Navigating the future: Perspectives of aspirations for higher education
Prodonovich, S. (2013) Navigating the future: Perspectives of aspirations for higher education. In: 28th Annual Research Forum (WAIER): Research Informing Reform, 10 August 2013, The University of Notre Dame, Fremantle.
In a period of increased engagement with higher education in Australia, participation rates for low socio economic status (low-SES) students remains static. The national response in the wake of the Bradley Review into Higher Education (Bradley, Noonan, Nugent & Scales, 2008) has seen student aspirations emerge as central to policy and a critical site of action. This response is situated within a fluid national context where funding for social inclusion initiatives for higher education is not currently planned beyond 2015. Contributing to an uncertain future is an increasingly loaded national debate about the impact of increased participation in higher education on tertiary quality and an imminent federal election. In this paper, I provide an overview of perspectives on student aspirations underpinning current theory and programs discussed in the literature, with emphasis on current student outreach. From this overview, I arrive at a perspective grounded in critical theory that is based on the writing of Appadurai (2004) and the notion of aspirations as a navigational and cultural capacity. Implications for how this understanding of student aspirations will assist the planning and development of effective interventions in an uncertain future will be discussed.
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