REF Program and Studies Officer Presents at SRHE Conference ‘Converging Concepts in Global Higher Education Research’

REF Program and Studies Officer Stela Garaz will present "The Link between Socio-Economic Background, Field of Studies, and Employability of Ethnic Roma Students in Europe" on Friday, December 11, 2015 at the Society for Research into Higher Education (SRHE) Conference "Converging Concepts in Global Higher Education Research" during the morning's CHEER Symposium on The Roma in European Higher Education: Internationalising Opportunity Structures, chaired by Professor Louise Morley. Garaz will discuss research conducted by the Roma Education Fund in Eastern Europe on Roma students’ decision-making about what to study in  higher education and whether their choices enhance or restrict their transitions to the labour market.

A summary of her paper follows:

Higher education used to be accessible mainly for the socio-economically privileged. However since the 1960s, higher education became more and more accessible to socio-economically disadvantaged people, and other previously marginalised groups. But despite the increasing improvements in widening access, the elitist opportunities in tertiary education have been preserved in other ways, one of them being the access to specific fields of studies. Since some fields have better employment prospects than others, the more ’marketable’ fields are more competitive at enrolment, often charge higher tuition fees, and therefore are less accessible for socially disadvantaged groups. This study focuses on the analysis of the socio-economic background and academic profile of ethnic Roma students in Central and Eastern European countries. The study results reveal that Roma students enroll in specialisations providing relatively less secure employment prospects and that this choice is linked to their socio-economic status.

This symposium is made possible by a research consortium led by the Centre for Higher Education and Equity Research, University of Sussex, together with Umeå University, University of Seville and the Roma Education Fund.

For news of the Higher Education Internalisation and Mobility project, click here.