Non-Fiction Books:

The Marketisation of English Higher Education

A Policy Analysis of a Risk-Based System


Paperback / softback

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The Marketisation of English Higher Education by Colin McCaig
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This book traces the development of a fully marketised higher education system in England over a 30-year period, and identifies five distinct stages of market reforms culminating in the Higher Education and Research Act (HMSO, 2017). The Act shifted the risks of institutional failure (and the prospect of market exit) onto applicants, presenting them with ever more applicant choice information and encouraging them to use their consumer behaviour to oblige weaker providers' lower tuition fees or lose market share to new competitors. The new regulatory regime represents a marked departure from previous attempts to introduce market dynamism into the sector and places the English HE system at the forefront of a global trend of system marketisation. The book employs a critical policy discourse analysis and addresses several key aspects of the current higher education policy landscape. It considers the extent to which there been a continuity of policy from the encouragement of efficiencies and accountability in the 1980s to the emphasis on competition and risk in 2017; whether the marketisation process is designedly cumulative or has developed in response to factors beyond the control of policymakers; and what the English case can tell us about the nature of neoliberalism and the future trajectories of other national systems in the process of marketising and differentiating their institutions.

Author Biography

Colin McCaig is Professor of Higher Education Policy at the Sheffield Institute of Education, Sheffield Hallam University. He has published widely in the fields of widening participation and the impact of the marketisation of on access to higher education. He is editor of the journal Higher Education Review and Convenor for the British Educational Research Association's Higher Education Special Interest Group. He is the co-editor of Equality and Differentiation in Marketised Higher Education: A New Level Playing Field? (Palgrave, 2018)
Release date Australia
September 17th, 2018
Country of Publication
United Kingdom
Emerald Publishing Limited
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