Social justice debate and college access in Latin America: merit or need? The role of educational institutions and states in broadening access to higher education in the region

Cristobal Villalobos, Ernesto Treviño, Ignacio Wyman, Judith Scheele


During the first decade of the 21st century, Latin America experienced an intense economic growth that increased access in the school system. In this context, the paper  analyzes four different programs from Bolivia (Intercultural Community Indigenous Universities), Brazil (Quotas´ Law), Chile (Follow up and Effective Access to Higher Education Program) and Ecuador (Scholarship Program based on Quotas) aimed at improving the participation of marginalized students in the university from three different perspectives. First, conceptually, the paper analyzes the governance of these programs in terms of what are the institutional arrangements that define who is responsible for solving this source of inequality in higher education. Second, the study looks at the concepts of equality, fairness, merit, need and diversity behind the different initiatives presented, using the social justice debate. Thirdly, the paper uses the framework of analysis of different types of access programs to study the scope, components and arrangements of the policies.  The results show a high level of heterogeneity in the characteristics and focuses of the programs, which allows to deepen the discussion on the role of access to higher education in the region.


Latin America, Higher Education, Equity, Access

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Copyright (c) 2019 Cristobal Villalobos, Ernesto Treviño, Ignacio Wyman, Judith Scheele


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