An unfair start: inequality in children’s education in rich countries

In the world’s richest countries, some children do worse at school than others because of circumstances beyond their control, such as where they were born, the language they speak or their parents’ occupations. These children enter the education system at a disadvantage and can drop further behind if educational policies and practices reinforce, rather than reduce, the gap between them and their peers. These types of inequality are unjust. Not all children have an equal opportunity to reach their full potential, to pursue their interests and to develop their talents and skills. This has social and economic costs. This report focuses on educational inequalities in 41 of the world’s richest countries, all of which are members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and/or the European Union (EU). Using the most recent data available, it examines inequalities across childhood – from access to preschool to expectations of post-secondary education – and explores in depth the relationships between educational inequality and factors such as parents’ occupations, migration background, the child’s gender and school characteristics.

author
Chzhen, Yekaterina
Gromada, Anna
Rees, Gwyther
Cuesta, Jose
Bruckauf, Zlata
series
Innocenti Report Card
language
ENG
Series volume
15
Institutions
UNICEF Office of Research
date
2018
Pages
52 p.
regions
Asia and the Pacific
Europe
Americas and the Caribbean
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themes
Educational equality
Pays
Australia
Austria
Belgium
Bulgaria
Canada
Chile
Croatia
Cyprus
Czech Republic
Denmark
Estonia
Finland
France
Germany
Greece
Hungary
Israel
Italy
Japan
Latvia
Luxembourg
Malta
Mexico
Netherlands
New Zealand
Norway
Poland
Portugal
Korea R
Romania
Slovakia
Slovenia
Spain
Sweden
Switzerland
Turkey
UK
USA
levels
Primary education
Secondary education
Early childhood education

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