This chapter focuses on the use of target-setting in Scottish higher education to boost participation by under-represented groups. The central question I address is whether the technology of New Public Management, such as performance indicators and targets, is likely to be useful in addressing the problem of social inequality in higher education. Traditionally, the Scottish Government has tended to adopt a light touch to university regulation and governance, using institutional carrots rather than sticks (Raffe, 2013, 2016). More recently, since the introduction of widening access outcomes agreements and the publication of the final report of the Commission on Fair Access (Scottish Government, 2015), universities have argued that the government’s interventions risk eroding university autonomy without achieving policy goals.
Thanks to Lucy Hunter Blackburn for permission to reproduce Figures 4.1 and 4.2 from her blog https://adventuresinevidence.com/2017/02/02/how-far-is-scotland-from-meeting-its-2021-widening-access-targets/
Riddell, S. (2018), "Can the Techniques of New Public Management be Used to Promote Wider Access to Higher Education?", Riddell, S., Minty, S., Weedon, E. and Whittaker, S. (Ed.) Higher Education Funding and Access in International Perspective (Great Debates in Higher Education), Emerald Publishing Limited, pp. 61-79. https://doi.org/10.1108/978-1-78754-651-620181004Download as .RIS
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