Equality of opportunity in UK’s higher education system is provided for by the transparency practices observed during admissions (Schuetze & Slowey, 2013, p.269). The higher education admissions boards shun discriminatory practices when selecting and admitting students in higher learning institutions. This practice is consistent with the legal provisions that enforce right to education. In other words, gender, class, age, ethnicity, faith, disability, wealth, and sexual orientation are not the determining factors for admissions purposes (Brunswick, 2012, p.183). However, this does not rule out the occurrence of discriminatory practices in the UK education system. Cases of failure to admit qualified students have been reported, thereby raising concerns about the extent to which UK higher education system provides for equality of opportunity (HEFCE, 2008).
The UK education sector is characterized by a large number of foreign student populations. It is important to note that the admission of foreign students in higher learning institutions is done in line with the available opportunities. Given this the high number of foreign students in the UK, it is undoubtedly true to conclude that the UK system has diversified its education opportunities. As result, equality of opportunity is not only provided to the locals, but also to the international student population.
Merit is a vital factor that influences student enrolment in the UK higher education system. Whilst the system has been said to operate on a for-merit basis, the reliability, relevance, and validity of the process have been challenged (Parry, 2007, p.104). This follows concerns about the exact factors and variables that define merit. In regard to the merit factor, the equality of opportunity prospect has been more or less jeopardized. Notably, the admissions system works towards minimizing or alleviating