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On Accessibility and Affordability of English Studies in Romania

Lucian Blaga University, Sibiu

My paper considers English Studies from the viewpoint of student enrolment and participation, trying to shed new light on the causes and effects of over- and under-enrolment. I argue that in the absence of coherent educational policies in the last two decades, several factors – declining academic status, radical demographic shifts, and progressively massive reductions in governmental financial support among them – have impinged on access and affected rates of participation, leading in time to both shortages in and burdens on universities. Under the circumstances, English Studies institutions have been staggering under the double pressure of ensuring academic program quality and accommodating mass access. English Studies departments have been seeking to re-negotiate their social function while simultaneously being ‘streamlined’ under the two (related) pressures of economic and academic restructuring devolving from the Bologna Process. My paper also discusses over- and under-enrolment from the viewpoint of the access and equity challenges they pose and argues that, paradoxically, despite the massification of Higher Education, English-language study programs show a propensity for elite student access, that is, they increase class divides and reduce lower-income student access to Higher Education.

Keywords: English Studies, Higher Education, over- and under-enrolment, massification, access, widening participation, barriers, demographic shifts



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