Friday, January 31, 2014

Lifelong Learning and Higher Education in Europe 1995-2011: Widening and/or Narrowing Access?

The papers form part of a Special Issue of the IJLE on Lifelong Learning and Higher Education in Europe 1995-2011: Widening and/or Narrowing Access?, edited by Sheila Riddell, Elisabet Weedon and John Holford. Full details of the Special Issue are at:
John Holford
The lost honour of the Social Dimension: Bologna, exports and the idea of the university  (by John Holford)  explains the development and of the social dimension of the Bologna Process (now the European Higher Education Area) and how it relates to a European “idea of the university”. It argues that the elements of Bologna which aim at promoting higher education as an export business have focused on the youth of social elites, and that its internal mobility dimensions have had a similar effect within Europe. The social dimension of Bologna, in contrast, aimed to open HE across the social spectrum—though it still assumed students would be young. The paper explains how Bologna’s social dimension has been influenced by debates within the European Union – leading both to its initial growth and to its marginalisation since 2008.
John Holmwood
"From social rights to the market: neoliberalism and the knowledge economy" (by John Holmwood) argues that public higher education has a long history, with its growth associated with mass higher education and the extension of a social right to education from secondary schooling to university education. Following the rise in student numbers since the 1970s, the aspiration to higher education has been universalized, although opportunities remain structured by social background. This paper looks at changing policies for higher education in the UK and the emergence of a neoliberal knowledge regime. This subordinates higher education to the market and shifts the burden of paying for degree courses onto students. It seeks to stratify institutions and extend the role of for-profit providers. From a role in the amelioration of social inequality, universities are now asked to participate actively in the widening inequalities associated with a neoliberal global market order.