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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.

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Support low performers and disadvantaged schools

Centre for Educational Research and Innovation

The chapter examines and discusses the importance of school years and the role of educational institutions, teachers, school leaders and parents in ensuring equitable educational opportunities and outcomes. The findings suggest that early identification of low performers and targeted support needs to be provided to those students at risk of falling behind or dropping out of school entirely. Additional support needs to be provided to disadvantaged schools through the adequate allocation of resources, to ensure that all students receive the high-quality education and training needed to fully participate in society. School budgets need to be prioritised in recruiting and maintaining well-qualified human resources, such as school leaders and teachers, who play a critical role in reducing educational inequalities in their schools.

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