Monday, December 5, 2011

'The hills come alive with the sound of ....'

Two days before the Seminar starts one more contribution to sharpen our minds for the days to come: The abstract of the seminar begins as follows: While education is essential for an individual to realize his or her true potential, ideally an equitable and effective education system also facilitates social mobility and leads to the development and increased prosperity of societies as a whole. Great strides have been made in providing enhanced access for children and young adults to education worldwide, but substantial gaps remain.

The quotes below taken from introductory papers illustrate huge risks that these ‘remaining’ gaps could be in effect indicators of deterioration rather than success:

• Education improves constantly and adapts to environmental changes, but the world of work changes faster asking for more;
• Through their social and home environment the higher social groups in society manage to keep the pace, leaving the lower groups behind;
• Continuously the most vulnerable groups in society are not reached by the educational aid that is made available thereby depriving the poorest of increasing their human capital.

Dylan Wiliam states in his paper: So if young people are so intelligent, and the teaching in public schools is at least as good as that in private schools, why is that employers are so unhappy? The answer is simple. Schools have improved, but the changes in the world of work have been even more extraordinary.

Jo Ritzen starts his paper by saying: The contribution of education to equality of opportunity is decreasing, because education adapts slower to the increasing complexities of our societies than the home and social environment of the upper class and the upper part of the middle class.

Birger Fredriksen summarizes: Human capital is often the only capital the poor can acquire. Therefore, the lack of progress on the neglected EFA goals has a disproportionate large negative effect on the life chances and social mobility of the poor.

The gauntlet has been thrown…
Posted by: Gerben Van Lent

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