MURAL - Maynooth University Research Archive Library

    I'm not that woman any more! or am I? Can higher education be transformative for mature students despite the challenges and barriers they face?

    Mahon, Annemarie (2018) I'm not that woman any more! or am I? Can higher education be transformative for mature students despite the challenges and barriers they face? Masters thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

    Download (798kB) | Preview

    Share your research

    Twitter Facebook LinkedIn GooglePlus Email more...

    Add this article to your Mendeley library


    The 1960s saw an increasing interest in the education sector in Ireland. The idea that education was crucial to Ireland’s economic development was included in the report entitled Investment in Education which was published in 1965. It is now recognised that most people will engage in some form of learning after completion of secondary school and that for many this may not occur until later in life. Mature students represented 9 per cent of new entrants to higher education in 2016/2017 (Higher Education Authority, 2018). Of that Maynooth University has the highest percentage of mature students in all universities in Ireland. They have a policy of “ensuring that 15% of places for new entrants to first year are available for mature students” (Maynooth University Admissions Office, 2018). In 2012 I commenced my studies in Maynooth University as a mature student, having been out of education for many years. Whilst here I encountered many other mature students who were following their dreams, obtaining credentials for career advancement and hoping to improve their choices in life. Attending as a mature student has been life changing but not without its challenges. This thesis looks at the possibility of transformation through higher education despite the challenges and barriers that are particular to mature students, such as care responsibilities, financial pressures and time constraints. Through in-depth qualitative interviews with ten research participants, the majority of whom were pursuing full-time education, this thesis explores whether participants feel transformed by their experience in higher education or whether the various barriers they face militate against this. The thesis looks at the nature of transformation with a particular focus on the meaning first introduced by Jack Mezirow, assessing the contribution of this theory for understanding if and how higher education can be transformative.

    Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
    Additional Information: Submitted in part fulfilment of the requirements of the MEd in Adult and Community Education
    Keywords: higher education; transformative; mature students; challenges; barriers; M.Ed in Adult and Community Education;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Adult and Community Education
    Item ID: 12238
    Depositing User: IR eTheses
    Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2020 17:44
      Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

      Repository Staff Only(login required)

      View Item Item control page


      Downloads per month over past year

      Origin of downloads