March 29, 2018
Written by Luis Crouch
This blog was originally posted on the RISE Programme website.
The RISE Programme sees equity in education as fundamental. Key stakeholders in the international education community are re-focusing on learning and the equality (or inequality) of its distribution. The Sustainable Development Goals, more so than the Millennium Development Goals, put explicit emphasis on equity. The UK’s Department for International Development, the main sponsor of RISE, has also had a long-term interest in equity.
Arguably, the equity aspects that matter most in education are those that pertain to the life chances that education creates. Getting children into school and staying there is a first, relatively easy, step. But getting children to learn a lot, and reasonably equally, is a tough act. It is an important one, though, because it helps drive equality of life chances.
It is natural that the RISE Programme would be interested in what we know about the equality or inequality of learning in societies. Does inequality increase as average learning levels increase, because it is just inevitable that some will be left behind as the average goes up? Or on the contrary, is it that without “bringing up the bottom” it is really hard to push up the average? Caine Rolleston and myself took a first look at those issues for RISE, in an Insight piece whose title carries the key message: “Raising the Floor on Learning Levels: Equitable Improvement Starts with the Tail.”