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Institute of Education

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A school in Madagascar by Milijaona Randrianarivelojisoa

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Poverty, education and inequalities

Theme leader: Dr Caine Rolleston

Education, more than almost any other public investment, is understood to have the potential to reduce poverty, promote growth and prosperity and to reduce inequalities. It is by no means guaranteed, however, that education policies will deliver such benefits. Moreover, education policies can also reinforce inequality.

Intersecting inequalities are pervasive across all phases of education and transitions between them (early years, primary, secondary and tertiary). They are linked to poverty and a range of other markers of disadvantage and discrimination.

How do the various forms, institutions, organisations, structures and delivery mechanisms of education contribute to contemporary inequalities? How do political, economic, social and cultural aspects of historically framed contexts shape education inequalities? What is the role of education in reproducing and transforming these relationships?

We draw on a wide range of methods, working across disciplines to examine the evidence, policy and practice dimensions of these issues. We are particularly interested in furthering understanding of the ways in which education policy and practice can serve to mitigate the effects of intersecting inequalities and to improve social justice within and beyond the sector.

Research projects