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Access and selection in higher education: exploring new pathways for effective social inclusion

TitleAccess and selection in higher education: exploring new pathways for effective social inclusion
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsSideri D
Secondary TitleItalian Journal of Sociology of Education
Date Published06/2015
PublisherPadova University Press
Place PublishedPadova, IT
ISSN Number 2035-4983
Keywordsconsumerism, Over-qualification, student orientation, teacher peer control

This paper examines the higher education open entry policy in light of the current marketization and over-qualification phenomena. The purpose of the study is to develop a comprehensive understanding of the interrelated topics of access, meritocracy and selection, graduate skills mismatch and consumerism in universities. Indeed, the socio-economic changes affecting higher education have highlighted some weaknesses in the open entry system, which leads to hypothesising that instead of constituting an egalitarian system this could lead to limiting opportunities. The study aims to show that open entry policies may encourage consumerism and credential inflation, and negatively affect the quality of the teaching-learning environment; the ensuing wasteful competition in the labour market may generate professional and social exclusion instead of guaranteeing more and greater opportunities. A further aim of the study is to provide an agenda to guide both future research to enlighten and explain these phenomena and policy-making in higher education, with a specific focus on the Italian system. The article uses theories applied in socio-educational research to discuss opportunities to adjust open entry policies in Italian public universities.