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  • University adult access policies and practices across the European Union; and their consequences for the participation of non-traditional adults, Final report


The promotion of lifelong learning and social inclusion is high on the policy considerations of the European Union, albeit more at the level of rhetoric than practice. In functional terms, it gave the European Union ownership and leadership of a new policy area within Europe which had not been taken up to any large extent by any of the individual member states. Access and participation of adults in higher education forms a small but an important part of the lifelong learning agenda, by providing opportunities for adults, who for various reasons, missed out earlier in life.
The aim of this 3-year European TSER project (from January 1998 to February 2001) was to assess the effectiveness of access policies and practices for adults in universities and higher education institutions across the European Union, with particular regard to socially excluded groups and communities and to identify barriers to the participation of the excluded.
More specifically, the research results (a) identify, analyse and compare adult student participation patterns - on the basis of quantitative and qualitative data - across EU countries and subject areas; (b) survey and assess the variety of access policies and practices, by analysing the impact of admissions, curriculum, teaching, student services and other practices on participation; (c) identify macro-social and institutional factors that enhance or inhibit arrangements and conditions favourable to the effective participation of non-traditional adults; (d) produce new knowledge which will contribute to increasing access and participation of adults groups which have traditionally been excluded.

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