Access to Higher Education: Massication and Beyond
The widespread policy attention for heightened levels of higher education participation demonstrates that the public value of higher education is recognised more than ever before. In response to the New Public Management theory (Pollitt et al., 2007) – which focused on efficiency and performances in public services, the Public Value theory (Moore, 1995) argues that public managers, politicians and policy makers should develop public services in such a way that they legitimately contribute to the further enhancement of society (Blaug et al., 2006). The public value concept stresses the idea that universities and colleges provide services that go beyond simple task fulfilment or a delivery of performance targets. They are expected to contribute to solving problems that are in the public interest, rather than meeting the needs of customers in pure economic terms. As such, they are increasingly expected to demonstrate the public value of their activities and secure legitimacy with the general public, being accountable to students, employers and civil society in general. This means higher education has to be in a continuous dialogue with a range of stakeholders, leading to a more rounded accountability mechanism. With regard to access policies, governments, public ministries and higher education institutions continuously have to balance between the general access targets set by (supra-) national authorities and issues such as the quality and costs of education, equality of opportunity, affordability for students, internationalisation, employability of graduates, etc. It is the aim of this book to put access policies in this multiple interest perspective and provide an overview of how governments and institutions manoeuvre to effectively and efficiently create public value.