Equal access to education for all and everywhere
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Theses on the current problems
1. In recent years and decades, social inequality has widened again and vertical mobility in education has decreased.
2. The Corona pandemic has further widened the gap of unequal educational opportunities between rich and poor in almost all countries.
3. The increased orientation of education and training toward markets and their increasing privatization has also exacerbated educational inequality.
4. In many countries with developed or predominantly private educational institutions - such as the USA - the indebtedness of education graduates has increased in recent years and the social polarization of education has grown (the poor go to - often inferior - state schools, the rich to expensive private schools).
Ideas for possible solutions
- Unrestricted right to education for all everywhere
- For equal access for all to all schools and educational opportunities
- High-quality public education in all countries and at all levels - private education only as a supplement to public educational institutions
- Establishment of a separate education account for everyone, regardless of their country of residence.
- Transfer payments from rich countries to education funding in poor countries
Pierre Bourdieu (1982, 1983) has pointed out that the educational system and schools generally reproduce existing social groups and classes. Schools transmit values of the upper classes and the upper middle classes. Educational content is "high cultural capital" and is formalized in the form of university degrees and passed on from generation to generation. As is well known, Bourdieu distinguishes four forms of capital: economic capital (wealth, income), social capital (relationships with influential people and groups), cultural capital (knowledge, craft skills, education, academic titles, etc.) and symbolic capital (personal recognition, prestige, good reputation, etc.; see Feldmann 2005:53). Education as a component of cultural capital can take three forms according to Bourdieu (cf. Feldmann 2005:254): First, incorporated capital such as body-bound, internalized dispositions, attitudes, and competencies; second, objectified cultural capital such as books, pictures, instruments, buildings, etc.; third, institutionalized cultural capital such as school degrees and other high-value credentials. To be sure, Bourdieu emphasizes that cultural capital passes primarily from parents to children, as evidenced, for example, by the relative impermeability of educational systems to members of different social classes or groups. Although the social permeability of the education system temporarily increased in the 1970s, this trend reversed from the late 1980s onward. But it is certainly true to this day that, even if some underprivileged people manage to move up, "the most important groups ... remain relatively constant in their relations and the hierarchical order ... stable" (Feldmann 2005:255). Yes, Bourdieu (cf. Feldmann 2005:255) speaks of "symbolic violence" (cf. also Kramer 2013:118ff.) that is exerted on educationally disadvantaged children in the education system. This makes it all the more important for all people, regardless of their social background, to constantly increase or at least preserve their educational capital. After all, cultural capital is still far easier to acquire than, for example, economic, social or symbolic capital.
In the U.S., between 1989 and 2014, state education costs increased in nominal terms from $37.5 billion to $83.5 billion, an increase of 7.9% when adjusted for inflation (cf. Braunschweig 2016:29). However, the number of students increased by 50% at the same time as costs increased by 50%, which means that over the past 25 years, state contributions to education per person had fallen by a net 24% (cf. Braunschweig 2016:29).
- Bourdieu, Pierre
1982: Die feinen Unterschiede. Kritik der gesellschaftlichen Urteilskraft. Frankfurt: Suhrkamp.
1983: Ökonomisches Kapital, kulturelles Kapital, soziales Kapital. In: Kreckel, Reinhard (Hrsg.): Soziale Ungleichheiten. Göttingen: O. Schwartz.
- Braunschweig, Oliver
2016: Wenn Bildung zum Risiko wird. In: Neue Zürcher Zeitung vom 6.4.2016. 29.
- Feldmann, Klaus
2005: Soziologie kompakt. Eine Einführung. 3. Auflage. Wiesba-den: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften.
- Kramer, Rolf-Torsten
2013: Abschied oder Rückruf von Bourdieu? Forschungsperspek-tiven zwischen Bildungsentscheidungen und Varianten der kulturel-len Passung. In: Dietrich, Fabian / Heinrich, Martin / Thieme, Nina (Hrsg.): Bildungsgerechtigkeit jenseits von Chancengerechtigkeit. Theoretische und empirische Ergänzungen unter Alternativen zu ‚PISA‘. Wiesbaden: Springer VS. 115 – 135.