Archive for the 'Further higher and lifelong education' Category
The much-delayed Government White Paper on skills (Skills for Jobs: Lifelong Learning for Opportunities and Growth), published last Thursday, holds few surprises; it has already been widely trailed in Government announcements and reforms over the past year. What is most notable, though – and very welcome – is its unusually strong statements about the centrality of Further Education Colleges to the Government’s skills agenda in post-Brexit Britain, arguably a distinctive contribution from the current Secretary of State for Education.
In his strategic speech to the Social Market Foundation last June, Gavin Williamson positioned himself as the champion of Further Education and the ‘forgotten 50 percent’ who do not go to university. He promised to be the Secretary of State who would finally ensure that technical education in Britain achieved the prominence and status it deserved.
His rationale is widely shared: that ‘building back’ after the pandemic will require a sustained focus on addressing the shortages in higher technical skills which have been growing in recent years and will be amplified by Brexit. FE colleges can be – and should be – central to this endeavour, he says, and (more…)
As this new and unusual academic year starts taking shape, thousands of students are trying to settle into their new lives at university. For some students, going to university will seem like the obvious, normal thing to do. Others, especially those who are the first in their families to attend higher education, may be stepping into less comfortable new world.
A plethora of research shows that young people from disadvantaged backgrounds are less likely to go to university and that if they go, they end up at lower ranked institutions, studying “lower value” courses than their peers from more advantaged backgrounds. At the same time, universities are actively engaging in the “Widening Participation (WP) agenda”, attempting to increase the diversity of their student body. But in order to attract students from disadvantaged backgrounds, universities first need to be able to identify who they are.
Education helps us share knowledge, develop understanding, and supports our connection with each other. As the COVID-19 pandemic has continued, governments have been preoccupied with how to re-open schools.
However, there has been more doubt about universities. Discussions about the rise in COVID-19 infections in student populations have often raised the question as to why students are at university at all, running risks for themselves and local populations. These questions often link with views of universities as expensive, elitist – and perhaps not worth it at all.
Covid-19 and education: how can we help the young generation missing the ‘best years of their lives’?Blog Editor, IOE Digital2 October 2020
Post-millennials, or GenZ, have been described as the first true digital natives, growing up without memory of a time before smart phones or social media. So when England moved into lockdown in March 2020, and life moved online, you might expect this generation to be the most prepared to handle the change. However, our research suggests that this generation feel they are missing out on the “best years” of their lives, having been told to stay inside, losing access to university campuses, their social lives, and job opportunities.
Between May and July this year, the ASPIRES study recorded 48 interviews with 20- and 21-year-old participants who we’ve been fortunate enough to talk to every few years, since they were ten. ASPIRES is led by Professor Louise Archer, Karl Mannheim Professor of Sociology of Education at UCL Institute of Education. We’re interested in their science and career aspirations, their life experiences and views on a range of issues. The majority of these interviews were with individuals who were graduating from university this summer, others were mid-way through university, and a handful were either already working, about to start new jobs, or looking for work in a post-pandemic economy.
The young people we spoke with shared the financial difficulties they were experiencing. For instance, university students who depended on paid work during holidays or term-time to support their living costs had been particularly hard hit. As Luna* (more…)
Ann Phoenix, Afiya Amesu, Issy Naylor and Kafi Zafar – a teacher and three students discuss the BLM movement in their second blog.
The scrutiny of racism that Black Lives Matter has produced raises questions of commonalities and differences in experiences of racism across groups. One consequence is that Asian people have found themselves remembering the pain of being subjected to implicit and overt racism. One example is learning that others thought there was something inherently wrong with darker skin through being asked at age five years, “why is your skin black?” before having any concept of race, ethnicity, or skin colour.
Part of the complexity ingrained in everyday racist practices is that it is not simply between those who are white and those who are ‘other’. Instead, South Asian children learn early that, not only is there a great deal of racism and casteism towards South Asians, but also within their own South Asian communities. Comments from elders range from complaints of becoming too tanned in the summer, and darker skin ruining marriage prospects for young girls, to offhand remarks about how beautiful a baby is for no other reason than their fair complexion. This is, arguably, as destructive as external racism since it tears South Asians apart from the inside. This colourism is now recognised to be one face of racism that has gained strong footholds because of histories of enslavement and colonialism. It highlights the importance of recognising what Avtar Brah, in the 1990s, called ‘differential racisms’.
Increasingly, young British Asians are fighting against these ideologies through not only embracing their own dark skin, but also breaking down the stereotypes and stigma (more…)
Ann Phoenix, Afiya Amesu, Issy Naylor and Kafi Zafar – a teacher and three students discuss the BLM movement in a two-part blog.
The publicity following the death of George Floyd after the white policeman Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck galvanised support for the Black Lives Matter movement. BLM and the attention it has garnered over the last few months has thrown light on the ongoing discrimination and systemic racism that black people continue to face.
Alongside the unprecedented global protests against racism, there seems a new appetite to understand the specificities and ubiquity of anti-black racism and its subtle, every-day materialisations as well as its murderous manifestations. That quest for understanding has seen an extraordinary outpouring of testimonies from black and mixed-parentage people, telling stories of events and day to day experiences that have generally been reserved for insider conversations on microaggressions and discrimination.
It is evident in institutions such as the media and universities that both like to see themselves as progressive but are repeatedly shown to reproduce social inequalities. A crucial (more…)
On 18 March the Secretary of State for Education told Parliament that, in response to the Coronavirus pandemic, schools and colleges in England would shut to all but the children of critical workers and vulnerable children until further notice. Exams scheduled for the summer would not take place.
Government worked with the education sector and Ofqual to develop a process to provide calculated GCSE, AS and A level grades for each student which reflects their performance as fairly as possible and ensure consistency across the sector. The process involves the following steps: (more…)
The Higher Education sector is facing the highest level of uncertainty in its long history. Prospective students are wondering what to expect from study in the 20-21 academic year.
A recent study by the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) found over 70% of UK students expect some online teaching, but only 18% expect all learning to be online. Through our UCL Institute of Education ‘Task & Finish’ Group on sustained future for taught provision, we have been talking with students about their experiences of learning remotely during the pandemic. In general students are understanding about the challenges of moving to teaching online.
They appreciate that the rapid move to online teaching was necessary to protect students and staff from the risk of infection. However, they miss the face-to-face ‘connection’ with academics and other students, so it’s important to re-establish connections in ways that enable our whole community – academics, students and professional services colleagues – to work together. The question is, how do we do this in a way that allows for the current operating restrictions due to Covid-19?
The IOE’s UCL Knowledge Lab has been leading a study of the experiences of staff across UCL during the rapid move to online teaching, research and working from home through the UCL Moving to Online Teaching and Homeworking project (MOTH). Data was gathered beginning March 26, 2020 via an online survey, with (more…)
The First World War prompted an expansion of HE after devastating destruction. Can we draw lessons 100 years on?Blog Editor, IOE Digital24 July 2020
Students coming to UK universities in September 2020 are facing a unique year: virtual freshers’ fairs, online lectures, social distancing and compulsory face coverings on campuses. Yet as lockdown eases, there is a renewed enthusiasm for continuing higher education – UCAS applications from UK school leavers are at an all time high.
A hundred years ago, there was a similar rush to the universities and colleges after the devastating disruption and loss of the First World War. A new open access article in the journal History, co-written with Sarah Hellawell and Daniel Laqua, is the first to examine an innovative government scholarship scheme for ex-service students. Between 1918 and 1923, the ‘Scheme for the Higher Education of Ex-Service Students’ broadened the social class base of UK universities and colleges, and marked a significant development in the provision of state funding for students’ higher education.
Immediately after the Armistice in November 1918, young people began planning their return to the universities and colleges they had left for military or civilian service. Many institutions, including University College London, ran an emergency year from January to August 1919, teaching through the vacation to enable students to complete their studies. A pressing shortage of school teachers drove a surge in demand for teacher training. At the London Day Training College (more…)