Increasing Accessibility in Educational Opportunities in a Competitive World By Goolam Mohamedbhai
Outline of Presentation1. Introduction2. Regional Inequity in Access to Higher Education3. Affirmative Action in Addressing Inequity4. Tuition Fees: Effects on Access & Equity5. Excellence & Globalization v/s Access & Equity in HE6. Conclusions
1. IntroductionHE benefits the individual in upward social mobility HE also helps in economic & social development of countries & in creating a knowledge society. Every effort must therefore be made to widen access to HE, make it as inclusive as possible and ensure its qualityHowever, disparities in economic development among countries create global inequities in access to & quality of HE.Within countries, achieving inclusiveness is hampered by inequities that exist in any country – could be racial, ethnic, religious, socialAddressing those inequities – at global, regional & national levels ‐ poses great challenges to policy makers, HEIs and society It also raises issues of ethics, values and justice
2. Regional Inequity in Access to HE (1) Tertiary Gross Enrolment by Region7060504030 1999 20062010 0 SSA S&W E Asia L Am & C&E N Am & Asia &P Car Eu W EuSource: UIS 2008 ..…./2
2. Regional Inequity in Access to HE (2) Very large inequities in access to HE between developed and developing countries Since human capital is the most important resource in the global knowledge economy, access to HE must be increased significantly in developing countries Real danger that HE benefits mainly developed countries, while it is the developing ones that needs it mostHow to Redress Regional Inequity in Access to HE?1. Increase enrolment in public HEIsMost public HEIs already overcrowded. No public funds for physical expansion. Quality suffers. ……./3
2. Regional Inequity in Access to HE (3)2. Create New HEIsMain challenges are staffing and academic resources . Quality suffers. Example. 3. Cost Sharing Introduction of tuition & user fees to make up for diminishing public funding. Still politically & socially sensitive issue4. Private HEIsLarge increase in numbers in most developing countries. Does help, but not accessible to the poor. Commercial approach to HE, not all of quality, can weaken public HEIs5. Through CBHE (twinning, franchising, branch campuses, DL)Rapid increase over past decade, especially with improvement in ICT. Not accessible to the poor. Quality in some cases dubious. Compete with local public HEIs. ……../4
2. Regional Inequity in Access to HE (4) IssuesBecause of challenges in provision of more public funds for HE, dramatic increase in access to HE through public HEIs may not be possible Most developing countries will have to resort to private, fee paying HEIs or CBHE to increase access to HE Would this not create greater inequity in access at national level? Since hardly any research is done at private HEIs or CBHE institutions, would not knowledge production be even more adversely affected in developing countries?Can CBHE take into account local social & cultural factors?
3. Affirmative Action in Addressing Inequity in HE (1)Inequities exist in every society, developed or developingHE was originally elitist. It has remained so to a large extent, even in developed world. It has a tendency to perpetuate systemic inequities over generationsIn developing world, access to HE in rural areas very limited, but also in urban areas because of limited capacityIn developed world, students from disadvantaged strata either avoid HE by choice or enrol in less prestigious institutionsSeveral countries have used affirmative action to redress inequity in access to HE ……/2
3. Affirmative Action in Addressing Inequity in HE (2) Addressing Gender Inequity in KenyaEducated women can play an important role in development of SSA. Empowerment of women through education is a development strategy for SSAFor cultural & other reasons, women are under‐represented in HE in SSA, especially in S&T fields.Affirmative action applied by Kenya to redress HE gender inequityJoints Admissions Board (admits students in all public unis) lowers number of points required at entry to HE for femalesAt U of Nairobi, female undergraduate enrolment increased from 23% in 1991/92 to 34% in 2006/07Kenyatta Uni further reduces entry point for female enrolment inS&T areas. In 2007 overall female enrolment was 50% ........./3
3. Affirmative Action in Addressing Inequity in HE (3) Addressing Racial Inequity in MalaysiaMalaysia’s racial composition is roughly: Malays 66%, Chinese 25%, Indians 8%. Chinese have always been economically strong, the Malays until recently were poor. Malays mostly in agriculture & semi‐skilled jobs, Chinese in business & professions1970 HE enrolment : Malays 40%, Chinese 49%, Indians 7% Govt’s affirmative action: enrolment in each subject in public HEIs to be proportional to racial composition. All admissions controlled by govt, no race quotas in HEIs made public One year pre‐university course for Malays also introduced2007 intake to HEIs: Malays 62%, Chinese 32%, Indians 6%There has been a significant increase in no. of Malay professionals Affirmative action led to Chinese students studying abroad & dramatic increase in private & CBHE institutions ......../4
3. Affirmative Action in Addressing Inequity in HE (4) Addressing Social Inequity in India Hindus in India have a rigid caste system‘Lower Castes’ (LC) represent about 24% of India’s population. They are the poorest & are under‐represented in all institutions India’s post‐independence Constitution established a quota of 22.5% for LC in all public institutions, but individual States may increase the quota provided it does not exceed 50% Caste of a Hindu is fixed at birth and cannot be changed, even if s/he changes religion The LC quota system is applied to all public HEIs, including the elite IITs, IIMs and medical Colleges The LC quota is highly controversial & emotional in India & hasbeen legally challenged but without success ......./5
3. Affirmative Action in Addressing Inequity in HE (5) Issues Regarding Affirmative Action Affirmative action has been found to redress inequity in a number of countries (e.g. gender in Africa), but it can also perpetuate the very condition it is trying to redress (e.g. Caste system in India) How to ensure that, in an age of global competition where striving for excellence through meritocracy prevails, affirmative action does not affect the quality of HE? Should not affirmative action be applied at lower levels of education (primary, secondary) where the roots of inequity lie?Because of social dynamics, race, religion, ethnicity or caste is not always easy to define. How does the State allow for that? Once introduced, when should affirmative action be stopped?
4. Tuition Fees: Effects on Access & Equity (1) Because of lack of funding, most public HEIs in developing countries are now introducing tuition fees In most developing countries majority of those admitted to public HEIs are from upper echelons of society & can afford fees. But the poorest cannot. Tuition fees in many countries can make HE less accessible to the poor & therefore deepen inequity Loan schemes introduced but its management not always effective Grants & scholarships to needy students possible, but ‘needy’not easy to define Introduction of ‘parallel programmes’ in several African institutions (Kenya, Uganda), but this has long term implications
4. Tuition Fees: Effects on Access & Equity (2) What can be Done?Introduction of tuition fees in developing countries seems inevitable It is a politically & socially sensitive issue, and should be introduced after careful study to ensure equity To learn from successful implementation of student loan schemes in some countries To be cautious about introducing ‘parallel programmes’ as a means of financing a HEI
5. Excellence & Globalization v/s Access & Equity in HE (1) Quest for excellence in HE at national level has always existed e.g. Oxford & Cambridge (UK), Grandes Ecoles (France), IITs (India) Access to such public‐funded HEIs almost exclusively from best secondary schools (usually private) and from upper social strata of society ‐ those who can afford cost of competing to get access. Inequity in composition of student population is glaring. Success is guaranteed, both from the HEI & in achieving highest social positions – hence perpetuating systemic inequities More recently, globalisation is driving many governments to promote excellence in their HE system, e.g. Malaysia, where some public unis are designated research unis, and there is competition for attaining ‘apex university’ status
5. Excellence & Globalization v/s Access & Equity in HE (2) Globalization has now pushed excellence in HE to global level through global ranking & ‘world class’ universities Objective is competition in attracting the best brains, acquiring more funding & excelling in knowledge production Rankings favour already well‐established, well endowed HEIs in developed world. HEIs in developing countries cannot compete based on criteria used (see chart). Inequity in HE at global level exacerbated. Globalization also promotes HE as tradable & commercial commodity through WTO/GATS. This encourages CBHE in developing countries, not accessible to poor students because of fees charged ......./3
Top 200 Ranked Universities (2009)by Region * Africa, Latin America, China & India
4. Excellence & Globalization v/s Access & Equity in HE (4) Issues Is excellence synonymous with quality? Are similar criteria used for both? Should developing countries create centres of excellence or should they concentrate on increasing access and promoting quality in all their HEIs? How does competition at global level affect collaboration among HEIs, an important ethos of HE? Should universities in developing countries aim to be globally ranked? If yes, why? And at what cost?
ConclusionsBecause of rapid increase in private HE & CBHE, control mechanisms must be set up to ensure their quality Effective widening of equitable access to HE requires intervention at lower levels of education Because of perceived unfairness of affirmative action, once introduced it must be continuously monitored and adjusted as society evolvesAdmitting students in HEIs using affirmative action must be accompanied by measures to ensure their success Tuition fees in developing countries should be introduced with caution & accompanied by safety nets protecting poor studentsPromoting excellence in HE in developing countries is laudable but the criteria used must be locally relevant