Magazine article Times Higher Education

Lifting the Cap 'Fails to Widen Access' in Australia

Magazine article Times Higher Education

Lifting the Cap 'Fails to Widen Access' in Australia

Article excerpt

Australia's move to a demand-driven higher education system has not increased the proportion of poor students entering the system, a report has concluded.

According to The Australian newspaper, the forthcoming report by Australia's National Centre for Vocational Education Research finds that although the demand-driven system - which was fully implemented in 2012 - has led to more students entering higher education, most of the extra places have been taken up by students from relatively wealthy backgrounds.

The report, The Factors Affecting the Educational and Occupational Aspirations of Young Australians, also finds that the uncapping of apprenticeship places has not led to more wealthy students becoming apprentices. It says that the only change wrought by the demand-driven system in the university and college sectors has been a slight lowering of entry standards.

In his Autumn Statement last December, George Osborne, the UK chancellor, said the UK would abolish student number caps from 2015-16. One of the reasons he cited was a desire to see more poor students attend university. Mr Osborne told Parliament: "This year we have the highest proportion of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds applying to university ever. …

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