There has been considerable expansion of higher education in England and France since the 1960s and especially during the past two decades. Both the number and proportion of young people going to university have increased dramatically in the two countries. This has been due to specific government policies aimed and raising the amount of graduates, in the population in order to boost the economy and improve social justice.
This paper will examine whether greater participation has led to wider participation in higher education in England and France since the 1990s.
First, I will briefly explore the landscape of recent policy changes regarding higher education in England and France. Then I will study in more detail policies on widening participation to hitherto under-represented members of the population in these two countries that have very different approaches to social justice and fair access in higher education. This will lead to a discussion on the effectiveness of contemporary widening participation, fair access and social justice policies in England and France.