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It is perhaps ironic that as the global financial crisis has, in some cases, led governments and institutions to pull back from and/or set more modest goals and associated funding around widening participation, there is an ever-growing sense that the ideals buttressing the widening participation movement are becoming more universally acknowledged by educators across the globe. That acknowledgement has translated into action on the ground via such means as policy formulation, strategic planning and target setting – each of which often reflects local contexts and manifests a regional ‘flavour’. There is also, however, an increasing realisation that there are commonalities in the challenges involved with national or regional initiatives to increase the participation of non-traditional groups in higher education and that the drivers of such initiatives – and ultimately the cohorts they target – stand to benefit considerably from an open exchange of ideas and sharing of experience.

This book brings together current regional perspectives on widening participation as presented by prominent academics, researchers, policy-makers, and students from across the globe. It will create for policy-makers, institutions, and individuals interested in enabling access, a useful and informative resource that will introduce, formulate, shape and reinforce the ideas and aims of the World Congresses on widening access.

As the contributors maintain, in an increasingly globalised market economy and in the face of recent seismic economic, political and social change around the world, it is imperative to both secure existing talent within our populations and uncover and nurture new sources of talent. The series of essays featured in this book will explore, anticipate, and highlight themes underpinning a global movement towards a step-change in thinking, strategies, and policies – one that places youth and students from around the world at its heart.

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