of research findings (from ICOPE and elsewhere), the meaning and scope of a given condition for success at the university; · A visual representation of the student's position (positive, negative or neutral) as concerns each condition for success; · Statements clearly explaining to students the meaning of each of the three possible positions regarding conditions for success so that they may understand what behaviour they can adopt or pursue or, alternatively, what they need to correct or improve so as to optimize their chances of obtaining a diploma; · An outline of solutions and resources available in their establishment to help them reinforce or maintain an optimal position with respect to the condition for success described in the summary. 102
In its first year of operation, PROSPERE was deployed in the network's three largest establishments. The operation was carried out so as to mobilize institutional resources to respond efficiently to students' needs. Although intense solicitation of these services had been expected, this did not come to pass. Nevertheless, focus groups carried out with student participants revealed that PROSPERE had significantly raised awareness and prompted students to reflect upon the conditions that needed to be met for their success at the university. In addition, students voiced satisfaction that their institution had shown concern for their academic success. Another reason PROSPERE was developed was to engage professors and raise their awareness of student success by providing them with success profiles for the cohorts they were teaching. Here again, the initiative was warmly welcomed. Today, the PROSPERE initiative still operates on a yearly basis every fall semester. PROSPERE has been introduced within six of the nine establishments of the Universitй du Quйbec; it coexists in a complementary manner with the ICOPE survey that is conducted every five years. THE CONTACT-ЙTUDES PROJECT The third and final initiative we shall describe here was developed at the Universitй de Montrйal, whose tradition is very different from that of the Universitй du Quйbec. Whereas the Universitй du Quйbec is still a young institution with a mission emphasizing accessibility, the Universitй de Montrйal, founded in 1878, is a traditional institution -- a prestigious, selective university associated with Quebec's francophone elite. It is only recently that the Universitй de Montrйal committed itself explicitly and selfconsciously to fostering student success and more specifically to mobilizing its academic units to optimize conditions for access to diplomas. It was in this spirit that in 2007, the Contact-Йtudes program, which had already been operating for seven years, was updated and restructured. As its name suggests, Contact-Йtudes is a program whose principal goal is to make contact with newly enrolled students at the university and engage them in dialogue about their first university experiences. An original aspect of this approach is that the contact is made through a telephone interview near the end of the second third of the first semester35. This contact is made by a student in the last year of study in which the new student is enrolled. The emphasis is on welcoming students, tutoring them, helping them integrate into the university environment and referring them to institutional resources. Over the first seven years of the program, no data were compiled and no detailed report on the operation 35 This period corresponds with a moment in the semester when the first evaluations have taken place. Students have already received their first results and have had the time to have some experience of their study program and faculty life. 103
delivered to participating academic units. The program was essentially used to refer students to study assistance services after problem areas had been identified in telephone interviews. Informed of the ICOPE and PROSPERE projects and facing criticism from the faculties for a lack of direct and formal spinoffs from the Contact-Йtudes project, the university's academic leadership made changes to the initiative so as to give it a similar thrust to the initiatives under way within the Universitй du Quйbec network. The program's chief objectives shifted toward developing a culture of success within academic units and enabling them to contribute more effectively, in partnership with the university's study assistance service, to students' academic success and access to diplomas. While respecting its original principles, the program was modified so as to permit data collection and provide faculties with information on students' experiences within their program of study and at the university as a whole. From then on, the Contact-Йtudes program was developed to mobilize faculties in support of academic success and to optimize their interactions with the university's study assistance service. Participation the program is voluntary from the very outset; it is the faculties themselves that identify participating study programs. 36 Backed by the involvement and choices of the faculties, the Contact-Йtudes team initiates contact with the program units, which in turn recruit final-year students to place calls to newly enrolled students. The "contact" operation takes place over the month of November; by early February, the first summary results are available. Organizing meetings are held with each faculty. Later, around early summer, detailed results of the qualitative analyses of telephone interviews are delivered to the faculties. Once again, this is done through meetings in which faculties interact with institutional specialists in study assistance. Faculties are provided not only with results of the analysis but also with full transcripts of the conversations. Within two years of these revisions to the Contact-Йtudes program, conclusive results demonstrated a genuine culture of success had developed within participating faculties. The faculties maintained and indeed raised their level of interest and participation in the program and became involved in local study-assistance initiatives on the basis of results delivered after the operation. Supported by ad hoc financing since its inception, the ContactЙtudes program is to receive sustainable funding starting in early 2011. This has been made possible because the program has demonstrated its usefulness as well as its contribution to the development of a culture of, and a sense of responsibility for, academic success within the university. 36 The Contact-Йtudes program is not proposed for all programs within a faculty. At the Universitй de Montrйal, not all academic units responsible for programs are convinced of the pertinence or necessity of such an operation. The program's penetration within faculties is therefore gradual and has a duty to be respectful of the program managers' openness to it. From this one understands the true meaning of the goal of developing a culture of success in an institution. 104
LESSONS AND EXPERIENCES: TRANSFERABLE ELEMENTS The three approaches we have examined were built upon common premises and principles, all of which aim to develop a culture of accessibility and success. We shall now seek to identify the characteristics that we believe explain the effectiveness of these initiatives and their ability to deliver results. Support from senior management Each one of these cases involves a project that is supported and financed by the institution's most senior academic leadership and is presented to the university community as an initiative of the institution. The objective of developing a culture of, and expertise in, academic success and access to diplomas is also endorsed and supported by academic management. Respect for institutional and faculty culture Another strategic consideration associated with these three initiatives is the importance of a solid understanding of and respect for the culture of the institution and the units implementing the projects. For the Universitй du Quйbec network, the challenge has been in respecting the cultures of its establishments37 while in the case of the Universitй de Montrйal, respect for faculty culture has proved more critical.38 Experiences in implementing these three initiatives have highlighted the need for adaptations to suit the settings and protagonists involved. Thus, each initiative has been customized to some extent. Nonetheless, these adjustments have been made while maintaining absolute respect for the core principles of each program. Giving responsibility to a motivated team Another key factor in the three initiatives' success is the fact that they are managed by a specialized and dedicated team. This condition is essential for many reasons. The first is that in order to propose a credible and robust product to the academic units, the initiative must be based on solid methodology and the quality of data produced must not lend itself to criticism. The second is that the transfer of knowledge needed to promote access to higher learning and academic success must be managed by a third party since academic units do not have the capacity for this on their own. Indeed, the transfer of knowledge in a project such as this benefits enormously from an over-arching, cross-disciplinary view that only the 37 The ICOPE and PROSPERE projects were centrally developed at the headquarters of the Universitй du Quйbec network before being introduced in participating establishments. Responsibility for implementation of the projects therefore falls upon each institution within the network, while running the over-all project is a responsibility of the network's development team. 38 The Contact-Йtudes project is administered by the Centre for Study Support and Career Development in cooperation with the Registrar's Office, both of which fall under the responsibility of the academic leadership of the Universitй de Montrйal. The initiative's direct beneficiaries are the faculties, which are the main drivers of accessibility and student success. 105
development and implementation team possesses. Finally, a permanent team provides needed conditions for continuing and constant mobilization toward the goals that must be attained in order to shift toward improved accessibility and academic success. A partnership between services and academia Constant cooperation among study-support services, each program's team39 and participating academic units is essential to the smooth running of each of these initiatives. Cooperation among these players is necessary because each one possesses unique and complementary expertise. Moreover, interactions among these players help maintain a critical analysis of projects as they evolve and are constantly refined. Long-term, sustainable initiatives Each of these projects is a long-term initiative that came to maturity after a decade of operation and development. Over this period, projects have been allowed to evolve so they can integrate optimally with the academic cycle. Gradual, step-by-step development with regular evaluations has allowed these initiatives to shift from the status of projects into permanent operations. Consistency with the institution's mission None of these initiatives could have aspired to permanent status had it not been fully consistent with the mission of its institution. Indeed, this has been not only a condition for the projects' success, but also a strategic consideration in how they were promoted. Each project was developed to match the image of the institution where it was introduced. ICOPE and PROSPERE, in their current form, could not have been developed at the Universitй de Montrйal, just as Contact-Йtudes would have been difficult to introduce within the Universitй du Quйbec. At the UQ, for example, it was the ICOPE project that served as an argument in favour of developing PROSPERE. At the Universitй de Montrйal, by contrast, Contact-Йtudes became the pretext and justification for developing a survey similar to ICOPE. 40 Yet while the initiatives differ in form and in implementation, the fundamental principles underlying them remain essentially the same. Opportunistic timing Finally, these three projects could be carried out successfully because those conceiving and promoting them were able to seize the most opportune occasions to submit them to their institutions and their respective academic communities. These projects have all benefited simultaneously from favourable timing and from the cooperation of partners who were convinced of their merit. In developing these initiatives, it has always been important to make a special effort to identify the best moments to make solicitations or contacts or to 39 The ICOPE, PROSPERE and Contact-Йtudes teams are each a part of their institution's services. 40 A pilot project is presently under way with the Faculty of Planning of the Universitй de Montrйal to develop a questionnaire on students' characteristics upon entering the university. On the basis of this experience, we expect to propose the questionnaire to other faculties. 106
deploy resources. Thus, the first academics with whom the projects were developed and introduced were chosen for their openness and ability to act as ambassadors with their peers. CONCLUSION The ICOPE, PROSPERE and Contact-Йtudes projects to which I contributed starting in the early 1990s have convinced me how worthwhile it is to invest over a sustained period in initiatives aimed at improving access to diplomas and academic success. However, it should be emphasized that each of these projects was carried out by a team of deeply committed people who acted as true missionaries for the cause of improved access to higher learning and academic success. The role of these "missionaries" is important as it spreads the impact of actions taken through the entire country and presents those actions as a popular initiative that will serve one day, on the strength of its results, to persuade the state that the objective of accessibility has not been attained and remains a goal worth pursuing. To conclude, it should be emphasized that it is mainly because it succeeded in mobilizing the university community41 that each of these three initiatives has proven to be an efficient tool for the development of a genuine culture of accessibility and success in post-secondary education. 41 ICOPE and PROSPERE at the Universitй du Quйbec and Contact-Йtudes at the Universitй de Montrйal are considered flagship programs at each institution. 107
Engaging the Hearts and Minds: An Alternative Approach to Ethnic Inequalities in Higher Education Ruth Mieschbuehler & Barbara Dexter Abstract Despite longstanding legislative requirements ethnic inequalities, which greatly disadvantage minority ethnic students across the British higher education system, have attracted surprisingly little attention. Being an emerging field of study, the empirical as well as the theoretical side of ethnic inequalities in higher education is currently developing. This paper contributes to the theoretical debate by exploring Amartya Sen's capabilities approach as an alternative theoretical model proposing to tackle equity questions from a social justice perspective. It explores the core ideas behind the capabilities approach and discusses whether they lend themselves to enhance our understanding of ethnic inequalities in higher education. INTRODUCTION Ethnic inequalities in the British higher education system have only recently received their due attention, despite longstanding race legislation and widespread recognition within the compulsory schooling system. The overall attainment gap across British higher education institutions between White and minority ethnic students was 18.3% in 2007/08, a figure which has to be taken with a pinch of salt because it disguises significant inter-group variations (ECU 2009: 47). For instance, in 2007/08 the gap between White and Black students was as high as 28.7% while the gap between white and the category Other was much lower at 6.5% (ECU 2009: 46). Therefore, an overall figure says relatively little about the actual situation. However, it is not only the existing gap which concerns researchers but also recent reports which have shown that the attainment gap between White and minority ethnic students is growing. Across British institutions, there is an increase from 17.2% in 2003/04 to 18.3% in 2007/08 (ECU 2009: 47). The Higher Education Funding Council for England reports similar trends for the time period 1996/97 to 2002/03 by showing an overall increase in highest degree classifications amongst all ethnic groups but a higher rate of increase amongst White students than amongst minority ethnic students, which inevitably leads to a growing attainment gap (Hefce 2010: 47). As to the causes of this attainment gap, there is still a considerable amount of puzzlement. A landmark study looking at 65,000 students found that "after controlling for gender, prior attainment, disability, deprivation, subject of study, type of higher education institution, term-time accommodation, and age, there is still an unexplained difference between students from minority ethnic communities and students from white communities" (Broecke 2007: 16). The same study concludes that "ethnicity is statistically significant in explaining 108
attainment in higher education" except for the categories Black, Other and Mixed & Other" (Broecke 2007: 3). It also acknowledges shortcomings, for instance, not being able to take into account term-time work or English as an additional language (Broecke 2007: 3). Other than that, it is an emerging field of study which has yet to acknowledge and answer difficult equity questions. Addressing equity questions is especially important given that an increasing number of minority ethnic students join higher education, to the extent that minority ethnic students have higher participation rates than their White peers (Shiner 2002: 210; Hefce 2010: 8). Theoretically, the ethnic inequality debate has moved on from a student deficiency model to a structural model concentrating on institutional racism. The student deficiency model has largely pathologised students by explaining inequalities through student-related factors such as their disposition to learn, entry qualifications and language skills (Valencia 1997: 2). More recent debates concentrate on structural understanding of inequalities, particularly institutional racism, which explores how the cultures of institutions produce and reproduce inequalities through everyday norms and practices which are embedded within the system (Law 2004: 15). The challenge with an institutional racism approach is that the term racism provokes a defensive response from academics, who frequently put any discussion related to racism on a par with questioning their education (Law 2004: 4). An alternative way forward which does not deny racial discrimination but is less likely to cause immediate opposition and besides takes a more holistic perspective is Amartya Sen's capabilities approach (Sen 1992; 1999). Sen has a longstanding record of working on social justice, inequality and poverty. He developed the capabilities approach within a social justice framework, concerned with human development beyond economic measures, by trying to understand choices and opportunities people have "to be and to do what they have reason to value" (Sen 1992: 40). It is a framework of thought rather than a fully-fledged social theory and, importantly, it takes into account complexity and ambiguities rather than shying away from them (Robeyns 2003: 64). This is because according to Sen, understanding complexity and ambiguities is fundamental to understanding equity issues (Sen 1992: xi). Complexity and ambiguities are terms which resonate with ethnic inequalities in higher education and therefore this paper examines whether the capabilities approach lends itself to exploring ethnic inequalities in higher education. However, before that, it is worth discussing the basic ideas behind the capabilities approach. CAPABILITIES APPROACH Sen's capabilities approach provides an alternative framework for conceptualising human development by moving away from an economic-based understanding towards a social justice perspective. It is based on two core concepts: capabilities and functionings, which Sen uses to explain differences in human development. By capabilities Sen refers to the 109
choices or opportunities people have "to be and to do what they have reason to value" while functionings refer to the actions of "being and doing" (Sen 1992: 40, 81). These two concepts allow Sen to explore social arrangements and how they expand or diminish people's capabilities, and ultimately how social constraints lead to inequality (Walker 2006b: 164). When applying the concept of capabilities to education it is crucial to distinguish between Sen's definition of capabilities and the much narrower skill-based understanding of capabilities generally found within the field of education (Walker 2009: 305). Capabilities, in Sen's terms, refers to the opportunities or, in Sen's words, the freedoms people have to be and to do what they have reason to value. In other words, it is about the freedoms people have to choose the lives they value (Walker 2006a: 27). Within the realm of education, Sen's capabilities are understood as the choices and opportunities students have to participate and achieve. By locating students' capabilities within a broader framework of choices and opportunities, ethnic inequalities can be explored from a more holistic perspective. Functionings, in contrast, refer to the students' actual achievements and are best understood when seen in comparison to capabilities. Thus, functionings refer to activities and provide "information about the things a person does" while capabilities are about choices and opportunities and provide "information about the things a person is substantively free to do or to choose" (Walker 2006a: 30). Applied to education, a capability might be "to be well-educated" while the corresponding functioning is about "acting and being a well-educated person" (Walker 2006b: 165). Hence, functionings are actual achievement. In terms of importance, Sen considers the capabilities a person has to achieve functionings as more important than the actual functionings (Walker 2006a: 28). Thus, Sen values the choices and opportunities higher than the action itself and therefore aims to equalise people's capabilities as a means of tackling inequalities. This means that, to ameliorate inequalities in higher education, it is essential to remove social constraints which diminish students' capabilities. With the removal of constraints or in Sen's words `unfreedoms', people's capabilities are expanded and thereby people enjoy greater freedom to participate and achieve. This, of course, raises the question of what `unfreedoms' there are in higher education and how they can be removed without disadvantaging other students. CAPABILITIES APPROACH AND ETHNIC INEQUALITIES The capabilities approach provides at least three core concepts which help researchers both to explore `unfreedoms' and to define valued capabilities: these are human diversity, adapted preferences and the ability to convert resources into capabilities. To argue my 110
point, I will look at these in turn to establish how they can be used to explore ethnic inequalities in higher education and what their limitations might be. Human diversity A distinctive feature of the capabilities approach is Sen's belief in the heterogeneity of human beings and the fundamental role this human diversity plays in understanding inequality (Walker 2006a: 33). For Sen, human diversity is not just a "secondary complication to be ignored or to be introduced later on" but a "fundamental aspect of our interest in equality" (Sen 1992: xi). This is because human diversity accentuates differences between people and so lies at the heart of understanding inequalities. Therefore, to understand inequalities, interpersonal variations such as personal, social and environmental factors which influence people's ability to convert resources into capabilities and functionings need to be explored (Unterhalter 2007: 5). This places human diversity at centre stage of exploring equity issues. In an investigation of ethnic inequalities in higher education, the human diversity element provides a tool for analysing inequality at an individual level which allows for inter- and intra-group differences and thereby avoids group-based stereotyping. To date, ethnic inequalities in higher education have been discussed either by collectively referring to Black and minority ethnic students (BME) or by categorising BME students into sub-groups based on the outdated categories established for the 2001 census. This is done despite widely documented inter-group variations at institutional and national level. An example from the University of Derby will suffice to illustrate the point. At the University of Derby the attainment gap between White and BME students who obtained a high degree classification in 2008/09, that is a first or an upper second, is 23 percentage points amongst Home and EU students (HEIDI 2008). This seems a rather unfair reflection on minority ethnic students' performance when considering inter-group variations which show that in 2007/08, students categorised as Black, Other, Chinese and Not Known performed equally well if not better than their White comparison group (HEIDI 2008). Therefore, collating minority ethnic students into one overlapping BME category ignores equally performing minority ethnic groups and, by default, stereotypes all minority ethnic groups as lower performing, a fact which blurs rather than enhances understanding. Besides, the conventional approaches do not do justice to the many successful students from a minority ethnic background who perform much better than many of their White peers. This urgently calls for a more differentiated approach and illustrates how the capabilities approach, with human diversity at its heart, can enhance the understanding of ethnic inequalities which occur across the British higher education system. Furthermore, the human diversity element differentiates between students at an individual level and thereby sheds lights on how students participate in higher education and elucidates "the educational context in which differences become a disadvantage and inequality" (Unterhalter 2007: 6). This is achieved in two ways: through exploring 111
interpersonal variations and through emphasising what is valuable to the individual. Exploring interpersonal variations through personal, social and environmental factors enhances the understanding of the various factors which shape students' capabilities to participate in higher education. This, in turn, enables educationalists to devote resources and interventions to students who need support most rather than offering it to whole groups regardless of intra-group variations. Besides, identifying what is valuable to the individual student enhances the understanding of student choices because values inevitably shape the educational choices students make. Therefore, to provide all students with an equal opportunity in higher education, it is essential to understand how students make choices, how students participate and what factors expand or diminish the students' capabilities to participate (Unterhalter 2007: 5). Despite its obvious virtues, this focus on individuality has attracted a considerable amount of criticism, claiming that it is too individualist and thereby does not recognise that "individuals are part of their social environment" and hence "socially embedded and connected to others" rather than "atomised individuals" (Robeyns 2000: 16). Robeyns has forcefully countered this criticism by explaining that Sen conceptualises individualism as ethical rather than as ontological (Robeyns 2003: 65). The difference is that the units of analysis in ethical individualism are the individuals as opposed to, for instance, an ethnic group but this does not deny the fact that people are part of and connected to their social environment (Robeyns 2003: 65). Ontological individualism, in contrast, sees individuals as sole products of themselves and their properties rather than of their social environment (Robeyns 2000: 17). Therefore, although the focus on the individual in the capabilities approach heightens the complexity of ethnic inequalities in higher education, it does not disregard the impact social environments have on students. Holistic approach What further distinguishes the capabilities approach is its holistic nature, which explores questions beyond resources, outcomes and desire satisfaction without denying their importance. For instance, in terms of resources and outcomes, the capabilities approach measures educational outcomes through functionings because what a person is or does can be observed. Similarly, desire satisfaction, which refers to a person's expectations, can be measured by establishing students' expectations and comparing them with their actual achievements. Therefore, the capabilities approach acknowledges resources and outcomes and provides the concept of functionings to measure it. Yet it does not stop there. Resources and outcomes are important but so are capabilities. We have already seen that Sen considers that capabilities are more important than functionings and that capabilities refer to the choices and opportunities a person has. Applying the concept of capabilities to ethnic inequalities in higher education involves exploring questions related to students' educational choices alongside adapted educational 112
preferences and students' individual ability to convert resources into capabilities. It is worth exploring these in more detail. Adapted preferences Adapted preferences is a concept which helps explore ethnic inequalities in higher education beyond resource and outcome measures. The concept of adapted preferences refers to a phenomenon whereby "preferences and choices are shaped and informed or deformed by society and public policy" (Walker 2003a: 40, 172). Therefore, if "people adapt their preferences... and choices according to what they think is possible for them", it helps to explore how personal, social and environmental factors shape students' educational preferences and how this impacts on ethnic inequalities in higher education (Walker 2006a: 40). Let me illustrate my point by exploring the case of a student who is happy to get a pass mark and has no aspiration beyond that. It might be a free personal choice but this is not certain until the factors which have affected the student's aspirations are explored. It might indeed be the case that this student is financially well off, has no commitments outside university life and a solid educational background, which would make it relatively easy for him to obtain a high mark. Instead, the student makes a conscious decision to invest just as much effort into his studies as is required to pass: a rational decision. However, the case would look very different if the student's educational aspirations are a product of low teacher expectations. This is not an unlikely case as low teacher expectations of minority ethnic students and their negative impact on attainment are widely reported within the British compulsory schooling system (Strand 2007: 10, 82). In this case, the student's freedom is restricted and he consequently adapts his educational aspirations according to what the teacher thinks is possible for him. Of course, the student could decide to go for the highest mark despite all the odds but if this student has been exposed to a cumulative pattern of low teacher expectations throughout his educational life, it becomes increasingly difficult to fight its impact. Thus, on the surface it looks as if the student is making a free personal choice but, in reality, his educational aspirations have been shaped by social constraints. This illustrates that preferences and choices are subjective and explains how the capabilities approach enable us to reach a more enhanced understanding of ethnic inequalities in higher education. Converting resources into capabilities The individual student's ability to convert resources into capabilities also helps to understand ethnic inequalities in higher education because variations in conversion power expand or diminish students' capabilities (Unterhalter 2007: 1-2). For instance, if in a given course, there is one book which contains all the information needed for a particular exam and all the students have been handed a copy of this book, it might seem as if all the students have been given an equal opportunity to do well in this particular exam. However, given students' individuality and their different conversion power, it does not naturally 113
follow that having the resources, in this case the book, will automatically give everybody an equal opportunity. A student with an authoritarian education background might be used to faithfully reproducing the content rather than to critically reflecting on it, which is commonly required within the British higher education system to do well in exams. Or, even if the students have gone through the same education system, their reflective skills might vary and consequently their power to convert the knowledge provided through the book into good exam results. By questioning students' conversion power, the capabilities approach goes beyond measuring resources and provides a more comprehensive picture of ethnic inequalities in higher education by exploring personal, social and environmental factors which cause interpersonal variations in conversion power (Robeyns 2000: 6; Nussbaum 2000: 68). Operational issues What remains is the question how to apply the capabilities approach in practice and therein lays the challenge because the capabilities approach as it stands cannot be used as an evaluation tool. This is because Sen himself has not provided a list of capabilities, arguing that a fixed list which applies to every purpose is neither feasible nor desirable because a fixed list would not only be too generic to be of value for a specific purpose but also deny democratic stakeholder participation (Sen 2004: 77). Besides, Sen argues against a fixed list because a fixed list would not allow for the dynamic and evolving nature of social processes and values (Sen 2004: 78). However, Sen does not deny the usefulness of a list if it has been drawn up for a specific purpose and as long as an open debate has taken place through democratic stakeholder participation (Sen 2004: 79). Therefore, a researcher who applies the capabilities approach to ethnic inequalities in higher education is required, in the first instance, to draw up a purposeful list of capabilities. Within the field of education, so far Walker and Garnett have developed preliminary lists of capabilities: Walker, in relation to gender inequalities in education and largely based on Nussbaum's list of ten capabilities which are kept at an ideological level (Walker 2006a: 128-129; Nussbaum 2000: 81) and Garnett, who has drawn up a more practical list of four capabilities in relation to students' academic freedom (Garnett 2009: 442). Working with lists also involves weighing the relative "importance of the different capabilities", a process which is likely to be influenced by contextual factors and individual perceptions (Sen 2004: 79). Consequently, contextual factors and individual perceptions expose any attempt at drawing up a list of purposeful capabilities to selection bias (Unterhalter 2007: 4). This is because the capabilities approach questions conventions and social constraints and "can be used in a partial and distorted way which does injustice to its ethical underpinning" (Robeyns 2000: 16). Such biases can originate from the different agendas people have or from the social positioning of the researcher. One way of controlling selection bias is through democratic stakeholder participation and that is one reason why Sen insists on participative practices. 114
Hence, the secret to success is to find a way of applying the capabilities approach without jeopardising its comparative advantages. CONCLUSION Ethnic inequalities in higher education cannot be unravelled without acknowledging longstanding and deep-rooted ethnic inequality issues, which in reality are a manifestation of social injustice and this reaches far beyond the field of education. However, to remain within education and so within a sphere where educationalists can make a difference, this paper has explored an alternative theoretical framework which allows for complexity and ambiguity and thereby provides a powerful tool for enhancing the understanding of ethnic inequalities in higher education. It began with the core ideas behind Amartya Sen's capabilities approach and has discussed how these ideas lend themselves to gaining an enhanced understanding of ethnic inequalities in higher education. The human diversity element, which is crucial for capturing interpersonal variations, guards against inappropriate generalisations, which, on the one hand, are a source of stereotyping and stigmatising and, on the other, blur important differences at individual level. This coupled with a holistic approach which considers social aspects beyond rates of return by looking at people's choices and opportunities, adapted preferences and ability to convert resources into capabilities, provides a powerful framework of thought which is bound to throw a new light on ethnic inequalities in higher education. There are however, practical considerations which are important to address if the capabilities approach is to explore new ground. Provided that functionings are not given priority over capabilities for operational reasons and lists of capabilities are purposeful, upto-date and originate from a democratic process of stakeholder participation, the capabilities approach provides a promising theoretical framework for exploring ethnic inequalities in higher education. Ideally, the capabilities approach addresses ethnic inequalities in higher education by providing a more holistic understanding on the basis of which students can be provided with an educational context where differences are no longer a source of disadvantage. 115
REFERENCES Alkire Sabina (2005), `Why the Capability Approach?', "Journal of Human Development", Vol. 6, No. 1, pp. 115-133 Broecke Stijn, Nicholls Tom (2007), "Ethnicity and Degree Attainment", Department for Education and Skills, Research Report No. RW92, London ECU Equality Challenge Unit (2009), "Equality in Higher Education: Statistical Report 2009", Higher Education Statistics Agency, Cheltenham, http://www.ecu.ac.uk/publications/equality-in-he-stats-09 Garnett Robert F (2009), `Liberal Learning as Freedom: A Capabilities Approach to Undergraduate Education', "Studies in Philosophy and Education", Vol. 28, No. 5, pp. 437-447 Hefce Higher Education Funding Council (2010), "Student ethnicity: profile and progression of entrants to full-time, first degree study", London, http://www.hefce.ac.uk/pubs/hefce/2010/10_13/ HEIDI Higher Education Information Database for Institutions (2008), "All degree classifications by ethnicity 2008/09 (11 way split)", The Higher Education Statistics Agency, London, https://heidi.hesa.ac.uk/ Law Ian, Phillips Deborah, Turney Laura (2004), "Institutional Racism in Higher Education", Trentham Books, Stoke on Trent Nussbaum Martha C (2000), "Women and Human Development: The Capabilities Approach", Cambridge University Press, Cambridge Robeyns Ingrid (2000), "An unworkable idea or a promising alternative? Sen's capability approach re-examined", Discussion Paper, Centre for Economic Studies, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Leuven Robeyns Ingrid (2003), `Sen's capability approach and gender inequality: selecting relevant capabilities', "Feminist Economics", Vol. 9, No. 2-3, pp. 61-92 Sen Amartya (1992), "Inequality Reexamined", Oxford University Press, Oxford Sen Amartya (1999), "Development as Freedom", Oxford University Press, Oxford Sen Amartya (2004), `Dialogue Capabilities, Lists, and Public Reason: Continuing the Conversation', "Feminist Economics", Vol. 10, No. 3, pp. 77-80 Shiner Michael, Modood Tariq (2002), `Help or Hindrance? Higher Education and the Route to Ethnic Equality', "British Journal of Sociology of Education", Vol. 23, No. 2, pp. 209232. Strand Steve (2007), "Minority Ethnic Pupils in the Longitudinal Study of Young People in England (LSYPE)", Research Report No DC SF-RR002, Centre for Educational Development Appraisal and Research, University of Warwick, Warwick Unterhalter Elaine (2007), `The Capability Approach and Education', "Prospero", Briefing for the Human Development and Capability Association (HDCA), http://www.capabilityapproach.com 116
Valencia Richard R (1997), "The Evolution of Deficit Thinking: Educational Thought and Practice", The Stanford Series on Education and Public Policy, The Falmer Press, London Walker Melanie (2006a), "Higher Education Pedagogies", Society for Research in Higher Education, Open University Press, Maidenhead Walker Melanie (2006b), 'Towards a capability-based theory of social justice for education policy-making', "Journal of Education Policy", Vol. 21, No. 2, pp. 163-185 Walker Melanie (2009), `Capabilities, Flourishing and the Normative Purposes of Action Research', chapter 24, pp. 301-312 in Noffke Susan, Somekh Bridget (2009), "The Sage Handbook of Educational Action Research", Sage Publications Ltd, London 117
Enabling Education: Adding Value in an Enterprise Culture Neil Murray & Christopher M. Klinger Abstract For societies to compete effectively in a globalised, competitive market economy, higher education is increasingly about producing work-ready graduates. Here, enabling/access education has an important role to play in providing non-traditional pathways, narrowing the knowledge divide, and preparing participants to be successful undergraduates and, ultimately, work-ready professionals. Responding to the question of whether an enterprise culture threatens equity in higher education and recognizing that enabling/access education entails substantial human and financial investment, we explore the views and value of challenges and opportunities offered by non-traditional pathways into higher education, reporting in particular on students' perceptions concerning intellectual and personal dimensions, and identifying strong indications that undertaking enabling/access education adds value in terms of human, social and identity capital; moreover, the transformation in students' lives, and in the lives of those they influence, can be profound. By extension, the impact of such transformation on global societies cannot be other than significant. INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND The term, `enabling education' can, and does, mean many things to many people. It comes in numerous flavours and, given that no standard model exists, it can be difficult to generalize from one setting to another. For the present purposes, however, we use the term synonymously with `access' in the sense of bridging or foundational programs that provide opportunities to undertake higher education for those who lack the usual or traditional prerequisites for university entry and which enable them, not just by providing access but by actively preparing them for success in their future undergraduate studies. From the students' point of view, access education offers new horizons, new possibilities and new opportunities. It appeals to the aspirations of those who hope to enhance the quality of their lives and the lives of those around them. It is also a means of gaining social mobility but entails substantial human and financial investment, and for many, therefore, it is not undertaken lightly. Those who opt in are richly diverse in terms of age and social, cultural, ethnic and educational backgrounds. In many instances, they are the first in their family to seek to enter university and they often do so in the face of considerable sociological and socio-economic obstacles (see, for instance: Kinnear, 2009; Ferrier, 2006, citing Ferrier and Heagney (1999); James, Baldwin, Coates, Krause and McInnis, 2004; Alloway, Gilbert, Gilbert and Muspratt, 2004; IAS, 2003; Elliot, 2002). 118
Given that higher education is increasingly about producing work-ready graduates able to meet the needs of a competitive market economy, in Australia, and indeed elsewhere, there is now a very strong focus on widening participation which has given rise to governmental and institutional imperatives to raise the educational profile of the populace in order for societies to compete effectively in the new globalised economy. However, traditional schoolleaver entrants to higher education cannot satisfy the demand and in Australia, this has led to a need to import skills and expertise via a targeted immigration program (see, for example, Birrell, 2010). While this serves to meet the immediate shortfall, a longer-term solution lies in higher education institutions looking to other than traditional sources from which to recruit new students. Accordingly, access education is currently very much in the limelight in Australia and indeed elsewhere. Its prominence on the political agenda is unprecedented and this is serving as a catalyst for universities to reflect on their role and review their approaches to recruitment and, some would argue, pedagogy as well. It is now part of the political and educational landscape and, perhaps most significantly in Australia, it has been officially underwritten by government through the Bradley Review of Australian Higher Education, the Executive Summary of which states: As the world becomes more interconnected and global markets for skills and innovation develop even further, it will be crucial for Australia to have enough highly skilled people able to adapt to the uncertainties of a rapidly changing future. Higher education will clearly be a major contributor to the development of a skilled workforce but, as never before, we must address the rights of all citizens to share in its benefits... To increase the numbers participating [in university degree programs] we must also look to members of groups currently under-represented within the system, that is, those disadvantaged by the circumstances of their birth: Indigenous people, people with low socioeconomic status, and those from regional and remote areas (Bradley, 2008 p. xi). This mirrors the kind of rhetoric (and the policy initiatives it drives) that has been part and parcel of the political and educational landscape of the UK for the last decade (Naidoo, 2000; HEFCE, 2006). The Bradley report goes on to say that 20% of undergraduate enrolments in higher education by the year 2020 should comprise students from low socio-economic backgrounds and that this target, and individual institutional initiatives, will be linked to financial incentives both for the enrolling university as well as for the student. Clearly, this government-led initiative promotes access pathways into higher education and is both driving and complementing the changing profile of universities from institutions of relative privilege to institutions that accommodate a broader range of needs and interests in response to these new economic demands. This being the case, access education has a key role to play in providing a non-traditional pathway to higher education and preparing 119
participants to be successful undergraduate students. Thus, by definition, it represents a key strategy in closing the gap between those who have access to knowledge and those who do not. The access education `mission' has brought a moral dimension to the education enterprise, one based on notions of equity, social justice and equal opportunity. However, these have been accompanied by more pragmatic forces to do with a productive and fulfilled workforce able to contribute to the socio-economic fabric of the country, as well as by financial imperatives around meeting intake quotas and improving retention and attrition rates. In observing what he describes as `a mass and increasingly marketised higher education system', Haggis makes reference to such forces, claiming that they have `encouraged the idea that "meeting learner needs" should be a key focus for institutional attention' (Haggis, 2006 p. 521). While, as we have indicated, there is no standard model for the delivery of access education, there are, nonetheless, notions of 'value' associated at personal, institutional and social levels that have been largely assumed to exist but for which there is little direct empirical evidence. It was against this backdrop that the research project reported here was undertaken, with a view to establishing whether and how access education, specifically in the form of the University of South Australia's Foundation Studies enabling program, adds value in terms of human, social and identity capital. Any such added value needs to be viewed in the context of the challenges studying in access programmes presents for students, many of whom have to balance their studies with other significant commitments around such areas as work and the family (see, for example, Curtis & Shani, 2002 and Moreau & Leathwood, 2006). Furthermore, it also needs to be viewed in the context of the global enterprise culture overall and, specifically, whether that culture threatens equity in higher education. This is a particularly timely and intriguing question, given the economic climate in the aftermath of the global financial crisis (GFC). In what follows, we describe our methodology and present our initial findings, which reveal the presence of dominant constructs ­ in large part irrespective of the diverse backgrounds typical of enabling education participants. These provide interesting insights into what motivates them and impacts upon their experience, both during and after their involvement with the Foundation Studies program. Furthermore, they offer a framework that will serve as a scaffold for further investigation. METHODOLOGY There is an assumption inherent in the public funding directed towards enabling education programs, namely that such initiatives are regarded as `adding value' in various ways. This forms the basis of the present study, our fundamental hypothesis being that enabling education represents an investment in social capital for the benefit of participating 120
individuals, higher education institutions and society as a whole. A key aspect of the research process was the exploration of factors relevant to that hypothesis, without holding preconceived ideas about what would be found, in order to identify dominant emerging themes. For this reason, we adopted the use of focus groups, unstructured interviews, and thematic analysis as the most suitable protocols for the research in that they avoid the imposition of preconceptions that might otherwise lead the data while also offering the best opportunities to elicit spontaneous responses from participants. `Thematic analysis' is a qualitative research approach that is similar to interpretive content analysis ­ Aronson (1994) describes `the pragmatic process' of the technique. Earlier discussion of this research methodology may be found in the work of Benner (1985), Leininger (1985), Taylor and Bogdan (1984). In essence, the method is a means of dealing with qualitative data in a variety of forms (here, the video footage, recorded audio, and transcripts of the recordings), whereby the subjects' accounts are regarded as a resource that provides a window on their experiences. It is a form of grounded theory, in which one seeks to elicit understanding and development of theory from data rather than imposing possible constraints on the acquisition of data as a consequence of the researcher's theoretical, intellectual, and experiential background. That is, themes are considered emergent constructs rather than pre-determined classifications. The identification of themes relies on a coding scheme that utilises syntactic and semantic analysis of raw materials, including observations of frequency (`coding' means the categorization of the data to group together instances that are regarded as being of the same `type'). In the case of video images, corresponding non-verbal and non-vocal `language' may also be analysed analogously. While this is necessarily subject to the researcher's interpretation (and hence socio-cultural bias), we regard the approach as the most `open' means of exploring concepts of value in the present context. The overall research design for this work consists of three phases of data collection. The first phase entailed comparative focus group studies, using a thematic analysis protocol, with two student cohorts ­ the first comprising those who were current students undertaking the University of South Australia's Foundation Studies program; and the second, former Foundation Studies students who had recently completed the program and were in their first year of undergraduate degree studies. The second phase was a longitudinal case study involving individual meetings, again employing a thematic analysis protocol, with four student subjects ­ two from each cohort. The third phase involved a two-stage study with academic staff across the University community. In Stage 1, subjects were surveyed using a 5-point Likert-scale questionnaire; Stage 2 involved unstructured interviews with the same subjects, again using the thematic analysis protocol. Having gained approval from the University's Human Research Ethics Committee (UniSA HREC), we recruited subjects for Phase 1, which is the focus of this paper. Randomly selected students from each cohort were invited to participate in the study, resulting in a total of 121
eight focus groups (four for each cohort), each with two or three subjects who together attended a single session lasting some 75 minutes. All sessions were conducted over a period of five days and were recorded using a digital video camcorder and separate audio recorder, with the audio recordings professionally transcribed for later analysis in conjunction with the source materials. To facilitate coding and interpretation, we employed NVivo software (version 8). Each session commenced with a general `warm-up' question: "Having just started Foundation Studies/undergraduate study [as appropriate to the cohort], how do you feel on a scale of one to ten, say? Do you feel better in general now than before you started the course?" Our purpose in asking this initial question was to ease the subjects into conversation and get an overall sense ­ without too much introspection ­ of how positively or otherwise they felt about their situations, rather than to elicit detailed responses at this stage. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION During the conduct of the focus groups, and before any formal analysis, we quickly discovered that the discourse could be readily partitioned into two primary categories: intellectual dimensions and personal dimensions. This was not a rigid divide, however, and there were many instances of overlap where specific remarks or observations possessed a degree of duality at a relatively coarse level of interpretation. Included in the intellectual domain were such areas as (i) suitability or preparedness for the challenges of study; and (ii) life experience. The former was revealed through discourse relating to previous study experiences (often relating to school days) and perceptions of ability, including changes in such perceptions; how previous experiences and perceptions influence current expectations; observations about the level of ease or difficulty associated with the current work in comparison with other learning activities, both formal and informal; and related self-efficacy beliefs. This last aspect was often reflected through comparison with perceptions of other students in the subjects' classes/cohort and their description of interactions with their peers ­ some younger, some older, and some with very different and varied backgrounds and experience. For example, Bob (age 19 and a current Foundation Studies student) remarked, "...well I've just come out of school, I've got an advantage back on him [the mature student], the fact that I've been studying for twelve years straight and then I go straight back into studying. I sort of feel like I can get a lot more motivated than maybe he might. He's got family to deal with, you know, other people to think about..." In contrast, Ann (age 50 and a recently transitioned undergraduate student) commented, "...all the new students [young school leavers] have been stressing about you know, their assignments and submitting guidelines and how to write an essay and referencing. It's just we have covered all that last year [in Foundation Studies], so you feel a lot more confident." The second area, life experience, was revealed through discourse around `real world' experiences that the subjects felt had in some way prepared them to be successful at university (or otherwise), in terms of specific, transferable skills and personal qualities such 122
as persistence, problem solving, and managing complex situations or change. A particularly interesting viewpoint was the expression of maturity, motivation, and commitment to engage, along with the articulation of determination to rise to the intellectual challenges, much of which derived from concrete instances of dissatisfaction with past circumstances and/or the desire to achieve more ­ a sense of unrealised potential. Sally (age 24) provides an example: "...I have set out goals for myself, I'm 24, I worked in the supermarket since I left high school and I didn't have the fulfilment that I would have wanted out of my career being in a supermarket, so I decided to put some goals into play of where I want to be in the future...". Subjects often expressed notions that their life experiences gave them an `edge' in a relatively broad sense, fostering an advantageous perspective from which to consider their academic aspirations: "Just from the way I worked for six years, I'm pretty comfortable with the age gap with everyone who's in the course... not being afraid to ask questions in lectures... yes, because you're not so self-conscious of yourself. You've got over all of that by now." (Mark, age 24, current Foundation Studies student). In some, there was a rising awareness of more specific aspects whereby they were beginning to see connections between what they were learning in an academic context and what they already knew from altogether different contexts, so that life knowledge was seen to provide leverage to new learning activities. Notwithstanding that the primary focus driving specific remarks centred on the intellectual, it is worth noting that a strong affective element is present throughout these data, indicating that the subjects' engagement with, and commitment to, their respective learning environments and endeavours is a highly personal affair central to their sense of identity and place, whether as current or former enabling students. In the personal domain, a term which we use here in its domestic sense rather than that of id or ego, thematic constructs that emerged were concerned primarily with three mostly distinct areas: (i) family situation; (ii) work; and (iii) culture (or cultural background). We say `mostly distinct' because in the complexity of real lives, the lines are frequently blurred and any one area can impact upon, or influence, any or all of the others. We proceed cautiously, with that caveat. A fourth region, though not surfacing quite so readily, is that which we venture to term `aspirational' ­ that is, relating to notions of `higher purpose', ideals, and desire to `make a difference'. Family concerns involved a range of factors reflecting aspects of family that influenced subjects' decision to study and/or which impact (either negatively or positively) on their ability to study. These include marital status, having children, family health, caring for others in a domestic situation or other family commitments or pressures, and extend to the perceptions of significant others concerning subjects' educational aspirations and the extent to which the family situation supports or detracts from being an effective student. The dichotomy of this latter aspect is illustrated by the following contrasting statements: 123
"I have to say that with three children, doing the Foundation Program was a big benefit to show us what life was going to be like to study, that's what I found was really good, because they didn't all toe themselves into line for that year. There were lots of nobody really took my studies seriously in the family at the beginning." (Ann) "They're great, they think that I'm up to that stage of starting to better my life and they're very supportive. My sisters joke about it all. They think that deep down I do have the intelligence to do it, I just have to find it a bit..." (Sally) Concerning `work', related factors included the need to work in support of self or others while studying (which was not a universal imperative for our subjects); the impact of work on the ability to attend classes and undertake coursework; encouragement and support (or otherwise) of employers and co-workers; and the notion of whether subjects who worked did so to support their studies or the corollary that study was being undertaken to promote career advancement or as a means to new opportunities. `Culture' and cultural background factors pertain to discourse involving parental and familial expectations in the context of the subjects' cultural and/or socio-economic situation, particularly during earlier formative years, and whether parents or siblings had experienced higher education or whether the subjects are the first in their family to seek to gain a university degree. Closely related aspects were the influences and views of friends and others within social networks. A somewhat surprising non-result was the general absence of reports of negative or derogatory reactions, which might have been expected given that nontraditional students are often in the situation of `breaking the mould' ­ their ambition to effect change in their situation being potentially or actually threatening to significant relationships. In light of the quantity and richness of the data we have collected, for the present purposes we have confined ourselves to a discussion only of notable trends. Specifically, we have provided a `taste' of those themes that have arisen more overtly only within the personal domain (not surprisingly, perhaps, relating to family), leaving the other emergent themes concerning `work' and `culture' for later discussion elsewhere. On a final note, however, something of the powerful, often implicit or covert aspirational theme is revealed in the following remarks: "I don`t know if this is normal, but I want to get fulfilment out of my life. I want to feel like I'm making an impact on something and for what my goals are in my career, that's going to give me fulfilment and it's going to make me enjoy what I'm going to be doing for the rest of my life and I'm going to need that, as opposed to, like I said, working in a supermarket gives you nothing, like you just... if you have got a career where you're helping people, in putting your input in and in a way changing their life in a way, then 124
that's going to make me enjoy what I do every day more than standing at the checkout at the supermarket." (Sally) CONCLUSION In this present work, we have endeavoured to provide the reader with some sense of the background, motivation, and methodology that provide the framework for what is an ongoing project. The notion of `value' has a self-referential quality and is itself a value-laden construct. One might reasonably ask: value to whom, in what sense, and at what cost? What is immediately apparent to us, as investigators, is that we have acquired a very rich collection of data ­ the open methodology of thematic-analysis elicited responses from our subjects that, on the one hand, carry overtly direct information in isolation yet, on the other, also contain covert and indirect messages that need careful consideration both in isolation and in a collective sense, where we begin to see connecting threads. Such connections are hardly apparent in the reading of individual quotes and it would have been cavalier of us to seek to report on such subtleties without first laying the groundwork, which we have sought to do here. However, it is evident even at this stage that `value' attaches in multiple senses ­ there is the value related to human capital as our subjects talk about their skills, knowledge, education and experience (particularly as dynamic constructs); there is the value related to social capital, since their endeavours and aspirations do not exist in a vacuum but rather reside in a metaphorical web of interpersonal relationships; and, perhaps most of all, there is the value of identity capital, in which fundamental aspects of self-definition appear as our subjects talk about their self-image, motivation, hopes, expectations, and fears. Education is a powerful force in transforming lives and societies; aspirations to attain it at a higher level and the success or failure of endeavours to that end are surely powerful influences in transforming personal identity. This is revealed and affirmed by our investigations, through which we have found ample evidence of the valueadded transformative influence of our subjects' enabling education experience. Returning to the notion of whether an enterprise culture is a threat to greater equity in higher education for under-represented groups, our research leads us to believe that in Australia, at least, the impact of an enterprise culture is a driver of public policy and funding around greater participation and that such funding represents a blue-chip investment in social capital. The positive transformative experiences reported by our student subjects might be viewed as a dividend on that investment when students successfully transition to undergraduate degree study, for which they are well prepared. The real return on investment comes when they ultimately leave the HE sector and enter the workforce as productive members of society, contributing to and shaping the global economy. While this is undoubtedly a positive scenario, access education is arguably a social and economic luxury and, as such, not devoid of risk, as evidenced by recent developments in the UK. There, political rhetoric following a change of government signals the new government's rather 125
different view of participation. Business Secretary, Vince Cable, stated recently that `the previous government's commitment to a 50 per cent participation target would be dropped in a move towards greater provision of technical education in further education, more parttime courses and additional adult study' (Morgan, 2010). While he added that this does not represent a change in policy, options are being investigated nonetheless. Cable goes on to criticise the former UK Labour government for focusing too much on "completely artificial" targets for student numbers, explicitly stating that such targets or ceilings should not be set and that the government should move away from the present emphasis on undergraduate degrees and towards the provision of technical apprenticeships in further education. Notwithstanding such ebb and flow in political rhetoric, we assert that the notions of value associated with access education are social constants that are very much in tune with global economic drivers. However, we cannot help but note the irony that in `difficult times' these value notions would appear to be among the first casualties of political expediency. 126
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Lack of Skilled Workers and Equity in Higher Education The Astonishing Effects of Demographic Change in Germany Hannah Leichsenring Abstract There is a lack of skilled and academically qualified workers in Germany's economy already today, and this will, no doubt, be a major problem in the future. A 2009 prognosis indicated that shortages in the academically educated workforce alone would cause a 1.2 billion Euro loss in the GDP by 2020. However, economic problems tend to be followed by social changes, if not changes in the mind-set. In this case, the lack of skilled workers has already had an impact on how the public discusses education, and suddenly, after decades of public discussion on unfair selection processes and social division by education, things are beginning to change ­ first and foremost at an institutional level. Schools and HEIs are starting to develop their own ways of dealing with these challenges. This situation is the point of departure for a two-and-a-half- year project that CHE Consult is undertaking together with eight interested HEIs and with the financial support of the Bertelsmann Foundation. Its goal is to develop surveying and monitoring tools that allow HEIs to act in accordance with their strategy, implement measures and analyse their impact. The institutions need to take into account that their student body is in fact diverse and needs to be treated according to various individual needs. The paper explains the challenges that demographic change pose for German HEIs and strategies to deal with them ­ and why a diversity approach towards student access and retention seems the right way to move forward for ever more institutions. DEMOGRAPHIC CHANGE IN GERMANY Germany's future will be marked by a lack of young people. It seems to be unavoidable that the number of new students will soon be decreasing, in some parts of the country to half of the number today. While most parts of Europe face a decrease in population, the development will be nowhere as dramatic as in the eastern part of Germany (see Graph 1). Moreover, this is not a problem for the distant future. The number of students has already started to drop and will reach 40-50% of the 2005 numbers in the coming years. Overall population growth in Germany has already come to a standstill in recent years and actually decreased in 2008 for the first time (Bundesamt fьr Statistik, 2009). In 2009, a little less than 82 million people lived in Germany ­ that is -0.2% compared to 2008, and the first decrease in population numbers to below 82 million since the Reunification of 1990. 129
Demographic change has three main aspects. Firstly, the population decreases. Secondly, whilst there are less young people, the population grows older ­ and not only because of the smaller number of young people, but also because of extended life expectancy. In Germany, this effect will be even stronger. Due to very low reproduction rates for the last few decades ­ just above 1.3 children per woman - we will see a comparably large older population retiring just when the group of the 20-25 year-olds is starting to decrease (see Graph 2). This not only poses a huge challenge for the labour market because of the need to replace that workforce with a much smaller younger generation, but also threatens the social security system. Graph 1 The demographic development in Europe as a cluster analysis 130
Cluster
Table 1 Definition of the cluster (for Graph 2)
No. of NUTS 3 areas
Average change from 2001 to 2006 (in %)
0-14 y
15-64 y
65+ y
1
144
8.2
6.2
8.9
2
302
-2.3
1.7
5.7
3
363
-7.0
-0.2
16.1
4
249
-14.5
-1.2
4.8
5
100
-25.6
-6.8
18.8
Source: Eurostat, 2010.
Graph 2 Numbers of young (20-25 years) and old (60-65 years) Data source: Statistisches Bundesamt, 2004; Graph by CHE Consult, 2009. Thirdly, the population is becoming more diverse, on the one hand, due to migration and, on the other, because migrants on average tend to have more children than the native German population. These developments affect the HE sector insofar as the traditional student body will decrease in number. At the same time, due to technological and scientific progress as well as the emerging "knowledge society", the aspiration to achieve a university education is growing ­ along with the worldwide increasing need for academically trained staff. Germany's economy today relies in many ways on engineering and natural science, and because of the lack of natural resources, knowledge is said to be the most valuable economic resource. Due to a sophisticated vocational training system, Germany has an above-average rate of trained staff, but a below-average share of academically educated 131
youth. Student drop- out is comparably low, although not low enough considering the comparably high homogeneity of the student body. More importantly, dropout is especially high in engineering and the natural sciences ­ not uncommonly up to 50%.
Three more developments are taking place today: a) a global trend towards antidiscrimination law that has become not only a relevant frame factor for business decisions but has even led to the implementation of diversity management in businesses; b) internationalisation (as a result of deepening European coherence and/or globalisation ­ and in business one important reason for implementing diversity strategies); and c) related to internationalisation, growing competition in the economy as well as in academia. The latter two developments have led to a situation where widening access activities and measures to mine all potentials are not just morally the right thing to do, but emerge as one of the key factors for success in pursuing HEIs' institutional goals. Although student fees exist in only some of the Lдnder and only to a maximum of 500 Euro per semester, the German HE system is strongly socially selective. In particular, first generation students, of German as well as foreign descent, are underrepresented (19. Sozialerhebung, 2009). The pathway to university is easiest for children of academically trained parents, especially if they go to university directly after school.
Already today, there is a lack of skilled and academically qualified workers in Germany's economy, not only in engineering but also in the medical branches and teaching. This lack is certain to become a major problem in the future. A 2009 prognosis indicated that shortages in the academically educated workforce alone would cause a 1.2 billion Euro loss in the GDP by 2020. However, economic problems tend to be followed by social changes, if not changes in the mind-set. In this case, the lack of skilled workers has already had an impact on how the public discusses education, and suddenly, after decades of public discussion on unfair selection processes and social division by education, attitudes are beginning to change ­ in some cases at policy levels, but, first and foremost, at an institutional level.
At present, Germany is to be the most lack of skilled workers, a change that will reduce younger generation in is likely to reduce future as the future workforce
The economic crisis in Germany will become even worse if we do not widen access to higher education and increase the number of skilled and academically trained workers available.
experiencing what appears important reason for the massive demographic the number of the the coming decades. This student numbers - as well ­ to less than two thirds of
the student numbers in 2000. This demographic change promises to have a massive impact
on the development of serious diversity management approaches, in relation to students as
well as to staff in higher education.
All in all, the demographic development challenges the German economy significantly. Even if only the replacement for the retiring workforce is considered, there is a huge gap between 132
the number of workers and the predicted need. In a study carried out for the Robert Bosch Foundation, the authors, McKinsey consultants, estimated an economic loss that will amount to 1.166 billion Euros until 2020, and 60% of that stems from the lack of academically trained workers (McKinsey & Company, 2008). That means the current economic crisis will become even worse in Germany if we do not put every effort into widening access to higher education ­ and increase the number of academically trained workers in the workforce. HIGHER EDUCATION AND DEMOGRAPHIC CHANGE In contrast to the overall dramatic development, the situation in the higher education system appears to be far more complex than explained above. Prior to the predicted drop in numbers in the future (perceptible from 2014 on), there will be a considerable rise in university applicants in the coming years, especially in the western part of Germany. Graph 3 Number of prospective new students 2007-2020, compared to the numbers in 2005. Source: von Stuckrad, T.; Gabriel, G.I. (2007) There are several reasons for this. In fact, the numbers of young people will rise because of the huge numbers in the parent generation (the baby boomers). Although they had a very low reproductive rate in their time, their sheer number leads to a slight increase in their children's generation. A second reason is that the number of prospective students has been rising in recent years. More young people than ever are achieving the Abitur, the qualification for admission to higher education. In addition, there is a third reason for the rise in numbers of prospective students. Due to the political decision to reduce the number of school years from 13 to 12, the number of students leaving secondary school (Gymnasium) will double once, when two cohorts at the same time take the final 133
examination. Although this is something that was decided at the Lдnder level and therefore will not occur in all Lдnder and not for all in the same year, the number of prospective new students will rise. The all-time-peak will be reached in 2013, when in the largest of the Lдnder, North Rhine-Westphalia, the so-called doppelte Abitur-Jahrgang will complete the Gymnasium. Thus, after years of stagnation in student numbers, Germany faces for the first time in decades a growing demand for higher education. However, the higher education system is not very well prepared to actually meet such a growth in demand. There is a tendency for it to be even more selective, since the possibility of creating a large number of places in (and for) a short time is very limited as a consequence of financial and legal regulations. The Lдnder are very active in creating more places. There are newly founded state universities, new regulations, for instance, for retiring professors, enabling universities to retain them longer in active service, and a lot of money to help set up new study programmes or increase the number of places for students. Even more effective is a federal approach via the Hochschulpakt, which contributes not only to the creation of new places but also rewards the Lдnder in the East when they maintain their capacity - despite already facing a decline in student numbers. The economic importance of reaching this goal is obvious; it is the last chance in decades to produce the considerable number of academically trained workers that are needed in our economy. DIVERSITY IN GERMAN HIGHER EDUCATION Traditionally, Germany has a comparably high graduation rate in secondary education. However, in the last few decades, the proportion of a cohort going to university has not grown at the same rate as in other OECD countries (OECD, 2009). In addition, even though it has been a political goal for several years now, Germany is still far away from the target of having 40% of a cohort attend university. Moreover, with the growing demand in the coming years, it will be even more difficult to reach. What appears striking is that ­ especially in the last twenty years ­ widening access to higher education has become a main theme in many Western countries. Whilst in the US it is a societal and political goal to broaden access to education for disadvantaged groups, at least since the beginning of the civil rights movement, many European countries only started their activities in the 1980s and 1990s. England and Sweden, for instance, introduced national committees, which not only came up with a description of the state of education in the respective countries, but also presented concrete ideas on what to do ­ and very actively pursued these ideas politically. In the UK, the Open University was founded and programmes like "Widening Participation" were introduced. Both had a fundamental effect on how higher education was perceived and how it conceived itself. In the Netherlands and Denmark, the strong international orientation changed teaching and learning in universities by focusing on the students' perspective. 134
In Germany, the 1980s were also a time when demand for reform and change within the educational sector increased (which eventually led to the founding of the Centre for Higher Education Development (CHE)), but was displaced by the German Reunion process from 1989 onwards. During this time, education was somewhat of a second level priority. In addition, many of the problems could literally be transferred to the new Eastern Lдnder and have only become important again in the last few years.
Certainly, in Germany there are also measures in place to help disadvantaged groups access
higher education, but only Students from poor families Bundes-AusbildungsBAFцG, a federal law that on the basis of family education. Furthermore, for disabilities, there have been
National policy efforts concerning widening access in Germany`s HE system have not been in line with the fundamental changes in society in recent decades and have been mainly ineffective.
to a limited extent.
are supported by the
Fцrderungs-Gesetz ­
grants financial support
income and course of
students
with
regulations as well as
financial support in place
for a number of years.
Another important issue is access in relation to gender, especially in those study fields where
women are traditionally underrepresented. However, we are far from making use of all the
potential in higher education. Whilst approximately 30% of the younger generation has a
family background of migration, only 8% of students have a background of migration and
only 9% are of a nationality other than German. Whilst approximately 16% of 20 ­ 29 age
group have one child or more, only about 5% of HE students in this age group have a child.
Moreover, the path to higher education is very homogenous; 99% gain a conventional
qualification for admission to higher education in some sort of secondary school.
Additionally, for students whose parents studied at a university, the chances of entering
university almost triple. Consequently, it comes as no real surprise that in comparison with
European or other OECD countries, the German student body is one of the more
homogeneous in Europe (EUROSTUDENT III, 2005-2008).
Thus, judged by the results, the political intent and the means to set and pursue goals to increase the diversity of the student body seem to be limited. There are several reasons that stem from the political and regional structure as well as legal restrictions in the higher education system.
HIGHER EDUCATION IN GERMANY
As higher education is the responsibility of the Lдnder and not the federal state, national goals are not easily set or met. Further, German experiences in the field of educational reform have been disappointing in more than one aspect. The introduction of Gesamthochschulen and other reform institutions such as the Hochschule fьr Wirtschaft und Politik (HWP) in Hamburg have been attempts to overcome the selectivity of the German system. This relies on the parallel streams of Universitдten (universities) on the one hand 135
and Fachhochschulen (universities of applied sciences) on the other. Further, this distinction represents a hierarchy of quality (research vs. practice-oriented education). Today, it is clear that those experiments failed. The Fachhochschulen tried to become "real" universities and thereby got rid of almost all ideas and policies regarding reform and widening access. Moreover, the activities for the advancement of women in higher education in recent decades have been somewhat disappointing. Despite many more female students (by now about 50% of the student body) and despite all the (financial) effort put in this area, we did not really reach a substantial advancement in classic "male" disciplines (like engineering) or in permanent academic staff. Consequently, it is not easy to see how a new political goal of the federal government, such as having more students with previous vocational training (and no conventional access qualification), will actually lead to a larger proportion of those groups of students. The same is true of the goal of spending 10% of GDP on education pursued by the federal government in the context of the Bildungsrepublik (Republic of Education Germany). These aspirations seem to be inadequately reflected at the Lдnder level in a similar goal-oriented way. Whilst some Lдnder are introducing diversity factors in their budgeting systems (such as Berlin, Hamburg, Bremen), other Lдnder, e.g. Hessen, plan to cut the budget for higher education by 20% or threaten to close down whole faculties, like a large faculty of medicine in Schleswig-Holstein. (This is especially peculiar since Germany already faces a lack of trained personnel in medicine. The argument of the government in Schleswig-Holstein was that today, the number of places in medicine in their region is above average ­ and so, in the end, they are forced to finance this very expensive faculty only for the benefit of other Lдnder.) This raises the question how the responsibilities concerning education should be shared between the Lдnder and the federal government (cf. Berthold, C., Gabriel, G., Ziegele, F., 2007, where CHE introduces "Aktihf" as a programme to help overcome the existing division between federal and Lдnder level). However, despite a lively discussion and goals set by the federal government, the intermediate level responsible (e.g. the Lдnder) is often not too keen on developing ­ and financing ­ education. This is also the case in other federally organised countries like the US or Canada. It seems that all too often the intermediate level is too short-sighted for longterm developments (such as education), and the competitive forces of a federal system seem to be most simply enforced when it comes to cutting education budgets. As the federal government is not allowed to finance or regulate education, it is not surprising that widening access has not been prioritised in recent decades in Germany. Hence, one of the most important drivers for innovation in the German educational sector has become the EU, especially the social components of the Bologna process. Although they might seem somewhat unspecific and not very progressive in the perspective of other European countries, they represent a challenge for German universities as well as for lawmakers. 136
Another important reason why higher education institutions only rarely pursue the goal of increasing the diversity of their student body is that they do not know much about it. Under the current data privacy regulations, German universities know only little about their students' socio-economic status, migration and educational background. Most institutions neither know the number of students with disabilities or of students with children, nor are they able to monitor the distribution of this group among faculties, their success rates or difficulties in the course of their studies. Yet, this information is necessary to set goals and measure success. Apparently, most universities try to help students with such "disadvantages" and set up programmes supporting specific groups. However, they can only do so with a trial-and-error technique without being able to measure its effectiveness. At the same time, those programmes are subject to funding cuts. Most institutions also do not seem to be able to establish a common approach towards these groups ­ or towards diversity as an institutional goal. In addition, this seems to be true for political goals that need to be translated into institutional goals in order to be met.
In recent years, this was exemplified in the controversial political debate that arose about
access for students with unconventional qualifications. The general qualification, the Abitur
not only qualifies a student for university, but also is accompanied by the right to enter
university. In theory at least, the only obstacle remaining then is the limited number of
places on the desired study programme. The Abitur can also be obtained through school
exams or some However, in this case it universities or for all have been a number of creating access for those vocational education
Finally, there is a serious German discussion on widening access to Higher Education developed from a different perspective that may arrive at similar conclusions as the international debate.
vocational qualifications. may not be valid for all study programmes. There policy initiatives aimed at who have completed a achieving the Meister, the
highest vocational level
qualification which is not a
university access qualification in its own right. On the Lдnder level, new laws have been
introduced granting university access to this group. On the federal level, a scholarship
programme addressed to this group was established, and received many requests.
Nevertheless, despite all the effort, we see that the number of universities accepting
qualifications other than the Abitur as a means to accessing university has even decreased in
the last few years.
It is also clear that the need to act has been considerably weaker than in other countries. Not only did the Reunion steer our thinking in different directions, but ­ as a very rich and comparably homogenious country ­ it was easy to overlook the growing problems, despite all warnings. This oversight has definitely changed. Although politicians seem to be more hesitant than the urgency of the problem suggests, there are a number of activities. Several private institutions, such as foundations and companies, have engaged in this discussion and faciltitate studies and projects through financial support. Universities are starting to develop
137
a perspective on the problems and opportunities of diversity on their own ­ and they seem to be coming to similar conclusions as universities in other countries. UNIVERSITIES START TO ENGAGE Just within the last few years in particular, several universities have started to engage in diversity activities in two ways. On the one hand, they are trying to cope with the challenges imposed by changes in the labour market and in society. On the other, they are beginning to pool their existing, small-scale activities into comprehensive approaches meant to change the university on structural, cultural as well as ideological levels. Three of those institutions will be presented here to exemplify the reasoning behind these activities and the consequences they have for the identity and, sometimes, the very existence of the institutions. - The Technical University of Munich, a technically oriented university that describes itself as "The Entrepreneurial University" and has gained the status of an "Excellence University" on the basis of this mission statement. - The University of Applied Sciences in Zittau/Gцrlitz, also a technically oriented institution but situated in a geographically secluded area already very much affected by the demographic changes. - The University of Applied Sciences Hamm-Lippstadt, a newly founded institution whose rationale it is to ensure the supply of academically educated workers for the regional companies in the coming years. Those are three of eight institutions that are participating in the project "Diversity as an Opportunity" (for more on this project, see the next section). Technical University Munich The Technical University in Munich (TUM) is one of the most prestigious universities in Germany. With approximately 24,300 students in 137 study programmes provided by 13 faculties, it is a university of average size. Its main focus is on technical fields and science, but it also has teacher training programmes in several fields. The introduction of a "School of Education" that forms the institutional base for these programmes, which take place mainly in the science and technology departments, is a very innovative structure for teacher training at universities in Germany. In the course of the "Excellence Initiative" of the federal government, the TUM was awarded the title of a so-called "Elite University" by defining itself as "the entrepreneurial university" and proposing structures and institutions that help to create an entrepreneurial environment for its fields ­ first and foremost, technology and science. This concept achieved a publicity highlight when the president of the university this year announced that in the framework of an interdisciplinary project, the university would develop its own 138
electronic car in order to promote technological progress. The university is also one of Germany's internationally visible universities. It has a high reputation internationally; it furthers international exchange in research as well as teaching and so is an attractive destination for international students. It can attract high potential students as well as highranking researchers. However, technology has been a field that has attracted less and less students in recent decades, which now, in times of a shortage of skilled workers, has already become an economic threat. Just as in most industrialised countries, enthusiasm for technological progress and technical solutions has faded among young people in Germany during the last few decades. Until now, the older generation has provided a large and highly trained workforce ­ this even meant diminished career possibilities for young people for some time, even when their numbers were already decreasing. This worldwide diminishing interest among young people today also increases the international competition for highly skilled students and researchers in those fields. Another challenge within this tremendously innovative and ever-changing environment is to keep the workforce up-to-date with technological and scientific progress. Thus, employees become an increasingly important target group for the TUM. The growing lack of technicians is especially hard on teacher training programmes in these fields, because the competition between schools and the industry is determined by money and this contributes to a lack of teachers in technological as well as some science fields. Those teachers are especially needed in the vocational training schools ­ and so this development also threatens the unique German Ausbildungssystem (system of vocational training). These were some of the reasons why the TUM started to engage in diversity activities some years ago. These activities also led to the signing of the Charta der Vielfalt (Charter of Diversity) in 2007. This is an initiative of the federal government together with companies which wanted the Charta as a signal of their commitment to the cause of diversity management. With this signature, the TUM committed itself to further cultural sensitivity and social competence as educational aims. This led to a new mission for the newly founded "School of Education". The school is not only dedicated to the improvement of TUM's teacher training by developing new educational ideas and methods but will also play a role in improving the teaching at TUM altogether, which entails not only cultural diversity but ­ in the case of a technological university ­ also gender diversity. Moreover, the TUM would not be the TUM if they did not set high goals in this department, too, the objective being for the TUM to become the women-friendliest technological university in Germany. Although there is also the question of educational justice, it seems fair to say that the TUM's diversity activities are driven by two forces, the quest for excellence on the one hand, and the shortage of highly skilled students and researchers in the relevant fields, on the other. 139
Although this shortage has not been demographically induced until now, the existing shortage will be exacerbated by the demographic development, and the need to act is even greater. University of Applied Sciences Zittau/Gцrlitz Situated on the borders with Poland and the Czech Republic, the two cities of Zittau (about 25.000 inhabitants) and Gцrlitz (about 55.000 inhabitants) host a university of applied sciences. The two cities are about 35 km apart and are surrounded by a rural and only sparsely inhabited region, and both cities share the destiny of being shrinking cities. As a consequence of the German Reunion, the reproductive rate in this area ­ as everywhere in Eastern Germany ­ dropped sharply, and there has been a further reduction of the population through migration, often to the western part of Germany. Unemployment in this area is still high (today, in Gцrlitz about 27%; in Zittau about 15%), and at the same time, industry already has a lack of skilled workers, which is set to worsen. At the institution, there are 3.800 students today, 130 professors and 100 researchers. Whilst fields like social work, computer science and specialised business administration (tourism, health and culture) are located in Gцrlitz, Zittau hosts civil engineering, technology, mathematics and natural sciences, languages and business administration. Zittau/Gцrlitz is also struggling with the diminishing interest of the young generation in technology, and therefore, there are a lot of activities for schools and other projects, especially for girls, in the whole region. These projects not only provide information about study programmes but also give young people the opportunity to experience technology and science as a creative discipline and support schools in providing lively and hands-on teaching in these fields. This lack of interest is compounded by the problem of a below-average tendency to study among young people in this region. One important reason is that there is a wide-spread feeling among young people in Germany that career-wise, it is safer to start vocational training at a company than to study without much contact with potential employers. In order to lower this threshold for new students, Zittau has introduced the KIA programme. Instead of only offering studies at the university, the programme consists of very intensive practical phases in the apprenticing company in the form of a so-called dualen Studiengang (dual study programme). These kinds of programme now exist for all technological fields of the university and they are even spreading to further fields. Among the KIA programmes, there are now part-time study programmes for employees as well as programmes during which the student can gain his or her qualification for access to higher education while, at the same time, taking university courses. In its environment, the only opportunity a university has is to find new ways to attract students from everywhere and address new target groups as students. The diversification of programme offers in the KIA department, in particular, is starting to change the institution itself. The dual study programmes are gaining more and more importance compared to the 140
conventional programmes, especially in technological disciplines. They are drawing new kinds of students with other needs and goals into the university ­ creating a situation where the university needs to develop instruments that help deal with this kind of diversity in a way that ensures highly qualified graduates. This means not only high quality teaching, but also finding new ways to include new groups of students in the university and living up to their ­ maybe different ­ ideas about studying, career and life. University of Applied Sciences Hamm-Lippstadt The University of Applied Sciences Hamm-Lippstadt has just come into existence. In 2009, North Rhine-Westphalia founded three new universities of applied sciences as one means to deal with the growing number of young people in the coming years ­ and as a way to finally increase the proportion of academics per cohort in the years following. The decision where to found those three institutions was made by means of a competition where communities could apply. In those applications, the economic structure of the region as well as the demographic prognosis played a role. There are several regions in North Rhine-Westphalia where companies are very aware of the demographic situation and the threat it poses to their forthcoming workforce. That is true for Lippstadt. Hamm, some 50 km away from Lippstadt, has a population with a low educational level and a high proportion of migrants. That was the reason why the two cities Hamm and Lippstadt had no problem involving companies in the work on their application. There are a large number of small and mediumsized companies for which the demographic change poses an existential threat. If it is not possible to recruit young professionals from the region, it is either very expensive or virtually impossible to lure new personnel to a less than first or second-rate region. That means creating an environment that allows for better education, starting with close ties between local schools and higher education institutions from the very beginning. Today, the university has about 100 students in five study programmes. The institution will grow continuously up to 2.500 students. The study programmes will have an emphasis on technical and engineering programmes and regional employers are still actively involved in the process. Newly founded universities have an advantage in that everything is possible. From the buildings and infrastructure to internal organisation, the university is free to create something new. Hamm-Lippstadt has used this opportunity to introduce matrix structures instead of faculties, to plan buildings accessible for handicapped students and staff, and to introduce a diversity management approach in human resources as well as in students' affairs. The teaching and learning environment is to be suitable for different groups and to provide the best opportunities for all students to develop according to their potential. 141
DIVERSITY AS AN OPPORTUNITY The TUM, the University of Applied Science in Zittau/Gцrlitz and the University of Applied Science Hamm-Lippstadt are project partners in a two-and-a-half-year project with CHE Consult. Altogether, there are eight institutions in the project, and they pursuing the goal of developing surveying and monitoring tools that will allow HEIs to act according to their strategy, to implement measures and to analyse their impact. In the course of the project, a student survey will be developed that measures diversity in relation to not only gender, family background and such, but also study-related characteristics such as goal-orientation, identification with the institution and motivation. The institutions need to take into account that their student body is, in fact, diverse and needs to be treated according to various individual needs. The following are the main research questions. How can universities see diversity as an opportunity (instead of an obstacle)? What do universities need to know about their students in order to create a supportive environment for everybody? What do they need to do to create such an environment? Last but not least, in what ways must universities change in order to be able manage their own diversity? This might pose fundamental questions regarding what a student and what a professor should be like and in what ways higher education institutions contribute to society and take on societal responsibility. The project is supported by the Bertelsmann Foundation. HIGHER EDUCATION CHANGES When a higher education system takes on the challenge of diversity, a mind-set change is inevitable. Policy changes and institutions are only the first step and further steps are needed until the persons involved themselves believe in the idea of diversity and do not simply follow the rules. Only if an institution is sensitive to external drivers (like demographic change, globalisation, the need for skilled workers, etc.) can widening access become an institutional goal. One way to be more sensitive to those developments is to have a demand-driven higher education system. Then, the needs and wishes of students become more relevant than in a supply-driven system. This also means that the university needs to know more about its students, which is particularly important because the "old students", some of who are professors today, and the "new students" of today, who might not have found the way to university a few decades ago, are very different in many respects. If professors believe that they know the state of mind of a student from their own study times, they just might be wrong. They need much more objective information on how students feel today, what they want and what they are striving for. 142
In this context, the notion of "Diversity of Excellence" might be helpful to differentiate different kinds of students without creating a hierarchy like the one between the "real", academically motivated students on the one hand and "non-real", mostly career-oriented students on the other. In this discussion, the notion of "added value" might help; not only seeking out high potential students, but exhausting all potential might be the goal of higher education in the 21st century. Finally, let us not forget that, in the end, it is about the joy it brings to help young people find their way in life and make the best of it. 143
REFERENCES Berthold, C., Gabriel, G. I., Ziegele, F. (2007). 'Aktivierende Hochschul-Finanzierung (AktiHF) Ein Konzept zur Beseitigung der Unterfinanzierung der deutschen Hochschulen.` CHEArbeitspapier 96. Retrieved September, 15th 2010 from http://www.che.de/downloads/Aktihf_AP96.pdf Borchert, L., Leszczensky, M. (2009). `Die wirtschaftliche und soziale Lage der Studierenden in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland 2009 ­ 19. Sozialerhebung des Deutschen Studentenwerks durchgefьhrt von HIS Hochschul Informations System. Retrieved September, 15th 2010 from http://www.sozialerhebung.de/pdfs/Soz19_Haupt_Internet_A5.pdf Brandenburg, U. et al. (2009): `Diversity in Neighbouring Countries of Germany', CHE Arbeitspapier 121. Retrieved September, 15th 2010 from http://www.che.de/downloads/CHE_AP121_Diversity_Policies.pdf Eurostat (2010). `Ageing in the European Union: where exactly?' - Issue number 26/2010. Retrieved on September, 15th 2010 from http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/cache/ITY_OFFPUB/KS-SF-10-026/EN/KS-SF-10-026EN.PDF. EUROSTUDENT III (2005 - 2008): Social and Economic Conditions of Student Life in Europe. Retrieved September, 15th 2010 from http://www.eurostudent.eu:8080/ McKinsey & Company (2008). im Auftrag der Robert Bosch Stiftung: Zukunftsvermцgen Bildung. Wie Deutschland die Bildungsreform beschleunigt, die Fachkrдftelьcke schlieЯt und Wachstum sichert. Retrieved September, 15th 2010 from http://www.boschstiftung.de/content/language1/downloads/McKinsey_Studie_gesamt_small_2.pdf OECD (2009). Education at a glance. Retrieved September, 15th 2010 from http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/41/25/43636332.pdf Statistisches Bundesamt (2004). 10. koordinierte Bevцlkerungsvorausberechnung, Variante 5. Retrieved September, 15th 2010 from http://www.destatis.de/jetspeed/portal/cms/Sites/destatis/Internet/DE/Presse/pk/200 6/Bevoelkerungsentwicklung/bevoelkerungsprojektion2050,property=file.pdf (2009). Pressemitteilung Nr.417 vom 04.11.2009. Bevцlkerung in Deutschland Ende Mдrz 2009 unter 82 Millionen. Retrieved on September, 15th 2010 from http://www.destatis.de/jetspeed/portal/cms/Sites/destatis/Internet/DE/Presse/pm/20 09/11/PD09__417__12411,templateId=renderPrint.psml von Stuckrad, T.; Gabriel, G.I. (2007). `Die Zukunft vor den Toren - Aktualisierte Berechnungen zur Entwicklung der Studienanfдngerzahlen bis 2020`, CHE Arbeitspapier 100. Retrieved on September, 15th 2010 from http://www.che.de/downloads/CHE_Prognose_Studienanfaengerzahlen_AP100.pdf 144
Widening Access to the Global Stage: the Critical Value of Enterprising Intervention and The Summer [email protected] Amanda J McLeod & Christine Percival Abstract With European emphasis on increasing the human capital of a knowledge-based economy, it has been argued that the combined research and education profile of universities should make them capable of producing the highest quality, work-ready innovators, skilled in research and in the development of products and services contributing to their economy's competitive edge, within an increasingly globalised marketplace. As the manner of economic progress continues to make greater demands on the populace, it is clear that, to ensure success, an access mission is not only commensurate with today's free market ideology; on the most fundamental level it is more critical than ever and educators must rise to the challenge of creating active, empowered learners from all social strata if we wish to increase human capital. This will be argued through a study of the successes of The Summer [email protected], a widening participation initiative delivered by University of Strathclyde since 1999. INTRODUCTION The Case for Educational Intervention Over the last two years, we have faced the world's worst economic crisis since the 1930s. This crisis has reversed much of the progress achieved since 2000. We are now facing excessive levels of debt, sluggish structural growth, and high unemployment. The economic situation is improving, but the recovery is still fragile. (European Commission, Brussels 2010) At a critical crossroads in European economic recovery, a meeting of The European Council in March 2010 began to piece together a new strategy, emerging from the shortfalls of the Lisbon Agenda, to try to establish the foundations upon which economic prosperity could be reconstructed. Europe 2020, formally adopted in June, aims `to raise to 75% the employment rate for women and men aged 20-64, including through the greater participation of young people, older workers and low-skilled workers and the better integration of legal migrants' (EUCO 2010, p.11). This clearly demonstrates that despite the progress made since 1999 toward increased social inclusion and toward raising the skills level of the population, many of the same issues of exclusion remain and targets set in 1999 to lower school dropout rates beyond compulsory education are yet to be achieved. 145
This shortfall can only have a detrimental effect on an individual's chances within an increasingly competitive job market. In an OECD publication analysing the impact of learning in 2009, a section on policy context begins `Rising skills demands in OECD countries have made qualification at the upper secondary level the minimum credential for successful labour market entry. Upper secondary education serves as the foundation for advanced learning and training opportunities, as well as preparation for direct entry into the labour market.' (OECD, 2009, p.46). The challenge faced by educators, therefore, is made more complex by new economic pressures. In order to address these challenges and to increase that ubiquitous notion of `increasing human capital', we must build on those supportive programmes and interventions which have worked to improve participation beyond the minimum requirement and to encourage young people to participate more effectively in their education, particularly with regard to accessing Higher Education. Widening Participation in the West of Scotland: A Challenge Curriculum The Summer [email protected] ([email protected]) is an intervention programme designed by the Innovative Routes to Learning (IRL) team at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, to raise the aspirations of young people aged 14-15 to enter Higher Education. The [email protected] was first presented to delegates at the 9th EAN conference in 2000 following the second year in which the two-week programme was delivered and the first of eight in which substantial funding would be provided by the West Forum, a government-funded initiative which aimed to tackle low participation rates in the West of Scotland. In the West of Scotland, as in many parts of the UK and Europe, it was recognized that there were significant numbers of pupils in the early stages of secondary school education who lacked the motivation to apply themselves to study and who consequently under-achieved in national examinations, particularly those attending schools in areas of serious socioeconomic difficulty. Such shortfalls in attainment meant that these young people were unlikely to remain in school beyond the compulsory age of 16 or to gain the higher-level qualifications that would allow them to progress into Further or Higher Education. In many cases, the problem was compounded by a lack of awareness of the educational opportunities available post-school and an assumption that their socio-economic circumstances would automatically make FE or HE an impossibility. The Scottish Further and Higher Education sectors recognised these issues and a commitment was made to combating them through the launch of a Scottish Widening Access Agenda, in response to which the University of Strathclyde incorporated equity of access as an integral part of its Strategic Plan (1999-2003). The aim was to raise aspirations amongst young people who had, perhaps, little prior experience of university and who required additional support and motivation, by bringing them onto the university campus, to engage with a sequence of activities that would develop their ability to learn and their prospects of academic progression. After months of planning and development, the result 146
was a two-week `Challenge-based Curriculum', based on a `Challenge in Learning' ethos, which remains at the heart of IRL intervention programmes. The Summer Academy primarily sought to address the issue of student motivation to learn. To this end, the Challenge Curriculum was and still is based on academic subjects but provides contexts that are more relevant to young people. Closely linked to the Challenge ethos is the idea of `stealth learning'. Young people often work on the relevant skill set which underpins the Challenge design without overtly realising it, and knowledge of a curricular area is used as the means for young people to achieve their goal, rather than being the goal itself. Challenge activities are designed to provide relevance to young people and involve a large degree of active and cooperative learning. Flexible by design, they can be cross-curricular or aimed more specifically at one school subject and range in length from 1.5 hours to 5 days. Challenges are based on a variety of engaging themes including health, law, business, pharmacy, fashion, the environment, fair-trade, events management, engineering, media and modern languages. All feature common elements of team-work, confidence-building, critical thinking, innovation, and both group and individual responsibility. The longevity of the [email protected] programme has enabled IRL and The West Forum to gather a substantial amount of data pertaining to its success over the past decade, which can be measured by the statistics demonstrating, for example, raised aspiration and better than expected academic attainment. In addition, however, success can also be measured by the growing alignment between the programme ethos and developments in European education policy, which has moved in recent years toward a more skills-based ethos with an emphasis on active learning. This paper will discuss [email protected] successes in relation to the current economic demands of a `knowledge economy' and will argue that both the economic and the noneconomic benefits of widening participation must continue to be supported from within an academically and holistically robust policy framework in order to meet those demands. ACCESS AND THE ENTREPRENEURIAL QUANDARY Changing Priorities in Higher Education Since the Lisbon Strategy set its specific targets for Europe in 1999, the race to become the most innovative economy in the world has taken root in an unprecedented governmental focus on higher education. In the past two decades, `European governments have begun to see higher education institutions as potential spearheads of technological advance and hence of economic and social well-being' (Williams, in Shattock, 2009, p.17) and in May 2006, the European Commission stated their position on how best to `modernize Europe's universities' in preparation for the economic challenges ahead. `European universities', they said, had `enormous potential, much of which unfortunately goes untapped because of various rigidities and hindrances' (CEC, 2006/208) These hindrances were identified within 147
management and financial structures and HEIs have consequently faced a radical overhaul not least in terms of the amount of quality research output required to access funding within new systems of finance. Consequently, universities have diversified their means of generating income in ways that are more in keeping with a free market ideology than reliance on the relative security of state funding enjoyed in the past. Up until the 1990s, many public universities relied almost entirely on core government funding, however the past 15 years in particular have seen a marked rise in student numbers, a deluge of new HEIs and a subsequent increase in the breadth of degree courses offered, as well as greater pressure to produce acclaimed research. These increases have not been met with a relative increase in core funding, therefore additional funding must be sought via marketplace bids to national government funding `pots', directly to European funding streams and through privately generated research revenue obtained through activities such as the formation of industry partnerships (Shattock, 2009, p. 2). More time in HEIs must now be devoted to creating effective research proposals and making applications for competitive research grants, as well as attracting international students to increase both prestige and income. Research is seen as the foundation of innovation; universities are `responsible for 80% of the fundamental research conducted in Europe' (Shattock, 2009, p.1) and so in attempting to position themselves as leading experts in a particular area (such as science and technology, for example, seen as one of the key areas of economic development), HEIs place themselves in direct competition with one another both at home and abroad. It is hardly surprising that as institutions they have begun to behave more like businesses, reacting to market pressures. In this environment, the subject of Widening Participation becomes more complex. It can and has been argued (see, for example, Thomas, 2001 and Shattock, 2009) that in terms of government moves to expand Further and Higher Education, direct economic motivations play a far greater role than a desire that individuals should benefit from the more holistic personal development additional learning brings and indeed the expansion of both sectors in the past decade in particular has been broadly in response to the economic priorities set out in Lisbon. European governments are committed to `increasing human capital' and using that capital to develop new technologies which will position Europe as a leader in innovative goods and services. By the same decree they must, however, also be committed to combating the social exclusion that prevents wider prosperity and in the fight to overcome this, education is a major player. The needs of the economy and of social justice are not mutually exclusive, quite the opposite, and the benefits of increased opportunities to access higher education as a building block in the creation of a successful economy has long been the basis for policy in support of widening access activities: 148
It has become clear that educational attainment is not only vital to the economic well-being of individuals but also for that of nations [...] Educational outcomes also extend beyond individual and national income. Education is a force that develops well-rounded and engaged citizens, and builds more cohesive and participatory societies. (OECD, 2002) The danger is that this is not emphasized strongly enough to the HEIs themselves. Under pressure to produce leading research, they may be guilty of losing sight of the value of education for its own sake as a vital contributor to a more equitable society. Expansion of Higher Education: Contraction of Widening Participation In her study Widening Participation in Post-compulsory Education, Liz Thomas argues that lower rates of participation among low income groups `is the most persistent failing of the post-compulsory education system in the UK' (Thomas, 2001, p. 67) and a brief study of the access support for non-traditional young people in Scotland alone shows a lack of consistency between consecutive governments. Educators are faced with a routine battle to retain services which have achieved success or else to develop new approaches that retain the integrity of an access agenda whilst aligning programmes with current initiatives and new benchmarks. In addition, it is challenging to develop strategies which are able to tackle the range of barriers experienced by the individuals within a broad target group of socially excluded or deprived young people, and widening access to such groups comes with a responsibility for HEIs to offer support for participants who, having overcome the hurdle of initial access, need help to complete a course of study. The reality is that the same structural changes designed to support more entrepreneurial institutions have often led to a streamlining of these services and widening access missions have suffered as a result. Even before the publication of the Robbins Report in 1963, the UK Higher Education sector was expanding ­ the group of new universities now known as the `plate-glass' institutions of the 1960s were already at the planning stage and some had begun to take shape ­ and it had become evident to education researchers that there was a relative increase in the number of learners able to undertake courses at degree level. Cultural critic Richard Hoggart wrote in 1996 that the expansion `confirmed that there was far more talent in the country than we had guessed or were willing, out of class-and-culture meanness, to recognise' (Hoggart, 1996, p.42). In the last years of the 20th century, the value placed on a widening access agenda was evident throughout the UK education system. A variety of initiatives were put in place by the government and there was an evident will within universities to meet the targets set for increasing participation amongst non-traditional young people. By 2009, however, this agenda had slipped in status and the total revenue made available to Higher Education in 2010 for Widening Participation initiatives dropped by 0.75%. 149
This has been exacerbated within HEIs by increased competition to attract the very top students, the majority of whom are more likely to be young people with greater access to a culture of academic attainment. As a consequence, even an increase in places has had limited impact on the type of students accessing Higher Education, particularly in more traditional universities, and admissions to institutions such as these have become increasingly competitive as a result, perpetuating the barriers to young people from lower social groups. The picture has been more positive in the new universities, where there is a greater degree of flexibility of access, less restrictive entry requirements and a variety of courses on offer, which attract the type of student looking to pursue more vocational `workready' courses. However, the announcement by the UK government in February 2010 that there would be 10,000 fewer places available than in previous years only serves to exacerbate the pressure upon young people attempting to access all institutions to achieve top grades and again reinforces the barriers to participation for those who have no preinclined route into HE and who are thus less likely to attain the highest grades at the end of S5. Essentially, it must be remembered that to nurture creativity, to become innovative individuals and to contribute to our economic prosperity, more young people must have access to further study to enable them to fully develop their potential. Lacking a cultural heritage that supports entry to HE does not mean lack of ability to succeed within HE. After all, as Hoggart points out, if more places have been filled by more young people, albeit supported young people, pro-rata, then it is clear that `out there', beyond our hallowed university gates, are many more who have the capacity to study at a higher level, the ability to gain degrees and the potential to add their own contribution to our much lauded Knowledge Economy. Yet decreases in access and support would seem to indicate a disincentive to HE institutions and, beyond, to employers, to widen access and support the potential of our `human capital' and it is difficult to envisage any restoration of support in the current economic climate. On many levels, this back-peddling seems reckless. Globally, developing countries like China are investing more in education as we reduce funding at every level and even more locally, our European neighbours in, for example, Germany, are continuing to commit increased funding to HEIs and for obvious reasons. If the target is to create a country able to contribute at European level, local populations must be encouraged to develop and look outwards so that the strengths of each region can be recognised and their needs met through interaction with the wider world. The aim of the Bologna Process, an agreement made in 1999 between 29 European countries, was to support this, working toward increasing mobility between European HEIs and thereby enhancing European competitiveness. However, in this process we must not neglect that group of disenfranchised individuals who have much potential and little chance to develop it. By failing to increase opportunities to mobilize that section of the population who are already least likely to pursue such opportunity, we simply compound social division and construct even greater barriers to social inclusion. 150
This warning is an economic one, and applies in the simplest sense to the potential contribution made by an increased number of skilled graduates in our push towards a greater `wealth of knowledge'. The liberal school of thought adds to this the notion that education is not just about qualifications, it is also about giving young people a voice with which to change their lives, about tackling social exclusion by empowering them to make decisions about what they want to achieve. We want young people to achieve better qualifications so that they can access Higher Education and develop into valuable graduates from our economic point of view and from their own, but we also want their education to provide them with the skills to be able to use the information inherent in those qualifications, to understand how it applies to the world and to know what they can do with it once they get out there. The issue of widening access to post-compulsory education is therefore complex and it must also be acknowledged that, in an economic sense, increasing participation levels within any social sector may be irresponsible where there is no requisite increase in what would previously have been deemed `graduate level jobs', possibly even more so where access to and completion of an HEI course requires a more difficult process of investment by the student, both emotionally and financially. What we must face, however, is that all young people in 2010 have a greater need for supported access to Higher Education than did their peers 20 years ago, simply in order that they can be in the running for careers in the service industry or low-level jobs in technology, as employers in the professional sector become increasingly inclined to screen applicants for those traditionally better paid jobs in, for example, law firms, finance or business management. As educators, it is our responsibility to prepare young people for the demands which will be placed upon them by the world of work and at a time when research and development programmes are continually reconstructing the economy and how our jobs contribute to growth, this means providing learners with the ability to continue developing new skills and to cope with job insecurity through adaptability and skill transfer. Greater job insecurity requires that the workforce is able to keep pace with change: `The need to keep up with incessant change is essentially what drives employees to develop new skills and abilities. These go beyond the constant updating of technical knowledge, for they also pertain to the capacity to understand and anticipate change' (OECD 2004, p.25) CREATING INNOVATORS [email protected] Ethos and Practice This approach to learning must be fostered within compulsory education so that pupils come to the end of secondary schooling with a desire to keep learning, to investigate and to excel in their areas of strength. Creativity, empowerment and inclusive learning are the essential bedrock of an education system that supports the aims of Europe 2020 in raising aspiration 151
and attainment and making lifelong learning attractive and this has been a fundamental aim of the [email protected] programme. Yes, it is intended to raise aspirations to enter Higher Education and, yes, raised academic attainment is a measured KPI of the programme. The actual challenges in which the young people participate, however, are designed to show them that they already possess strengths which they may not currently equate with the ability to achieve academic success, strengths which can in fact be applied to school subjects. A sense of autonomy is developed through granting each participant ownership of their learning and allowing them to apply these existing strengths in contribution to new outcomes. Challenges give young people a chance to participate actively in the learning process. As part of a team, individuals can contribute their own strengths within a cross-curricular context. For example, to achieve the learning outcomes of a modern language challenge, individuals within the team are required to contribute not only language skills but also their abilities in art, presentation, drama and even multi-media. The purpose is to engage young people sufficiently so that, given the tools to learn, they are motivated to use them rather than simply being taught. Challenge learning is not traditionally academic, therefore young people do not become de-motivated by association with previous 'failure' in a subject area. Through contribution to a learning outcome that requires non-subject specific skills, confidence can be raised in an area of perceived weakness. The young people who have attended [email protected] have been identified by their teachers as underperforming. This could be due to a lack of confidence in their academic ability, a lack of aspiration to attain good exam results, or a lack of support either within the peer group or at home. Making assumptions about what these young people want in a programme, however, is dangerous and IRL have always worked with teachers and young people to ensure that the correct needs are being met. In trying to encourage young people who are not only hindered by their socio-economic background but also by their perceptions of HE `not being for me', there is little point in bringing them to a university campus to attend a standard lecture, for example, as this is likely to be an activity they are underprepared to cope with and which offers little meaning. `If assumptions made by education providers are not in line with the perceptions of the beneficiaries, efforts to widen participation can be, at best, ineffective and, at worst, detrimental' (Thomas, 2001, p.8). There are barriers to be broken down here, to the perception of what a university is like, to what you do there and finally (and most importantly to some degree) to who else will be there? The concern that `I might not fit in' cannot be underestimated. Many pupils attend from schools that receive additional funding to provide support from this or similar interventions, but not all come from areas of deprivation ­ a lack of confidence and under-achievement is not restricted to poor areas ­ and one of the real benefits to all participants is the opportunity to mix socially with people from very different backgrounds. For some participants, this is the furthest they will have ventured from the home-schoolfamily and friends comfort zone. What benefits might not be gained from this opening out of 152
physical, intellectual and emotional horizons, as friendships are formed in the course of two weeks that might never have been attempted and inequalities undermined by the fact that these young people have all been chosen because they are all, to some extent, the same, no matter where they come from? Young people construct their sense of self by relating to their peers. If they have a chance to meet new people with a different outlook, all of whom have been judged to have potential, this can have a powerful effect.
To maximise the opportunity for young people to relate to Higher Education, IRL use mentors, current students recruited from very diverse subject areas to work directly with the young people, and the subtle mix of qualities within the mentoring team has been key to successfully raising aspirations. Mentors are fully trained in the challenges they deliver over the two-week period, but the way in which they do so is of equal importance to the content. Although the programme is pre-designed, they are encouraged to embellish it with their own personal experience of school, of studying and of the social aspects of being a student, answering the questions young people have about what it is really like. Significantly, mentors too are recruited from a wide range of social backgrounds, enabling the young people to better identify with them and to begin to map the variety of potential routes into postcompulsory education. As the majority of mentors are undergraduates, the team do not tend to vary hugely in age and although youth is not a pre-requisite for the position, the advantage in having role models close in age to participants is significant in encouraging young people to identify with them as `real' people who are succeeding at the next educational level and who are, too, still able to empathise with the pressures of academic attainment. This is an extremely powerful tool in increasing the desire among young people to become lifelong learners. It is simple and yet its effect cannot be overstated.
Evaluative Data Since 1999, quantitative data have been collected that provide evidence to support the claim that the `Challenge in Learning' model achieves its aims. The measurable outcomes of using the challenge framework have been consistent year on year in attesting increased motivation amongst participants and better than expected examination results the following year.
Initial figures that record retention demonstrate pupil engagement with the programme
from the outset. Bearing in mind that pupils attend voluntarily during vacation time, the fact that young people come back every day suggests that the programme has been successfully
pitched:
Year
Enrolled
Graduated
%
1999 2004 2005
629
582
93
811
781
96.3
957
943
98.5
2006
966
951
98.4
2007
1004
975
97.1
153
Evaluation of the impact of [email protected] on results is made via feedback forms, which are sent to participants following the completion of their national examinations in S4, S5 and again in S6. Success is measured on the basis that participants achieve consistently better than expected grades in S4 (based on coursework averages and teacher predictions). To date we have statistics to 2008 all of which compare favourably with the national average and more particularly with the average for Glasgow schools:
Cohort/Year
00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08
SG Performance
58 73 67 71 71 75 70 72.5 73
SG better than
59 59 69 70 77 74 65 67 65
expected
[email protected] improved SG
50 49 61 56 61 66 68 66 66
result
[email protected] improved attitude 72 74 78 77 77 79 79 82 83
to school
[email protected] influenced stay on 52 52 61 50 52 57 58 58 65
at school
[email protected] raised aspiration 66 73 70 66 71 68 73 73 77
to FE/HE
The National Average for Standard Grade performance remains at around 33%, well below [email protected] results, whilst in 2000 Glasgow schools showed an average of only 10%, rising to 20% over the course of the decade, in contrast with the [email protected] average of around 70%. Success and Replication The success of the Summer Academy has been widely recognised and was commended by the Scottish Parliament three times, in 2005, 2007 and 2008: The Parliament congratulates Strathclyde University on its innovative Summer Academy, now in its seventh year; recognises the role which it plays in the promotion of the benefits available to young people who wish to continue their studies into further and higher education; notes that the academy now attracts up to 900 school students annually from upwards of 130 secondary schools in west central Scotland, as well as welcoming students from Spain and Sweden; celebrates the scheme as a significant way both to widen access to further and higher education and to promote social inclusion; hopes that it may provide a model for other academic institutions both in Scotland and Europe, and commends the university staff and student mentors for the part they have played in the creation of a Scottish success story as over 6,000 young people have to date graduated from the Summer Academy @ Strathclyde (Official Report, October 2005) .
154
The high profile success of [email protected] has contributed to the image of the University Of Strathclyde as a purveyor of excellence in innovative models of education and the issues of deprivation, social exclusion and lack of support for entry into higher education that the programme seeks to address in the West of Scotland, are prevalent across Europe. To improve human capital and compete in a global marketplace, these issues must be addressed by education systems in all countries and a meeting of the European Consortium of Innovative Universities (ECIU) in 2003 recognised that this programme could provide a useful, transferable model for other European HEIs. To date, the Summer Academy has been most faithfully replicated by the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona as `Campus Нtaca', a two-week programme designed to engage a similar target group of young people which uses the Strathclyde blueprint as a basis for delivering a variety of challenges to pupils from schools in the Barcelona area. Нtaca's 2009 Annual Report reads, `Campus Нtaca is inspired by the Summer Academy. There has been collaboration between the two universities from the outset as they share some of the same objectives. When we started the programme, the Scots brought five years of experience and the advice was very useful' (Campus Нtaca Memтria Acadиmica, (2009), p. 30). Following four successful years, Нtaca secured sponsorship in 2008 for a further four years from the Banco de Santander and runs for the sixth time in 2010. Links were maintained with the Summer Academy via an exchange programme of 8 visiting 16 year old pupils from each university during July until 2008. Нtaca is not alone. In Aveiro in Portugal, the [email protected] example has been adapted to attract science students to the university since 2005 with a focus on 11-14 year olds. At the University of Dortmund, an engineering-based version of the [email protected] was developed and at the University of Twente, an existing intervention was modified in response to the Summer Academy to increase participation of ethnic minority groups in HE. In June 2010, the first two-week summer academy ran at Sцdertцrns Hцgskola in Stockholm. Having accompanied Swedish students to Scotland to participate in Strathclyde's Academy each year since 2003, teacher Kurre Wallbom presented a paper to potential funding bodies in 2008, highlighting the growing issue in Sweden of a lack of progression to postcompulsory education amongst young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. Having witnessed the success of the challenge formula first hand, he was determined to use it as a basis for Sцdertцrns own version of the programme: `It utilises [...] a great number of interesting educational methods and viewpoints. The creative interaction between the students and their mentors seems to create new educational angles [...] I am convinced that we in Sweden can, should and must learn from this programme' (Wallbom, 2008) 155
The Swedish summer academy begins, unfortunately, as the Scottish [email protected] prepares for its last cohort, due to a current lack of funding in Scottish education; however, it is crucial that we do not lose sight of what makes programmes like this beneficial, both in, as mentioned above, economic and non-economic terms. CONCLUSION Occasionally, when the same messages are repeated over and over, as they were perhaps regarding widening participation in the late nineties to mid-noughties, we stop hearing them. Just because initiatives have been in place to widen access for a decade, however, does not mean they do not need reinvestment and support to continue. What, after all, are we asking of our young people in 2010? That they are able to contribute to and take forward the society of tomorrow and, looking back at the past quarter century, we can only barely imagine what challenges await them in the next. This is not simply emotive rhetoric, it is a social and economic imperative that we help our young people develop the capacities for learning which they will need to succeed and which we in each of our countries will need to survive and flourish as economic entities. Furthermore, if university teaching and learning continues to change to accommodate the growing pressures of entrepreneurial activity, do we not need students who are equipped to work in that environment? What does widening participation really mean? We are not simply widening access to Higher Education. We are widening the lens that will help capture the untapped potential of those young people who might develop into the forerunners of knowledge development and innovation, if only they have the support to do so. If governments wish to facilitate social mobility and a culture in which those hungry innovators, non-traditional participants in the HE system, can be provided with the tools to build the vehicle to break that cycle, they will be equally as equipped as the traditional student to contribute the next big idea to our everfrantic quest for knowledge. 156
REFERENCES Archer, Louise, Merryn Hutchings and Alastair Ross (2003) Higher Education and Social Class: Issues of exclusion and inclusion, RoutledgeFalmer, Oxon. Campus Нtaca Memтria Acadиmica, (2009), Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, Bellaterra. Commission of European Communities (CEC) (2006a) Delivering on the modernization agenda for universities. Communication from the Commission. COM 2006/208, Brussels: CEC. Conclusions of the European Council, Brussels, March 2010, http://ec.europa.eu/eu2020/index_en.htm Conclusions of the European Council, EUCO 13/10, 17 June 2010, http://ec.europa.eu/eu2020/pdf/council_conclusion_17_june_en.pdf Hayton, Anna and Anna Paczuska (eds.) (2002) Access, Participation and Higher Education: Policy and Practice, Kogan Page, London. Hoggart, Richard (1996), The Way We Live Now, Pimlico, London. National Centre for Social Research and Scottish Centre for Social Research (2008), Scottish School-Leavers Survey: Cohort Three, Sweeps One to Four, 1999-2006 [computer file]. 5th Edition. Colchester, Essex: UK Data Archive [distributor]. SN: 5143. OECD (2002), Financing Education ­ Investment and Returns: Analysis of the World Education indicators 2002 Edition, Executive Summary, UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Paris: Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. OECD (2004), Innovation in the Knowledge Economy: Implications for Education and Learning, Paris: Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. OECD (2009), Education at a Glance: OECD Indicators 2009. Paris: Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. Scottish Parliament (2005) Official Report, 26th October 2005, Scottish Executive Publication, Edinburgh. Shattock, Michael (ed.) (2009) Entrepreneurialism in Universities and the Knowledge Economy: Diversification and Organizational Change in European Higher Education, SRHE and Open University Press, Berkshire. Thomas, Liz (2001) Widening Participation in Post-compulsory Education, Continuum, New York. The University of Strathclyde (1999), Strategic Plan 1999-2003. The University of Strathclyde, Glasgow. Williams, Gareth (2009) `Finance and Entrepreneurial activity in higher education in a knowledge society' in Entrepreneurialism in Universities and the Knowledge Economy: Diversification and Organizational Change in European Higher Education, ed. M Shattock, SRHE and Open University Press, Berkshire. 157
A Curriculum for a Multicultural Student Body - Case Study: Mountain Forestry Master at BOKU C.A.M. Lennkh & G..Gratzer Abstract Mountainous regions are ecologically fragile, but are critical sources for natural resources like water and biodiversity. Over-proportional ratios of people in mountain regions live below the poverty line. Global change poses severe threats particularly to these regions. Access to education is poor in mountain regions on a worldwide scale. Acknowledging the strong leverage of inputs into mountain regions for poverty alleviation, based on a long tradition in sustainable management of mountain forests in Austria and building on experiences gained from research on sustainable use of mountain forests in many regions of the world, BOKU University started a Master Programme for Mountain Forestry in 2002. The curriculum aims to provide a focused and specialised education in managing mountain forest resources with a global perspective, to teach students to recognise and solve problems occurring in forest management and conservation in mountain regions, and to strengthen interdisciplinary approaches to mountain forestry, integrating aspects of engineering, socio-economics, natural sciences and other subject-specific fields in mountain forest management. Particularly for studies with and a focus on developing countries, questions of brain drain are critical. So far, more than 90% of the graduates of the mountain forestry curriculum are working in their home country in the field they were trained for. In order to reflect the potential of a competence-based curriculum, its contribution to sustainable management and conservation is examined using the example of two major source countries fort students. Bhutan and Ethiopia were selected for this purpose because of their contrasting threats to the ecosystem and approaches to conservation and because they are major source countries for mountain forestry students. A detailed career analysis of mountain forestry alumni in these two countries is presented as well as lessons learned in the course of implementing the curriculum. INTRODUCTION - MOUNTAIN REGIONS Mountainous regions are very complex and fragile ecosystems. Half of the biodiversity hot spots of the world are situated in mountainous areas. Plants and animals, which have evolved in the isolation of mountains, demonstrate a high rate of endemism with a special adaptability to the extreme variability of the topography, climate and soils (SDC, 2002). Mountain forests provide important products for human welfare and survival, such as water as well as timber and non-timber products. Mountain regions are home to 20% of the world's population. People are highly dependent on the surrounding environment for their daily livelihood, in particular in the developing countries. Half of the world's population 158
depends on water supplied through the water reservoir function of mountain regions. People living in high elevations in remote areas are more likely to be malnourished. This is mainly due to low income and hence great poverty. Approximately 80% of the populations of mountainous areas live under the poverty line (SDC, 2002). Figure 1 Imbalance of land availability and population sizes and the input of education to improve the management of mountain resources (adapted from Habermann, 2002) With the pressure of anthropogenic disturbances increasing due to population growth and the often very complex needs of the users of natural resources, conservation and management are major necessities for mountain regions. A lot of conservation concepts and techniques are designed on and for a global level. However, in the case of mountain regions, approaches have to be scaled down to a local level, to properly serve the needs of the persons and ecosystems affected. This needs a holistic educational approach to understanding the complexity of the ecosystems dealt with as a foundation for both management and conservation concepts, to empower resource users in mountain societies. To sum up, why select mountain regions? Mountain regions are complex systems with a high potential for user conflicts on different scales (global vs. local), Mountains are tipping points for global resource availability, 159
Investments in human capacity for sustainable management in mountain regions are an effective lever for poverty alleviation. DEMOGRAPHY OF EDUCATION Most developing countries have high rate of illiteracy, with a particularly low percentage of the population educated up to tertiary level. Lutz et al. (2008) showed the effects of different education scenarios on national economies. Their results underline the strong effects of secondary and tertiary education on annual GDP growth. The Mountain Forestry Master Programme aims to give a very diverse student body the chance of higher education to enhance good management in the areas and also to contribute to a better economic situation in the individual areas. BOKU - UNIVERSITY TRADITION The University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences (BOKU) in Vienna has a longstanding tradition of research and teaching in fields related to natural resources and integrated land use. Teaching and research in forestry-related topics place a great emphasis on mountain forests due to topographical conditions in Austria. The complex management of mountain forests has been a central issue at BOKU ever since forestry became an academic curriculum in 1875. The Master Programme for Mountain Forestry was started in 2002. MOUNTAIN FORESTRY MASTER PROGRAMME The Mountain Forestry master programme is based on an interdisciplinary 3-pillar approach to mountain forestry, integrating aspects of technological, socio-economic and natural sciences as well as other subject-specific fields in mountain forest management. Each of the three pillars has to be included within the individual curriculum, accounting for at least 15% of the lectures. The curriculum includes international forestry with special emphasis on the social and economic environment. The master programme aims to provide a focused and specialised education in managing mountain forest resources with a global perspective and teaches students to recognise and solve problems occurring in forest management and conservation in mountain regions. The course focuses on the latest policy innovations and planning developments on a national and worldwide scale. Emphasis is on an applied approach to enhance the studentsґ employability. To develop specialist knowledge and practice, students have the opportunity to undertake three field courses delivering an application of knowledge gained in theoretical modules in the field. 160
Table 1 Subject taught in the four terms within the Mountain Forestry Master Programme
1st year
Winter term Field Camp I Ecology Harvesting methods Remote Sensing Forest inventory
Summer term Silviculture Economics Forest Road Engineering Modelling Field Camp II
2nd year
Field Camp III Social Science Project management Participatory methods
Master Thesis
The first term provides a general overview of issues relating to mountain forest management and science. The theoretical and practical background taught at this stage will form the basis for a better understanding of the subject. The second and third terms are based on a further understanding of: · Specific ecological situation of mountain forests, · Pressing forest and land use problems in mountain areas, · How to manage and restore mountain forests in a sustainable way. To summarize the lessons learned and to demonstrate practical applications in the field, another field camp takes place. The main objectives are to practice how to manage specific technical or ecological problems in a sustainable way, while taking the needs and requirements of the local populations into account. During the fourth and last term, students finalise their thesis. While some students will conduct fieldwork in Austria, most of them will do research and fieldwork in their home countries. Mountain Forestry Master Programme Objectives · To provide a focused and specialised education in managing mountain forest resources with a global perspective · To teach students to recognise and solve problems that occur in forest management and conservation in mountain regions 161
· To strengthen interdisciplinary approaches in mountain forestry, integrate aspects of engineering, socio-economics, natural sciences and other subject-specific fields in mountain forest management Professional profile of graduates The Mountain Forestry graduates are manly from Asian and African countries. The majority came from three countries: Ethiopia, Bhutan and Nepal. Figure 2 Countries of origin of the Mountain Forestry graduates 2002-2009 The course generates university-trained specialists in the management of forest resources with particular emphasis on mountainous areas. The interdisciplinary approach of the studies, including engineering, socio-economics, and natural sciences enables a broad approach to the management and conservation of mountain forest areas. Specific training enables graduates to recognise problems and to find the required solutions. Thus, graduates of the MSc. Mountain Forestry are specialists in the fields of environmental and forest science trained to meet the high standards required in the management and conservation of mountainous areas. The majority of the students enrolling in the Mountain Forestry master scheme already have profound working knowledge in their relevant fields. Most of the alumni return to their home countries and contribute considerably to the forest conservation and management capacities of these countries. The figure below indicates where they have obtained employment. 162
Figure 3 Employment of Mountain Forestry graduates (2002-2009) The education the graduates have received at BOKU gives them the opportunity to use their knowledge to attain high ranking and influential positions. As is shown, over 90% returned to their home country and more than 50 % are working in governmental organizations, very often in leading positions. The 4% working in National Parks are all within the individual parks' management, 2% of the graduates are working in environmental protection-related NGOs, and 29% are continuing their education to obtain a PhD in forestry related topics. 7% of the students did not return to their home country. These are mostly European or American students taking up career options within the EU. CASE STUDIES: ETHIOPIA AND BHUTAN The interdisciplinary approach to mountain forestry applied in the master course provides graduates with the tools and skills to solve the multiple problems mountain forests are facing nowadays. Bhutan is a small, sparsely populated country. Over 72.5% of the country area is forested. Bhutan has one of the world's smallest and least developed economies. Agriculture and forestry are the basis of the livelihood for over 60% of the country's population. Economic programmes take into account the government's desire to protect the environment and cultural traditions of the country. 163
Bhutan
Total area 38,394 km2 Elevation range 97 to 7,553 m Forest cover 72.5% Population (2009) 630,000
Environmental issues · soil erosion · limited access to drinking water Figure 4 Remote sensing map of Bhutan (www.geology.com) with relevant country information (CIA Factbook) Table 2 Employers of Mountain Forestry graduates from Bhutan Graduates: 11 Ministry of Agriculture & Forestry (9) · Research (1) · Nature Conservation Division (1) · Head of forestry section in Policy and Planning Division (1) · Department of Forestry (6) Other organisations · Forest officer Royal Project (1) · Deputy Governor in a highly forested province (1) 80% of Bhutanese Mountain Forestry graduates are currently employed by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forest in Water Shed Management, Biodiversity Inventory and the Nature Conservation Division, as well as in the Forest Management planning section, holding high profile posts such as section and division heads. Two of the five Bhutan National Parks, the Royal Manas National Park and the Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park are managed by former Mountain Forestry students. Research is conducted in the form of PhD studies at BOKU by 7% of the graduates or through working for the Royal Project. 164
Ethiopia All Ethiopian Mountain Forestry graduates are working in the Amhara National Regional State, which is located in the north-west of the country.
Amhara region area Elevation range Forest cover Population
170,152 km2 600 to 4,510m 3.56% (www.cdb.int) 88,013491
Environmental issues · Deforestation · Overgrazing · Soil erosion · Desertification · Water shortage from water-intensive farming · Poor management Figure 5 Remote sensing map of Ethiopia with the Amhara region (www.maplibrary.com) including relevant country information (CIA Factbook) Only 3.6% of Ethiopia's surface area is covered by forest. The economy is poverty-stricken and based on agriculture, accounting for 45% of the GDP and 85% of the total employment (CIA Factbook). Ongoing deforestation contributes to land degradation. Logging takes place to gather fuel wood and for construction purposes. As harvested trees are seldom adequately replaced by tree planting, soils are exposed to high intensity rainfall and fertile topsoil is washed out into rivers and lakes. The planting of trees is currently limited to homestead and field boundaries (Desta et al., 2000). Mountain Forestry graduates are mostly employed in the Amhara region (a focal region for Austrian Development Cooperation) and are major contributors to legal protection, development, and research within the local forestry authorities. The returning rate of Mountain Forestry students is 92%, with the majority of students working in the Amhara regions environmental protection authority. The more research-interested graduates are working for Ethiopian research institutions such as Forestry Research and Ethiopian Agriculture Institute or continuing their academic education studying for PhDs in forestry related fields at the University of Natural Resources and Applied Science, BOKU. 165
Table 3 Employers of Mountain Forestry graduates from Ethiopia Graduates: 12 Governmental organisations · Project manager, Land Management (1) · Section head, Bureau of Agriculture (1) · Section head, Environmental protection Authority (1) Research Institutes · Section head, Forestry Research Section, Agricultural Research Institute (1) · Researcher in various research institutions (2) Other organisations · PhD student at BOKU (4) · NGO consultant (1) · Left Ethiopia to work in US (1) 166
REFERENCES CIA Factbook Bhutan, electronic source https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world- factbook/geos/bt.html, accessed July, 21.2010, updated June 24, 2010, CIA Factbook Ethiopia, electronic source https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the- world-factbook/geos/et.html, accessed July, 21.2010, updated June 24, 2010, Convention on Biological Diversity, electronic source www.cdb.int, accessed July, 21.2010 Country maps, electronic source www.geology.com, accessed July, 21.2010 Desta, Lakew; Kassie, Menale; Benin, S.; Pender, J. (2000), Land degradation and strategies for sustainable development in the Ethiopian highlands: Amhara Region, International Livestock Research Institute; Amhara National Regional State Bureau of Agriculture, Nairobi, Kenya Habermann, Birgit (2002), International Master`s Programme Mountain Forestry at UNI BOKU, Vienna, Prдsentation BOKU, Vienna Lutz, Wolfgang; Crespo Cuaresma, Jesus; Sanderson, Warren (2008) The Demography of Educational Attainment and Economic Growth, Science, Vol. 319, p. 1047 - 1048 Map Library, electronic source www.maplibrary.com, accessed July, 21.2010 SDC, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (2002), High Stakes. The Future for Mountain Societies, The Panos Institute, U.K. 167
Papers from the 19th Annual Conference of the European Access Network Sцdertцrn University, Stockholm, Sweden 14-16 June 2010 Edited by Michael Cooper
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