IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


Education and social cohesion: lessons from a comparative international approach

20 October 2021, 1:00 pm–2:00 pm

Social mobility steps

In this webinar, Professor Jean-Paul Lambert will discuss how unequal compulsory education systems result in lower intergenerational social mobility, thereby weakening social cohesion.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Kiran Dhillon

Developments of the last decades (rising income inequalities, an increasing proportion of respondents to regular surveys expressing a feeling of ‘disaffiliation’, rising electoral abstentions and the rise of populist parties) have led to a renewed interest in the concept of social cohesion. Hence the quest to identify the main determinants of social cohesion. 

Education naturally comes to mind as a possible ‘candidate’, but work to date has struggled to identify the ways in which education might directly affect social cohesion. Intergenerational social mobility emerges as a major determinant of social cohesion, ahead of the other determinants identified so far in the literature. We can thus identify “cultural areas” which, because of the structural characteristics of their education systems, present structural weaknesses in terms of social cohesion.

This event will be particularly useful for those interested in social cohesion, social inequality, education systems, social mobility and policy.


Image: "Social mobility" from astrid westvang via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

About the Speaker

Professor Jean-Paul Lambert

Honorary Rector at University Saint-Louis, Brussels

Professor em. Jean-Paul Lambert holds a PhD in economics from UCLouvain. After teaching and research stays in the Netherlands and France, he spent most of his academic career in Belgium. His main area of research, initially in macroeconomics, later shifted to education economics and policy. For ten years, he was Rector of the University Saint-Louis – Brussels. He is frequently called upon by the Belgian public authorities to provide advice and expertise in the field of education. He is a member of the Royal Academy of Belgium.