There are questions about whether widening participation in higher education is a force for democratisation or differentiation. While participation rates are increasing globally, there has been scant research or socio-cultural theorisation of how different structures of inequality intersect in the developing world. Questions also need to be posed about how higher education relates to policy discourses of poverty reduction and the Millennium Development Goals. The article explores participation in higher education, utilising statistical data and life history interviews with students in two public and two private universities. It focuses on how gender and socio-economic status intersect and constrain or facilitate participation in higher education. Findings to date suggest that opportunity structures reflect social inequalities.
International Journal of Educational Development (2009) 29 (1) 56-64 [doi:10.1016/j.ijedudev.2008.05.001]