Published: 2017-01-24

Part One of this article outlined the view of a range of commentators that the student protest movement that has emerged since 2015 is not homogeneous but comprises different groups with different primary interests and motivations. I argued, however, that the persistently high and racially skewed failure rates in higher education is a significant – though at present not overtly acknowledged – contributor to many students’ experience of frustration and alienation, and hence to the intensity of the anger that has characterised the recent student protests. In so far as this is the case, there is a vicious cycle in operation, where alienation leads to a breakdown in positive engagement between student and institution, and (as much research has shown) this in turn further obstructs learning and success.

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