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“Academic drift” can mean two things. First, the term denotes a process in which non-university institutions aspire to operate like universities (Garrod and Macfarlane 2009, p. 9): this trend dates back to the 1970s, when polytechnics in the United Kingdom sought to adopt some of the key characteristics of universities (ibid.). Second, individuals are now seeking to obtain the highest possible level of formal qualification, which draws them in to tertiary education.
Source: Kopatz/Piltz 2015, Canada
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In HE research, the term ‘academic drift’ describes the influence of the attractiveness of the university status on non-university institutions that strive to acquire the same standing. It also describes a tendency of making vocational education more academic (Neave, 1996). Similarly, VET providers, especially those at the borderline of VET and HE sectors, are offering short-term tertiary cycles or are entering into cooperation with polytechnics, thus stepping into the HE field. This all forms part of the academic drift
Source: CEDEFOP 2009, Europe
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