The construction of under-representation in UK and Swedish higher education: Implications for disabled students

Elisabet Weedon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This article examines the inclusion of disabled students in the UK and Swedish higher education systems. In the UK, performance indicators focus on the participation rate of disabled students in comparison with those of non-disabled students, while in Sweden there are no specific performance indicators relating to disabled students. The paper notes that in both countries there is a dearth of inter-sectional data, recognising the heterogeneity of the disabled student population. It is argued that students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds who are also disabled may suffer a double disadvantage in accessing university and progressing through their studies. UK data show that disabled students are more likely to come from higher socioeconomic backgrounds, although this is due to the preponderance of dyslexic students who are disproportionately drawn from middle class backgrounds. The data also show that disabled students have lower progression rates than non-disabled students and that labour market outcomes differ in relation to type of impairment. The paper advocates a greater focus on intersectional analysis in relation to ensure effective support for all irrespective of impairment and social background.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-88
Number of pages14
JournalEducation, Citizenship and Social Justice
Volume12
Issue number1
Early online date1 Feb 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017

Keywords

  • disabled students
  • heterogeneity
  • intersectional analysis
  • social background
  • under-representation

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