Thursday, September 23, 2010

stretched to the breaking point

"Mass higher education has brought social mobility to millions worldwide, but as access expands and academia is stretched to breaking point, standards are in steady decline, writes Philip Altbach

It might seem a contradiction that widening access would bring inequality to higher education, but trends show that is exactly what happens. Institutions that cater to mass access provide vastly different quality, facilities and focus than do elite institutions, and this gulf has widened as access has expanded worldwide. Furthermore, mass higher education has, for a majority of students, lowered quality and increased dropout rates.

However, even if these consequences have become inevitable and logical, they do not justify a move to reduce access but rather call for a more realistic understanding of the implications of 'massification' and the steps needed to improve the problems created by dramatic increases in enrolments."

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