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Higher Education Participation Rates in the UK 1950-2010  

Higher Education Participation Rates in the UK 1950-2010  

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This paper examines the changing form and scope of higher education in the UK with a specific focus on contemporary ‘globalising’ developments within the sector and beyond. Situated within an analysis of transformations under way in the wider global and regional economy, and drawing on Jessop’s strategic relational approach (SRA), I examine the way...

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... One element of such strategies of extra-revenue-generating activities may be the export of education through the development of international branch campuses. Figure 1 shows how international branch campus development from the UK started in the 1990s and grew strongly post-1997, following the introduction of tuition fees and the simultaneous cutting of state funding for higher education (Robertson 2010). In 2016, transnational education, or the export of entire programs through franchises, articulation agreements, joint ventures, and branch campuses abroad, contributed £610 million to the UK's gross domestic product, an increase of 72 percent since 8 For a comparison to income-contingent loans in the US and Australia, see Bryant and Spies-Butcher (2020). ...
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The role of higher education institutions as active agents of globalization and marketization remains relatively little explored. Economic geographic perspectives are particularly well placed to investigate globalizing higher education as an important economic sector, in addition to its supportive role in the knowledge economy. Drawing on political economic and cultural economic perspectives on marketization and geographic fixes, the study analyzes the motivations and spatial strategies for geographic expansion of universities through the establishment of branch campuses. Based on qualitative interviews with key decision-makers of English universities, I argue that (international) branch campuses enable a range of geographic fixes for higher education institutions: a territorial fix through the geographic expansion and construction of segmented markets and a symbolic fix through the relocation of campuses to places that promise reputational gains. The rapid growth of British branch campuses abroad and domestically (in the global city of London) involve substantial financial and reputational risks and as fixes constitute only temporary stabilizations. The conceptualization of symbolic fixes, in addition to territorial fixes, may enable a more nuanced understanding of the role of space in the construction of segmented, yet relational markets that combines intersecting political economic and cultural economic logics.
... The form and nature of unbundling in higher education has received attention in both practice and scholarship in recent years (Bacevic 2019;Newfield 2019;Czerniewicz 2018;Komljenovic and Robertson 2016;McCowan 2017;Robertson 2010). On the whole, unbundling is associated with the development of new business models which include, or rely on, working with private providers companies (Komljenovic and Robertson 2016), although there are rare exceptions of commons-based governance models (Lee 2013) and alternative perspectives where unbundling might lead to opportunities for HE to better serve students through personalisation and employability (McCowan, 2017). ...
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This paper explores how academics navigate the Higher Education (HE) landscape being reshaped by the convergence of unbundling, marketisation and digitisation processes. Social Realism distinguishes three layers of social reality (in this case higher education): the empirical, the actual and the real. The empirical layer is presented by the academics and their teaching; the actual are the institutional processes of teaching, learning, assessment, mode of provision (online, blended); the real are the power and regulatory mechanisms that shape the first two and affect academics’ agency. Two dimensions of academics’ experiences and perceptions are presented. The structural dimension reflects academics’ perceptions of the emergent organisation of the education environment including the changing narratives around digitisation, marketisation and unbundling in the context of digital inequalities. The professional dimension aspects play out at the actor level with respect to work-related issues, particularly their own. This dimension is portrayed in academics’ concerns about ownership and control.
... The purpose, made explicit by the Ministry of Education, was intended to achieve levels of mastery or proficiency of English in Colombia for 2019. However, it could also have represented the adherence of the country to globalization as a mass phenomenon, synonymous with the "commercialization" of higher education, as seen by some critics of this process (Brandenburg & de Wit, 2011;Pennycook, 2012;Robertson, 2010). Conversely, Piekkari and Tietze (2011) have reminded us of the difficulty, if not the impossibility, to dictate general policies for language use and rather recommended a sensibilization process before setting any policy implementation. ...
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... What has followed in both the core and periphery of global capitalism is the gradual penetration of corporations and privately funded research, endowments, patenting and intellectual property agreements, changing university funding and budgeting procedures. Rising managerialism has contributed to the diminishing of space for academics in making and implementing decisions regarding university life, their own research/teaching activities and overall governing of HEIs (Altbach, 2001: 216;Giroux, 2002: 433, 436-439, 444;O'Sullivan, 2016: 14;Robertson, 2010). Ultimately, these processes have yielded comprehensive instrumentalisation and 'commercialization of learning' (Nixon et al., 2018;Zeleza, 2003: 164, 166). ...
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... The geographies of the university are complex and involve multiple, and interrelated, scales (Heffernan et al., 2018). Universities are variously analysed as urban actors (Addie, 2017; Goddard and Vallance, 2013), as regional economic development engines through university-industry cooperation and spin-offs (Benneworth, 2019;Lawton-Smith, 2006), as agents enrolled to advance national competitiveness and the knowledge-based economy (Moisio, 2018) and as entrepreneurial 'world-class' international institutions that compete on a global scale (Luke, 2005;Marginson, 2004;Robertson, 2010). When aiming to understand the construction of 'transnational education zones', interlinked spatial scales are relevant to make sense of the phenomenon. ...
... Higher education institutions operating within neoliberalised higher education systems have increasingly become entrepreneurial actors that engage in international competition (Luke, 2005;Robertson, 2010;Slaughter and Leslie, 1997). Global university rankings propel the international competition for 'excellence' and 'world-class' status of institutions that translates into economic revenue in the competition for (international) fee-paying students (Jo¨ns and Hoyler, 2013). ...
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... Over the past decades, universities in the UK have been subject to reduced government funding and neoliberal transformations (Pani, 2016;Robertson, 2010). Undergraduate tuition fees and income-contingent loans have been introduced in the UK to finance higher education (Bryant & Spies-Butcher, 2018;Hall, 2015). ...
... One element of transnational education is the export of higher education through the establishment of international branch campuses. Robertson (2010) connects the development of campuses offshore as a strategy to access additional funding to the Dearing Report, which impacted the imagined futures of universities in a fundamental way: ...
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... There are conflicting views as to whether there has been a reduction in the amount of field teaching in UK universities in past decades (Smith 2004, Ashton et al. 2015, or whether it has remained stable (Mauchline et al. 2013, reviewed by Goulder andScott 2016). However, given funding challenges and increasing corporatisation (Robertson 2010), there is a risk that university administration and management will consider field-based teaching too expensive in both money and staff time. Despite field-based teaching often being less costly than laboratory practicals (Fleischner et al. 2017), and invaluable in terms of student skills development (Andrews et al. 2003), student satisfaction (Griset 2010, Hix 2015, bridging the staff-student divide in higher education (Hart et al. 2011) and institutional marketing (Mauchline et al. 2013), ecology educators increasingly struggle to justify field courses to budget holders. ...
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... In an increasing global competition for attracting fee-paying students and grants, universities are under pressure to diversify their funding base through tuition and business partnerships (Streckeisen, 2018: 52). With consecutive UK governments introducing new public management and market mechanisms into the public sector (Robertson, 2010), private universities and subcontractors for services not related directly to education have entered the higher education terrain, including OPMs and online platform providers . With growing acceptance of online degrees globally (e.g. ...
... India (Sanzgiri, 2017); New Zealand (Lewis, 2015)), UK universities have used their strategic positions to tap into this market, to realise return on investment for real estate development and digital technology investments made for campus-and online-learning. In time of budget cuts, whereby the core budget of public universities comes from student fees, and research is sponsored through competitive external (if public) funding (Robertson, 2010;Swartz et al., 2018), universities see in online learning two interrelated advantages: additional income, from a new student population not requiring as much space as campus-based learners; and the possibility to reuse and rebundle content. However, institutions with varying missions, teaching-research focus, and organisational culture, have taken different approaches to online education growth and partnerships, as have the private companies looking for partnerships (Swinnerton et al., 2019). ...
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Abstract Universities are facing growing internal and external pressures to generate income, educate a widening continuum of learners, and make effective use of digital technologies. One response has been growth of online education, catalysed by Massive Open Online Courses, availability of digital devices and technologies, and notions of borderless global education. In growing online education, learning and teaching provision has become increasingly disaggregated, and universities are partnering with a range of private companies to reach new learners, and commercialise educational provision. In this paper, we explore the competing drivers which impact decision making within English universities and their strategies to grow online education provision, through interviews with senior managers, and interrogation of their views through the lens of a range of internal, external and organisational drivers. We show that pressures facing universities may be alleviated by growth of online education provision, but that negotiating an appropriate route to realise this ambition involves attempts to resolve these underlying tensions deriving from competing drivers. We use a modified form of the PEST model to demonstrate the complexities, inter-dependencies and processes associated with these drivers when negotiating delivery of unbundled online education through use of private company services, or in partnership with private companies.
... Commercialisation, marketisation, and privatisation are common market logics found in public universities today. Authors such as Wright and Shore (2017), Knight (2014), Furedi (2010, Robertson (2010) and Codd (2004) Kromydas (2017) suggests that "Education has become an instrument for economic progress moving away from its original role to provide context for human development" (p. 1). With these trends, students are beginning to think in terms of the economic return of their degree (Becker, 2009) as against the intrinsic notion of education which infers that the purpose of education is to "equip people to make their own free, autonomous choices about the life they will lead" (Bridges, 1992, p. 92), or, simply put, 'learning for life'. ...
Thesis
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I examined the knowledge dialectic - the historical tension between theoretical and procedural forms of knowledge that exist in the university. Using disciplinary concepts as a theoretical and explanatory tool, I argue that the understanding and appreciation of both knowledge forms could help manage the dialectic in a way that could reduce the apparent dichotomy between these forms of knowledge.
... Readings 1999;Mamdani 2007;Washburn 2008;Holmwood 2011), which has been exacerbated by the global financial crisis of 2008, affecting in particular the funding of HE in developed and developing countries. The reduction in state funding (Robertson 2010) and the increase in student numbers have led to higher education institutions (HEIs) searching for additional and alternative sources of income in the shape of new student markets and new forms of provision. The utilisation of digital technology to develop these new forms of provision is the result of a number of drivers, including the desire to reach new student populations unable to attend campus-based classes due to location or other commitments such as employment or family; the finite physical space of many HEIs, especially those located in urban environments; the drive to develop low-cost provision for increasing numbers to serve the massification of higher education and also as a way to develop more innovative, learner-centred forms of provision (McCowan 2017;Bradwell 2009;Lewin 2012;Rizvi et al. 2013). ...
Book
The chapters in this book are based on selected peer reviewed research papers presented at the 11th biennial Networked Learning Conference (NLC) 2018 held in Zagreb and were chosen as exemplars of cutting edge research on networked learning. The chapters are organized into three main sections: 1) Aspects of mobility for Networked Learning in a global world, 2) Use and misuse of algorithms and learning analytics, 3) Understanding and empowering learners. The three main sections are flanked by chapters which introduce and reflect on Networked Learning as epistemic practice. The concluding chapter draws out perspectives from the chapters and discusses emerging issues. The book focuses on the nature of learning and interactions as an important characteristic sought out by researchers and practitioners in this field.