Inequality: Education, opportunity and existential threat

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Equalisation of educational opportunity is seen as a condition for achieving a more equal society. However, the association between educational and material advantage has proved remarkably durable. This chapter argues that far-reaching reforms are required – including action to reduce material inequality directly – if education is to be effective in achieving social justice. It outlines the evidence for persistent inequality, acknowledging that progress has been made but indicating the ways in which broader social inequalities affect educational opportunity. Educational expansion pursued in isolation from other policies to reduce inequality and social opportunity poses a twofold existential threat to the future of education. First, it increases the direct effects of social background on social mobility. Second, this may intensify a legitimation crisis, a growing disillusionment with the ability of education to underpin social progress. The chapter concludes by identifying educational and social reforms that are necessary to reduce these threats.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMeeting the Challenges of Existential Threats through Educational Innovation
Subtitle of host publicationA proposal for an expanded curriculum
EditorsHerner Saeverot
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781003019480
ISBN (Print)9780367894856
Publication statusPublished - 23 Dec 2021


Dive into the research topics of 'Inequality: Education, opportunity and existential threat'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this