Educational Opportunity for All

Overcoming Inequality throughout the Life Course

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Equitable educational opportunities can help to promote long-lasting, inclusive economic growth and social cohesion. Successful education and skills policies can empower individuals to reach their full potential and enjoy the fruits of their labour, regardless of their circumstances at birth. However, as this report shows, far too many children, students and adults from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds fall behind. In many countries, substantial learning gaps exist between students at opposite ends of the socio-economic scale, and these differences tend to increase in the transition into adulthood.

All countries have ample room for improvement to ensure better learning outcomes for all. Early childhood education has been identified as an important element in future success, and requires investment, as do family and community-based support and programmes for children from families that have not attained a high level of education and skills. In the schools, targeted support is necessary for low performers from disadvantaged backgrounds and for poorly performing schools. As for the adult population, learning should be focused on improving employability, through a combination of education and practical job training. Barriers to participation in learning need to be removed, and delivery methods need to be more innovative and flexible. Targeted support is needed for the most vulnerable members of society.



Start by investing in education

Centre for Educational Research and Innovation

This chapter highlights the importance of early childhood development, particularly for children from disadvantaged backgrounds. Early childhood is a critical development phase for individuals, and its outcomes have an impact on outcomes later in life. Children from disadvantaged backgrounds are less likely to benefit from high-quality home learning environments than their peers from more affluent families. Disadvantaged children are also less likely to receive high-quality early childhood education and care (ECEC) services. Therefore, public provision of high-quality ECEC services and additional family-based support need to mitigate these early learning deficits. This chapter addresses these issues in detail, and makes policy recommendations for how governments can help children from disadvantaged backgrounds obtain equal opportunities to develop human capital.



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