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You are reading: The role of higher education in facilitating social mobility

Ian Cunninghame

Published in International Studies in Widening Participation 4 (1) by the English Language and Foundation Studies Centre and the Centre of Excellence for Equity in Higher Education, The University of Newcastle, Australia


This paper presents findings from an initial scoping study that set out to ask and invite discussion on ‘what more can be done in higher education to better facilitate social mobility for equity groups in Australia?’ The research involved identifying studies which detailed information on the broad range of complex issues concerning social mobility both in Australia and internationally, in order to gain a fuller understanding of how important higher education participation has become in efforts to improve equity and social justice. Applying the findings about higher education’s role in driving social mobility to a number of identified barriers to equity group engagement, the paper concludes that although social mobility discourse is problematic, continued funding for successful enabling, outreach and scholarship programs remains an essential part of ensuring that the full diversity of the Australian population is included in higher education, so that opportunities for social mobility are available to all.

Cunninghame, Ian “The role of higher education in facilitating social mobility” International Studies in Widening Participation 4 (1): 74-85.

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