Structural inequality is a framework that examines conditions in which groups of people experience unequal opportunities in terms of roles, rights and decision-making compared to others. This research sought to examine whether students from refugee backgrounds faced structural inequalities in their access to higher education. Data regarding the participation of refugee students in higher education between 2011 and 2014 was obtained from the Australian Department of Education and Training. This data was compared with sector averages and those of students from formal equity backgrounds to establish possible structural impediments to university study. Students from refugee backgrounds were found to face both horizontal and vertical inequalities in their access to higher education, as do other equity groups. The experience of refugee students appears to have unique features, however, including gender, age, type of institution accessed and potentially field of study. These barriers may be addressed to some extent by university outreach and support programmes, but more will be required to facilitate full participation in higher education by these students.
SOURCE: Naylor, R. Terry, L. Rizzo, A. Nguyen, N. Mifsud N. “Structural Inequality in Refugee Participation in Higher Education.” Journal of Refugee Studies, 19 September 2019.
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