Meyer, H.-D., St. John, E.P., Chankseliani, M. & Uribe, L. (Eds.). (2013). Fairness in Access to Higher Education in a Global Perspective: Reconciling Excellence, Efficiency, and Justice. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers

Brewis Elisa
2017 Journal of Student Affairs in Africa  
Fairness in Access to Higher Education in a Global Perspective: Reconciling Excellence, Efficiency, and Justice is an edited volume that aims to address the central question of how and why we can promote policies for fair access to higher education (HE). It takes a fairly common view of equity, exploring fair access in terms of racial, socio-economic and rural/urban background. The chapters on China and Georgia also consider fairness in the context of political favouritism and nepotism. The
more » ... d nepotism. The book's primary focus is on access to HE, in other words, academic preparation, selection of students and affordability of HE. To a lesser extent, the book also explores the question of how to sustain participation in and completion of HE among disadvantaged groups. From the outset, the editors make it very clear that the purpose of the book is to counter a neoliberal narrative. They wish to open up a space among HE researchers and practitioners to learn about and consider alternative models for HE. The book aims to do this by giving us a systems-level perspective on HE policy, comparing post-WWII systems with current ones, and comparing systems across continents and political contexts. It does not, for instance, examine fair access policies via institutional behaviour or particular intervention programmes. The resultant 'bird's-eye view' of HE systems provides us a comprehensive and empirically rich entry point to a discussion on fair access to HE, with an attempt to include some non-OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) experiences as well. Although the book is pitched as a critique of the neoliberal model of HE, it nonetheless adopts a consistently pragmatic tone. This is evident in the way the discussion on fairness (justice) is framed alongside the policymaking concerns of improving quality vis à vis global competition (excellence) and funding constraints (efficiency). Before launching into the country case studies, the book first addresses theoretical understandings of justice in HE. In line with the approach described above, this discussion is anchored in concrete notions of justice. For example, Heinz-Dieter Meyer's chapter argues for an institutional-comparative approach (Sen, 2009 ) to reasoning about fair access to HE, as it "focuses our attention on the manifest and remediable injustices in a particular setting ..." (p. 16). The context of race, class and HE participation in the U.S.A. provide a
doi:10.24085/jsaa.v5i2.2708 fatcat:ff3bq5lk2vbnrawxu5qpwylotq