Improving Opportunities to Engage in Learning: A Study of the Access to Higher Education Diploma

1st Edition

Nalita James, Hugh Busher

February 16, 2020 Forthcoming
Reference - 146 Pages
ISBN 9780367488109 - CAT# K464227

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Improving Opportunities to Engage in Learning investigates the experiences of mature adult learners returning to formal education. The book challenges the policy discourses in which Access to Higher Education survives by suggesting that continuing education is more about determination by students to alter their identities and career opportunities than meeting narrow performative criteria of financial targets. Chapters explore students’ struggles with institutional and social structures in the current political and socio-economic climate, before identifying how the transformation of their learner identities is facilitated in the courses by collaborative cultures and supportive tutors.

The book addresses a research gap in knowledge about students’ and tutors’ experiences of Access to Higher Education courses, presenting a broad perspective on the importance and difficulties of such courses through listening to the voices of students and tutors undertaking a variety of Access to HE pathways. The authors argue that despite success on their courses benefiting the national economy as well as students individually, the social and financial costs of continuing education is almost entirely shifted onto students’ shoulders by policymakers. Despite the costs, students can still see Access to HE as a chance to improve their lives, reflecting the neoliberal discourse of personal responsibility and risk embedded in broader national social and policy discourses.

Improving Opportunities to Engage in Learning will be of great interest to researchers, academics and postgraduate students in the fields of further and higher education, widening participation, social justice and sociology of education, and education policy and politics.


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