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GROUP 1. Mixed-methods study of higher education access in Georgia: Equal treatment of unequal people

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Abstract:

Supervisor: Professor Christopher Colclough
Anticipated stage in program at the time of the conference: data analysis finalized and beginning writing.
The purpose of the doctoral study is to examine Georgian HE access in order to answer the following questions: Is the residential location a factor of disadvantage for applicants to the first cycle of academic HE? Where does this disadvantage stem from? Access is an overarching concept consisting of three components: admission to a higher education institution (HEI), competitiveness of the HEI/programme, and per student public funding allocation. By residential location I mean the district and the urbanicity level of the geographic area where a HE applicant graduated from a general school.
The proposed study has experiential foundations. Policy-making career at the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia (MoES) instigated my professional interest in the controversial nature of the quasi-meritocratic agenda in academic higher education (HE) access. I spent two and a half years visiting poor as well as rich communities in Georgia, extensively conversing with people and observing that those in rural areas seem to enjoy fewer freedoms in pursuing the opportunities they value than those residing in urban areas. I have also witnessed the low level of consideration that the government gives to the issues of equality in education access and success.
Two theoretical perspectives – the capability approach and egalitarianism – establish the framework for the discussion of the research project findings.
I argue that rural families in Georgia suffer a double disadvantage in terms of HE access as they have problems earning enough for proper living and confront more challenges when “converting incomes into capabilities”, i.e. substantive human freedoms. Therefore, education policies need to be capability-development centred, “expanding the real freedoms that people enjoy” instead of test-scores and quasi-merit centred, denying educational opportunities to specific groups of disadvantaged people.
The position I adopt is egalitarian. However, I am not entirely opposed to meritocracy. Acknowledging that meritocracy implies competition, I argue that the government should be ensuring through education policies that everyone starts the competition in more or less equal position, i.e. everyone who makes the same effort, has an equal chance of winning. In other words, it is not that the left promote equality while the right promote meritocracy but that we differ in terms of our assumptions about the role of the state – the left maintaining that the state should get involved in the overall distribution or pattern whereas the right are critical about the state imposing anything on anybody.
My epistemology and ontology are defined in pragmatist terms. The pragmatic methodology goes hand in hand with a mixed methods research design. The purpose of mixing methods in this project is seeking primarily complementarity, i.e. elaboration, enhancement, and illustration, as well as expansion of the range and extensiveness of inquiry.
The two-phase sequential mixed-model design offers the best potential for answering the research questions. In phase I, the relationship between applicants’ residential location and their chances of HE access are examined by analysing the quantitative data about the entire population of HE applicants (2005-2009) in Georgia. Findings from the quantitative phase are further explicated in the second qualitative phase through the interviews with parents, students, and policy-makers.
By applying mixed-model design to the study of the quantitative data on approximately 150 000 applicants, a purposive sample of parents & applicants, and around ten policy-makers, I develop an empirically rich understanding of academic HE access in Georgia.
The mixed-model design allows me, on the one hand, to combine the breadth of numeric trends with details coming from the in-depth individual level exploration. On the other hand, it helps me convey the voices of the disadvantaged as well as the selected policy-makers who can work for the improvement of HE access conditions for them.
In Phase I, I bring together and analyze secondary data from multiple sources. The major source for the phase I analysis is the Unified National Exams (UNE) pooled data from five years. The strength of the relational component is that the data is available about the entire target population, i.e. all applicants to HE in 2005-2009. This is a consistent, homogeneous dataset containing personal information as well as the test scores of the UNE applicants. The dataset is put together by the relevant governmental agency in Georgia. The supplementary sources of secondary data, among others, include Georgian Social Service Agency & the Statistics Department of Georgia databases.
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Association:
Name: 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society
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http://www.cies.us


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p484634_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Chankseliani, Maia. "GROUP 1. Mixed-methods study of higher education access in Georgia: Equal treatment of unequal people" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society, Fairmont Le Reine Elizabeth, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, May 01, 2011 <Not Available>. 2014-11-26 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p484634_index.html>

APA Citation:

Chankseliani, M. , 2011-05-01 "GROUP 1. Mixed-methods study of higher education access in Georgia: Equal treatment of unequal people" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society, Fairmont Le Reine Elizabeth, Montreal, Quebec, Canada <Not Available>. 2014-11-26 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p484634_index.html

Publication Type: CIES New Scholar Fellow Proposal
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: Supervisor: Professor Christopher Colclough
Anticipated stage in program at the time of the conference: data analysis finalized and beginning writing.
The purpose of the doctoral study is to examine Georgian HE access in order to answer the following questions: Is the residential location a factor of disadvantage for applicants to the first cycle of academic HE? Where does this disadvantage stem from? Access is an overarching concept consisting of three components: admission to a higher education institution (HEI), competitiveness of the HEI/programme, and per student public funding allocation. By residential location I mean the district and the urbanicity level of the geographic area where a HE applicant graduated from a general school.
The proposed study has experiential foundations. Policy-making career at the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia (MoES) instigated my professional interest in the controversial nature of the quasi-meritocratic agenda in academic higher education (HE) access. I spent two and a half years visiting poor as well as rich communities in Georgia, extensively conversing with people and observing that those in rural areas seem to enjoy fewer freedoms in pursuing the opportunities they value than those residing in urban areas. I have also witnessed the low level of consideration that the government gives to the issues of equality in education access and success.
Two theoretical perspectives – the capability approach and egalitarianism – establish the framework for the discussion of the research project findings.
I argue that rural families in Georgia suffer a double disadvantage in terms of HE access as they have problems earning enough for proper living and confront more challenges when “converting incomes into capabilities”, i.e. substantive human freedoms. Therefore, education policies need to be capability-development centred, “expanding the real freedoms that people enjoy” instead of test-scores and quasi-merit centred, denying educational opportunities to specific groups of disadvantaged people.
The position I adopt is egalitarian. However, I am not entirely opposed to meritocracy. Acknowledging that meritocracy implies competition, I argue that the government should be ensuring through education policies that everyone starts the competition in more or less equal position, i.e. everyone who makes the same effort, has an equal chance of winning. In other words, it is not that the left promote equality while the right promote meritocracy but that we differ in terms of our assumptions about the role of the state – the left maintaining that the state should get involved in the overall distribution or pattern whereas the right are critical about the state imposing anything on anybody.
My epistemology and ontology are defined in pragmatist terms. The pragmatic methodology goes hand in hand with a mixed methods research design. The purpose of mixing methods in this project is seeking primarily complementarity, i.e. elaboration, enhancement, and illustration, as well as expansion of the range and extensiveness of inquiry.
The two-phase sequential mixed-model design offers the best potential for answering the research questions. In phase I, the relationship between applicants’ residential location and their chances of HE access are examined by analysing the quantitative data about the entire population of HE applicants (2005-2009) in Georgia. Findings from the quantitative phase are further explicated in the second qualitative phase through the interviews with parents, students, and policy-makers.
By applying mixed-model design to the study of the quantitative data on approximately 150 000 applicants, a purposive sample of parents & applicants, and around ten policy-makers, I develop an empirically rich understanding of academic HE access in Georgia.
The mixed-model design allows me, on the one hand, to combine the breadth of numeric trends with details coming from the in-depth individual level exploration. On the other hand, it helps me convey the voices of the disadvantaged as well as the selected policy-makers who can work for the improvement of HE access conditions for them.
In Phase I, I bring together and analyze secondary data from multiple sources. The major source for the phase I analysis is the Unified National Exams (UNE) pooled data from five years. The strength of the relational component is that the data is available about the entire target population, i.e. all applicants to HE in 2005-2009. This is a consistent, homogeneous dataset containing personal information as well as the test scores of the UNE applicants. The dataset is put together by the relevant governmental agency in Georgia. The supplementary sources of secondary data, among others, include Georgian Social Service Agency & the Statistics Department of Georgia databases.


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