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Inequality in education?

August 2015 | by Shelly Lévesque

The unequal delivery of  education is not one which world governments should be proud of – the link between low socio-economic background and poor educational attainment is widening.

This is more worrying, when research tells us that education is linked to unemployment, happiness, and well-being as well as health and shorter-life expectancy.

In the UK, educational inequality starts early, before a child even starts at school. Figures show huge gaps in vocabulary development, between children in the richest and poorest families.

The gap is widens further at high school children as poorer-parents and their teacher’s attitudes are not as supportive. As a result, poorer children are getting any GCSEs and that means lower job prospects and poorer-life.

In America, in the 1970’s many white and middle class blacks moved out of the cities and into towns and villages leaving the poor blacks and rising Hispanic American in those schools.

Like in the UK, a child’s education level will determine their income level, class and mental health placing the young quickly at a stark disadvantage than a peer who receives one.

The necessity for United States to have an equal education regardless of their neighborhood or incomes. Under the George Bush administration, “No Child Left Behind” was a positive move to address this issue, however 13 years on, there still large inequalities.

“What you’re seeing is the inequality of the labor market being echoed in education,” says the Economist Mile Coraks.

The Chinese economy is performing astonishingly well and is swiftly reacting to its own problems urban-rural educational gaps. The Chinese Government policy in 2012 was keen to promote educational equality and reduce regional, rural-urban school gaps.

The Chinese government has paid great attention to these “left-behind” kids and their educational policies is addressing the problem that has resulted from China’s increasing rate of urbanization. More than 20 million children moved from the rural to urban environment and many often were “left behind” children.

The issue is universal in other similar industrialized countries. It is fair to say the much needed change will only be achieved through the collective effort of governments, leaders in schools, teachers and parents – until then educational inequality will remain a reality for industrialised nations.Top of Form


About the authors

Shelly Lévesque are online tutors for Clovis California.

The author wishes to thank Improve’s Ross Girard for his contributions to this article.