Document Type



Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence



Publication Details

Level3 – August 2006 – Issue 4


This paper presents the initial results of an investigation into the current awareness and perceptions of equity issues amongst academic staff working on a postgraduate learning and teaching course for teachers in tertiary education in the Republic of Ireland. The study is set in the contemporary landscape of discourses around equality, egalitarianism and equity in education generally. The Irish White Paper on Adult Education Learning for Life (2000) recommends that adult education should be underpinned by three core principles, one of which is to promote equality of access, participation and outcome for participants in adult education, with pro-active strategies to counteract barriers arising from differences of socio-economic status, gender, ethnicity and disability. However, there is no detailing of specific research conducted on equality issues on Postgraduate Certificate Courses for teachers in tertiary level education and how staff working on such courses conceptualise their own practice within current, sometimes conflicting discourses. Therefore, the primary aim of this study is to uncover whether the rhetoric of equity in an Irish higher education institution is being put into practice in reality by the academic course team specifically on this particular course and more widely within the institution in which the course is being delivered, and to critically examine the implications for policy. A qualitative questionnaire was distributed to the course team who designed and are delivering the particular course under study to gauge their awareness of, and attitudes towards, equity in higher education and their experiences of it. Findings included issues with regards to equality of access, participation, outcome and esteem.