Enlarging democratic access to higher education, increasing academic excellence while maintaining or, eventually, slowly increasing the level of public funding are some major objectives of any government. But these objectives are rather contradictory. To be able to describe quantitatively their relationships, the author develops a physical model, which permits to emphasize the relationships between these quantities (objectives), in connection with other quantities (parameters) important in higher education, such as motivation, basic previous knowledge, intellectual abilities, intensity of working, creativity, competitiveness, private funding, leading to a basic process equation, which relates the population of the considered society, P , the rate of access to university, a , the failure rate, f , and the dropout rate, d (both rates increasing with the increase of a ), the rate of access to graduation, a g , the normal study years T and the number of financed years of study per graduate, T fg , of each of the three cycles, the average cost c ( a ) of 1 year of study per student enrolled in a given cycle, the budget of higher education of the considered society, B HE , with its components for the three cycles, the necessary funding, F , of higher education (from public and private sources and from the own income of universities). The academic excellence of a student, E (a), is also considered. Each quantity is defined as being easily quantified for the development and the use of this physical model by sociologists. The conclusions of the model are that, without structural measures, by increasing the rate of access, a , the cost of higher education is to increase much more than a (this generating a difficult burden for the public budget) and that the increased access rate will induce a decreased average individual academic excellence, in spite of increased funding. The model explains the essential objectives of Bologna Declaration, firstly, in the pre-Bologna budgetary frame, no increase in the academic access is possible without reducing the number of years of a cycle (especially of the first one) and the unitary costs. It is necessary to conduct a structural multidimensional reform of higher education. The conclusions drawn using the developed model suggest some solutions as to how to better organize higher education in order to reach larger academic access, better results (academic excellence), without much increasing the public funding, in order to satisfy the major part of the parties involved—academy, students, government, employers, the public at large. Such a physical model meant to explore and explain social issues and suggest social solutions enlarges the scope of education and research, and may help the implementation of the National Pact for Education.

Full Text

Published Version
Open DOI Link

Get access to 115M+ research papers

Discover from 40M+ Open access, 2M+ Pre-prints, 9.5M Topics and 32K+ Journals.

Sign Up Now! It's FREE

Talk to us

Join us for a 30 min session where you can share your feedback and ask us any queries you have

Schedule a call