Widening Participation

Analyse and critically evaluate the implementation of the ‘Widening Participation in Higher Education’ Policy in the context of New Right Ideology.

UK) in 2000 is anything to go by, while 48% of the higher social groups opted for improving their educational backgrounds, only 18% from the lower groups participated in the same. The gap between both the social groups was around 30%, a figure on the higher side. Some reasons that have been cited for this trend include the inability to bear the overall expenses of studying for a higher university degree, the desire to earn money rather than study, and the feeling that good institutions and good jobs are closed doors for them.

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Furthermore, it did not help matters that the ones in control had their own views about students and higher education. It was Margaret Thatcher and her government who ushered in New Right Ideology to deal with matters concerning higher education. These were her very words, “We are going much further with education than we ever thought of doing before” (Margaret Thatcher 196). This government took control in 1987, and their agenda can be summed up to include four major changes that they brought into the system. The first one was to make all educational institutions directly responsible for their finances and budgeting. It resulted in fierce competition between schools and colleges, since those that exhibited wonderful results in external examinations would be favored with more finances. Scholarly pursuits got relegated to the background, and the focus was shifted to attracting as many students as possible to respective institutions. This had not been the old pattern of thinking. In earlier days, the bureaucracy interfered as less as possible, believing that universities and institutions were meant for intellectual development more than anything else.

complete success. A number of researches and studies were then carried out and as a result, modern educational policy makers have shifted their focus to widening participation in higher education and free access. They hope for some betterment in the system now at least!

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