‘I am just a loser of higher education’: a framework for comparative analysis of the value of adult higher education derived from a Chinese study

Shanshan Guan, Andrea Abbas

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Abstract

This paper proposes a unique framework for comparative analysis of different Adult Higher Education (AHE) systems. The framework combines, a conceptualisation of how students’ outcomes are shaped by the way that they and their degree courses are positioned in stratified higher education systems with, insights about the effects of institutional practice and individual students’ agency gained from applying Basil Bernstein’s notion of pedagogic rights and underpinning concepts. The framework facilitates an exploration of structures and agencies manifesting through institutional practices, students’ and graduates’ experiences. The value of the framework is illustrated by an analysis of biographical interviews with twenty female, Chinese AHE students and ten graduates. It tracks an emergent process evident in students and graduates’ descriptions of their disappointing emergent identities and limited employment progression. The framework provides a non-deterministic analysis that can inform how to comparatively analyse and improve AHE’s contribution to societies and economies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)928-940
Number of pages13
JournalStudies in Higher Education
Volume47
Issue number4
Early online date3 Jun 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 3 Jun 2021

Keywords

  • stratified higher education system, , ,
  • adult higher education
  • China
  • pedagogic rights
  • , inequality of higher education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science

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