Tackling social exclusion at third level : an analysis of the participants and future direction of the Access Programme Initiative

McGuire, David and Collins, M (2001) Tackling social exclusion at third level : an analysis of the participants and future direction of the Access Programme Initiative. In: ESAI Conference, Mary Immaculate Conference, September 2001, Limerick. (Submitted)

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There exists considerable evidence of substantial class inequalities in the education system in Ireland (Whelan & Hannan 1998; Callan & Nolan 1992; Breen et al. 1990). Numerous reports have pointed to the overemphasis on academic achievement as leading to an under-representation of certain class groups at third level institutions (Lynch 1998; Garavan 1995). In an effort to address this form of social exclusion significant resources have been allocated to establish targeted access initiatives. This paper reports the findings of a survey of 266 access students from four third-level institutions in Ireland. The survey attempts to identify the socio-economic background of the access programme participants, their pre-programme education level and the primary influences, which encouraged them to avail of the access initiative. The paper also examines the role which financial considerations play in the decision to participate and the sustained participation of access students. Finally the paper proposes some additional policy directions for the access programme. In particular it recommends that the forthcoming demographic related reduction in the numbers attending some third-level institutions should be seen as an appropriate opportunity to expand the access initiative and target those experiencing educational disadvantage.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Additional Information: The authors wish to acknowledge the co-operation and assistance of Paula Fitzell, University of Limerick, Imelda Byrne, National University of Ireland Galway, Deirdre O’Connor, Galway Mayo Institute of Technology and Pauline Lenihan, Limerick Institute of Technology in conducting the research for this paper.
Divisions: School of Arts, Social Sciences and Management > Business, Enterprise & Management
Date Deposited: 10 Feb 2009 14:24
Last Modified: 02 Feb 2017 15:37
URI: http://eresearch.qmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/336


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