Education that makes life manageable, comprehensible, and meaningful: experiences of the Monash Access Program, a university alternative entry pathway

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Although formal education is arguably a powerful force for good, the experience of schooling can feel disempowering and disheartening to some young people. This chapter listens to students who have had negative experiences of schooling and entered university through an alternative pathway. Seven students who graduated from the Monash Access Program (MAP) in four different years share their insights into formal education. MAP is an intentionally relational program, grounded in critical praxis, for mature-aged students who have experienced educational disruptions. By drawing on Antonovsky’s concept of sense of coherence to understand the students’ insights, this study shows how MAP helped students to make sense of education as manageable, comprehensible, and meaningful. These students, who have had both educational disadvantage (prior to university) and educational advantage (through MAP), offer their perspectives into education’s role in helping us to live well and to create a world worth living in for all. With this study, after listening to the students, I argue that formal education can provide us with experiences of manageability, comprehensibility, and meaningfulness in order to create a world where we are able to thrive individually and collectively.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLiving Well in a World Worth Living in for All
Subtitle of host publicationVolume 2: Enacting Praxis for a Just and Sustainable Future
EditorsKristin Elaine Reimer, Mervi Kaukko, Sally Windsor, Stephen Kemmis, Kathleen Mahon
Place of PublicationSingapore Singapore
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9789819718481
ISBN (Print)9789819718474
Publication statusPublished - 2024


  • Sense of coherence
  • Enabling programs
  • Educational pathways
  • Alternative education
  • Salutogenesis
  • Relational pedagogies

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