Excluded from within: Knowledge, Class and Massification of University Access in Developing Countries

Monday, 11 July 2016: 09:00
Location: Hörsaal 34 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Patricio LANGA, University of the Western Cape/ Eduardo Mondlane University, South Africa
Sandra MANUEL, Eduardo Mondlane University, Mozambique
This paper departs from the assumption that access to higher education will continue to increase globally. A prominent feature of the contemporary tendency of expansion of access to higher education is inclusion of disadvantaged socio-economic groups and people from lower status and social classes. Thus, massification in higher education is characterized by differentiation, diversification and stratification of the sector. Notwithstanding, a typical contradiction is outlined. The contradiction has manifested by what we termed exclusion from within where a meaningful relation to scientific reasoning is denied to these popular classes. The ‘progressive’ massification of access to the knowledge institution does not guarantee access to powerful knowledge that remains highly selective and exclusive to the elites by means of effective relation to knowledge. The paper goes on to explore and discuss the differentiating features of access to higher education, particularly in developing countries. It argues that massification will, over time, undermine the capacity of the universities to deal effectively with its knowledge production function whereas simultaneously evolving towards meeting the societal demands of high social mobility and rates of return from the investment in higher education. In the knowledge economy and society provision of access as a form of commodity to popular classes may lead to even growing inequalities. The paper concludes by considering a way to address the paradox.