Presentation on: Educational Inequality, Educational Expansion and Intergenerational Mobility

In this video, Jo Blanden (University of Surrey) looked at educational inequality by family background in the UK. The British experience of educational expansion has been characterized by several changes in higher education policy between 1980 and 2015 – introduction and increase of university tuition fees from 1000 to 9000 Pounds, increasing availability, generosity and targeting of student funding and phasing out of student number caps – which have, however, not reduced the extend of vertical stratification of UK’s higher education. Thus, even if reforms at the secondary level which substantially reduced achievement gaps between children from privileged and disadvantaged backgrounds and contributed to enlarge the student population, this has not fully translated into reducing educational inequality. The share of students from disadvantaged groups who acquire a tertiary degree at age 23 has more than doubled between cohorts born in the 1950s and in the 1980s. But students from privileged groups are still overrepresented in “Russell Group Universities” as well as at the postgraduate level; they thus continue to distinguish themselves via high prestige qualifications which offer large labour market returns. Yet, the use of school-based assessments instead of exams as defining component in the university application process is able to put more emphasis on access on the basis of qualification and might contribute to level the playing field.

Posted on February 24, 2021

February 24, 2021 |