Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2803

Editorial | Open Access

Access to Higher Education: An Instrument for Fair Societies?

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Abstract:  Access to higher education (HE) has a long history. To offer a view on the current debates and worldwide issues regarding access to HE, this editorial depicts how the control of educational access has historically been used as an instrument of governance at the interface of two processes: social stratification and the territorialisation of politics. Access to HE has remained embedded in these large structural processes even though HE has expanded from a highly elitist institution into mass education systems with equity of educational opportunities having become a desirable goal across societies. Analysing these processes helps understand the complex mechanisms producing inequalities in HE today, which are brought together by the ten articles composing this special issue. Tacking stock of how inequalities in access are produced in different continents, countries, HE Institutions, applying to different social groups though evolving mechanisms, these articles document the importance of contrasting methodological and theoretical approaches to produce comprehensive knowledge on this sensitive issue for democratic societies.

Keywords:  fair access; higher education; inequality; methodology; theory



© Gaële Goastellec, Jussi Välimaa. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.