chapter  2
25 Pages

Access, Equity and the Participation of Disadvantaged Groups

ByGareth Parry

In the era of near-universal access, debates about the representation and distribution of social groups in higher education have assumed a new intensity. Rather than easing issues of access and equity, expansion has provided new contexts for long-standing arguments about the persistence of social inequality and the scope for policy intervention. These contexts are global and local as well as national and regional. Domestic and international students compete for entry to the elite segments and selective universities of extended systems of higher and post-secondary education. For those – often the least advantaged – joining the lower tiers or vocational sectors of differentiated and increasingly stratified systems, the opportunity to move between the divisions and hierarchies of university and college education is an important dimension of access and inclusion.