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Higher Education As a Public Good

Critical Perspectives on Theory, Policy and Practice


Edited By Ourania Filippakou and Gareth Williams

Higher education is likely to involve the majority of people at some time in their lives in the twenty-first century. The main drivers of expansion in the previous century were a belief that widening access promotes social equity and the advance of knowledge as the main factor underpinning economic success for individuals and societies. However, universal higher education in rapidly changing economies raises many questions that have been inadequately treated by previous authors. This volume focuses on the question of whether it is appropriate and inevitable that higher education systems are becoming so large and so diverse that the only realistic way they can be analysed is as aggregates of market-like transactions. Most of the authors are not satisfied with this conclusion, but they recognise, from several disciplinary perspectives, that it is no longer possible to take it for granted that higher education is intrinsically a public good. Are there convincing alternatives?
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About the editors


Ourania Filippakou is Senior Lecturer and Co-Director of the Postgraduate Taught Programmes in the Faculty of Education at the University of Hull. She holds a Ph.D. from the Institute of Education, University of London. Her main areas of interest are in higher education policy analysis and social theory.

Gareth Williams is Emeritus Professor at the Institute of Education, London University. He founded the Centre for Higher Education Studies in 1985 and was its Director until his retirement in 2001. An education economist; he has worked mainly on higher education finance.

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