Educational Inequalities in 2021 and How Can We Change Them?
Educational inequality refers to the unequal distribution of academic resources such as school funding, availability of books, qualified and experienced teaching staff, and more. While such inequalities have been there in our education system for years, the pandemic has made them even more evident.
For more than a year, the schools and academic institutions around the world have been closed, and because of this, nearly 214 million children worldwide have missed more than three-quarters of their in-person learning. As it appears, the students are paying the price for our response to the virus.
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Educational Inequalities in 2021
In March 2020, when the government in most countries decided to declare nationwide lockdowns, students were among the worst affected communities. Apart from dealing with the pandemic, they had to arrange home-learning facilities on short notice and had to go through different assessment methods. Needless to say, their education opportunities were affected badly.
It is unfortunate that the current generation of students has to pursue their studies through a pandemic. Things are even worse for the ones who will be graduating in the next few years. They will be leaving school in a recession. So, the employment prospects of these students are also affected by the inequality created by the pandemic.
The Loss of Learning Due to School Closures
Since schools and other academic institutions around the world remain closed, learning is taking place remotely. While this approach has its own set of advantages, the amount of time the children are spending on schoolwork has been varying massively depending on the school and parents’ ability to handle remote schooling. Now, that is also contributing to the growing educational inequality.
With the inequality in the time invested in the school-time due to remote learning facilities, most students need more days to prepare for a test. A study done by Lavy found that an additional hour of instructional time in a subject every week over the school year resulted in a gain in test scores of 6% of a standard deviation. In comparison to that, a lot of students are not even able to get the standard school time in the remote learning environment.
According to Burgess and Siervertsen, if students lose 3-4 hours of each main subject every week for a semester, this would be similar to about an hour over the school year, which would cause the 6% of standard deviation as mentioned before.
Besides, the earlier years of a child’s life are crucial for the development of their cognitive and non-cognitive skills. So, not having enough face-to-face school provision is likely to have a massive negative impact on the younger children.
Things are going to be even worse for the students who are socio – economically disadvantaged. It is common knowledge that household income and family environment play major roles in a child’s academic achievement. According to a recent survey done by Sutton Trust, 44% of middle-class parents are spending more than 4 hours daily on homeschooling. That goes for one third of working-class parents. Another report also suggests that the children in the richest quintile of families are able to spend over 75 minutes more on schoolwork than the children in the poorer households.
The Current Scenario of Higher Education
Even before the pandemic, a majority of the students who did not pursue higher studies were less likely to find a good job and were more likely to get lower wages. Needless to say, the labour market prospects of students will vary significantly based on what qualification they get. In this context, it is important to mention that vocational qualifications are quite economically valuable.
There are also problems for the ones who are or will be pursuing higher studies during this period. Despite the poor labour market, which should encourage students to continue their education, there is going to be a sharp decline in students in the higher education sector as they are unwilling to undertake remote learning.
This could be a good time for the students from lower-income families to apply for higher-ranked universities as there are empty places (through online java assignment help) due to the ongoing pandemic. This might be an opportunity to boost participation from students of different financial backgrounds.
What Policy Changes Can Be Made?
It is very clear that interventions are required to support students from socio – economically disadvantaged backgrounds and those who have fallen behind academically. Moreover, the education in the younger years of children needs to be prioritized. It is important that the learning loss is addressed with proper support while the students return to school. We also need to acknowledge the fact that now more families will be with economic difficulties.
The further education (FE) and higher education (HE) sectors need to communicate prominently that they are open next year and should encourage disadvantaged students to continue their education.
Since the vocational skills are developed best at firm apprenticeships, governments need to step up and help the firms in finding new ways to continue such apprenticeships. We also need to find out ways to boost the investment in the FE and HE sectors, targeting the most disadvantaged students.
Even though the economy overall has been hit hard due to the pandemic, investing in the human capital of the young should be the main objective of any economic recovery plan. However, it is also important to note that the socio – economic gap in educational achievement was large and persistent before the pandemic. While the pandemic reveals the health inequalities in our society, it has also highlighted the educational inequalities quite badly.
As the whole world tries to recover from the crisis, this may be a good time to rethink how we can reduce deeper economic inequalities that are at the root of all the problems.
Author bio: Suhana is a passionate blogger and digital marketing enthusiast. Suhana Williams is one of the most talented assignment experts who also provide online assignment help through Myassignmenthelp. She enjoys the ever-evolving world of digital marketing and loves to share her opinion on every possible update with her audience. When not creating magic with her words, you can find her sky-diving or trekking in the most bizarre locations.