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Education Equity Essay

The constitution of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) was adopted by 20 countries at the London Conference in November 1945 and entered into effect on 4 November 1946. The Organization currently has 191 Member States and six Associate Members.

The main objective of UNESCO is to contribute to peace and security in the world by promoting collaboration among nations through education, science, culture and communication in order to foster universal respect for justice, the rule of law, and the human rights and fundamental freedoms that are affirmed for the peoples of the world, without distinction of race, sex, language or religion, by the Charter of the United Nations.

To fulfil its mandate, UNESCO performs five principal functions: 1) prospective studies on education, science, culture and communication for tomorrow’s world; 2) the advancement, transfer and sharing of knowledge through research, training and teaching activities; 3) standard-setting actions for the preparation and adoption of internal instruments and statutory recommendations; 4) expertise through technical co-operation to Member States for their development policies and projects; and 5) the exchange of specialized information.

UNESCO is headquartered in Paris, France. UNESCO Institute for Statistics The UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) is the statistical office of UNESCO and is the UN depository for global statistics in the fields of education, science and technology, culture and communication. UIS was established in 1999. It was created to improve UNESCO’s statistical programme and to develop and deliver the timely, accurate and policy-relevant statistics needed in today’s increasingly complex and rapidly changing social, political and economic environments.

UIS is based in Montreal, Canada. American Institutes for Research (AIR) Since its founding in 1946 as an independent, non-profit and non-partisan organization, the American Institutes for Research (AIR) has conducted more than 3,500 projects providing basic and applied research, technical support and management services to government agencies, non-profit organizations and private companies. AIR’s work in education spans both the domestic and international areas, with the latter including extensive work in comparative education and international development.

1000 Thomas Jefferson Street NW; Washington, DC 20007-3835; United States; www. air. org. UNESCO Institute for Statistics P. O. Box 6128, Succursale Centre-Ville Montreal, Quebec H3C 3J7 Canada Tel: (1 514) 343-6880 Fax: (1 514) 343-5740 Email: [email protected] unesco. org http://www. uis. unesco. org ISBN 92-9189-041-3 © UNESCO-UIS 2007 Ref: UIS/WP/06-03 Cover design: JCNicholls Design Printed by: ICAO Executive summary.

The right to education has been recognised by the international community for the last half century and has led to increasing interest in the equity of countries’ education systems. However, the term “equity” is subject to a variety of interpretations. Most would agree that education systems that are “equitable” provide high-quality education to all children, regardless of their background or where they live. But from there, opinions diverge about what aspect of education should be distributed “equitably” to whom and about what levels of disparity are “equitable” or “inequitable”.

Recognising the lack of a common language for discussing the issue of equity in education, the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) undertook a study to bring together some of the diverse approaches to equity and to provide a more systematic approach to conceptualising and measuring the equity of countries’ education systems. This study comes at an important time for policymakers, particularly in developing countries that are striving to attain the goal of Education for All.

With appropriate tools in hand, policymakers will be in a better position to assess the equity of their education systems and to develop and implement policies and programmes to address the most critical related issues. This report presents the results of the study in three components. First, it provides a context for understanding the current interest in educational equity through a review of the evolution of international concerns about equity and previous efforts to define and measure equity more systematically.

Second, it presents a framework for measuring educational equity, along with methods for comparing the equity of countries’ education systems using a set of standard statistical measures. Finally, it demonstrates the application of the framework in 16 of the largest, most-populous countries around the world. These include three countries in Africa (Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa), five in Asia (Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia and Pakistan), five in Latin America (Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Mexico and Peru), along with Canada, the Russian Federation and the United States.

The empirical analysis conducted in this report centers on three specific “objects” of equity. One is a measure of access (enrolment ratios) and two are measures of resources allocated to education (expenditure per pupil and pupil-teacher ratios). The framework is applied using two main principles of equity – horizontal equity and equal educational opportunity. Horizontal equity examines disparities in access to education and resources for education within countries, using selected measures of dispersion that reflect different concerns of education policy.

Equal educational opportunity examines the relationship between wealth and the three objects of equity, as well as urban/rural differences in the provision of access to education and educational resources. – iii – Educational Equity and Public Policy In presenting the application of the equity framework, geographic regions within countries are used as the unit of analysis. In federal countries, these units are generally states, provinces and other political jurisdictions with authority over education; in nonfederal countries, the units are usually the first administrative entity below the national level.

The analysis of horizontal equity focuses on disparities across these units in access and resources; the analysis of equal educational opportunity relates regions’ wealth (measured as regional product per capita) and population density (a proxy for urban/rural location) with the objects of equity. Coefficients of correlation are used to measure the direction and size of these relationships. We recognise that regional disparities are not the primary concern of policymakers in all countries and that disparities based on gender, race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status may be more significant than geographic disparities.

We, therefore, suggest that the analyses presented in the report should not be used as the sole basis for judging whether a country’s education system is “equitable” or “inequitable;” other analyses are needed to fully inform this issue. However, it is also important to note that geographic disparities are of great importance in many countries, particularly large federal countries, and that there is a long tradition of research on this topic in both developing and developed countries. In the former, the focus has frequently been on access to education, with urban/rural disparities at the core of policy debates.

In the latter, the focus has historically been on disparities in resources provided for public education; in recent years, the emphasis has shifted to education outcomes, particularly student achievement. We view the empirical work presented in this report as an extension of that stream of research. Selected findings from the study This study attempted to compare countries on key aspects of educational policy and to assess the relative equity of their education systems, based on differences in access to education and the provision of educational resources in major geographical divisions.

Before presenting some of the key findings, a few caveats are in order. First, the findings presented represent a single but important dimension of equity in education. Second, even within the analyses presented here, there is not complete consistency in countries’ rankings on all access and resource measures. Countries may rank highly on one measure of educational resources and not so well on another. Third, countries’ comparative rankings on educational equity may depend on the group of countries used in the comparisons.

A different mix of countries could produce different determinations in our equity assessment. Finally, disparities within countries may often result from intended acts of policy (e. g. the provision of greater resources in poorer areas to compensate for their lack) that are producing the desired results. It is therefore important not to “over-interpret” the findings regarding geographical disparities and to conclude categorically that one country’s education system is more equitable than another’s. – iv – Educational Equity and Public Policy.

Horizontal equity: Regional disparities Table A provides an overview of countries’ relative standing on horizontal equity, based on the three objects of equity examined in this study: enrolment ratios, expenditure per pupil and pupil-teacher ratios. Countries that fall at the “top” of the rankings tend to have relatively small disparities across regions; countries in the “bottom” tend to have relatively large disparities; while countries in the “middle” tend to have moderate disparities relative to other countries.

Based on these findings, we find the following: Access to education: Enrolment ratios • Among the nine countries reporting enrolment ratios for both primary and secondary education, only Mexico has relatively small disparities at both education levels. Egypt and the Russian Federation have moderate disparities in access to primary and secondary education, while India and Brazil tend to have large regional disparities. Argentina and Peru have relatively small regional disparities in access to primary education and moderate disparities in secondary education, while the reverse is the case in South Africa.

Indonesia has moderate disparities in access to primary education and relatively large disparities at the secondary level. Among countries only reporting primary enrolment ratios, disparities are relatively small in China and relatively large in Bangladesh and Pakistan. At the secondary level, disparities in enrolment ratios are relatively small in Canada and the United States. • • Educational resources: Expenditure per pupil and pupil-teacher ratios • Canada, Peru, South Africa and the United States show the smallest interregional disparities in expenditure per pupil for primary and secondary education.

Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and the Russian Federation fall in the middle range, while China, Egypt and India have the largest disparities in expenditure per pupil across their regions. Overall, there is a strong correspondence between countries’ rankings on regional disparities in expenditure per pupil and pupil-teacher ratios in primary and secondary education. Canada, Peru, South Africa and the United States are at or near the top of the rankings on both measures, Brazil and the Russian Federation are in the middle, with Egypt and India at the bottom of the rankings. • -v-.

Educational Equity and Public Policy • Disparities in pupil-teacher ratios in primary education are smallest in Argentina, Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico and Peru; in the moderate range in Bangladesh, China, Ecuador and the United States; and largest in Egypt, India, Nigeria and Pakistan. Disparities in pupil-teacher ratios at the secondary level show some similarities and some differences with primary education: disparities are smallest in China, Indonesia, Mexico and Peru; in the moderate range in Brazil, Ecuador, Egypt, Nigeria and the United States; and largest in Argentina, India and Pakistan. • Table A.

Country placements on horizontal equity analyses of enrolment ratios, expenditure per pupil and pupil-teacher ratios Primary and secondary expenditure per pupil middle * middle top bottom * bottom bottom * middle * * top middle top top Primary and secondary pupilteacher ratio bottom * middle top middle middle bottom bottom middle top bottom middle top middle top top Country Argentina Bangladesh Brazil Canada China Ecuador Egypt India Indonesia Mexico Nigeria Pakistan Peru Russian Federation South Africa United States * Not available. Primary enrolment ratio top bottom bottom * top * middle bottom middle top * bottom top middle middle *.

Secondary enrolment ratio middle * bottom top * * middle bottom bottom top * * middle middle top top Primary pupilteacher ratio top middle top * middle middle bottom bottom top top bottom bottom top * * middle Secondary pupilteacher ratio bottom * middle * top middle middle bottom top top middle bottom top * * middle – vi – Educational Equity and Public Policy Equal educational opportunity Table B provides a summary of findings from the analysis of educational opportunity using the relationship between regional wealth and regional enrolment ratios, expenditure per pupil and pupil-teacher ratios.

In the table, a dash (“-”) signifies that countries tend to have lower enrolment ratios, lower expenditure per pupil or lower pupil-teacher ratios in wealthier regions; and a plus sign (“+”) signifies that countries tend to have higher enrolment ratios, higher expenditure per pupil or higher pupilteacher ratios in wealthier regions. An asterisk (“*”) is used in instances where a country does not have a consistent relationship between regional wealth and a given measure. Where the relationships are strongly positive or negative (greater than +0. 50 or less than -0.

50), there are no additions to the designated signs. However, parentheses are used to indicate relationships that are statistically weak (between -0. 50 and -0. 25 or between 0. 25 and 0. 50). Access to education: Enrolment ratios • Egypt, Mexico and Peru perform most poorly on this dimension of equity, with moderate to strong positive relationships between regional wealth and enrolments ratios in both primary and secondary education. In Argentina, Brazil, Canada, India, Indonesia, South Africa and the United States, wealthier regions also tend to have higher enrolment ratios in secondary education.

Poorer regions tend to have higher enrolment ratios in primary education in four countries: Argentina, Brazil, India and South Africa. However, India is the only country where the relationship is strong. • Educational resources: Expenditure per pupil and pupil-teacher ratios • Wealthy regions tend to provide greater expenditure per pupil for primary and secondary education in the 10 countries with available data. The relationships are strong in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, South Africa and the United States, and moderate in Egypt, Mexico, Peru and the Russian Federation.

Higher expenditure results in lower primary and secondary pupil-teacher ratios in wealthier regions in seven of these countries – Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Egypt, India and Peru. Wealthier regions also tend to have lower pupil-teacher ratios in primary education in Argentina, Brazil, China, Egypt, India and Peru. The same pattern is found in secondary education in these six countries, as well as in Mexico. • • – vii – Educational Equity and Public Policy Table B.

Findings from the analysis of equal educational opportunity – The relationship between regional wealth and regional enrolment ratios, expenditure per pupil and pupil-teacher ratios Primary and secondary expenditure per pupil + + + + (+) * n/a (+) n/a (+) (+) + + Primary and secondary pupil-teacher ratio (-) (-) (-) (-) * * * * * * Country Argentina Brazil Canada China Egypt India Indonesia Mexico Nigeria Peru Russian Federation South Africa United States Primary enrolment ratio (-) n/a (+) (+) * (+) n/a (+) * (-) n/a Secondary enrolment ratio + + + n/a (+) (+) (+) (+) n/a + * (+) +.

Primary pupilteacher ratio (-) n/a (-) (-) (-) * (+) * (-) n/a n/a * Secondary pupilteacher ratio (-) (-) n/a (-) (-) (-) * (-) * (-) n/a n/a * n/a: Data not available. * Not a statistically significant relationship (correlation between -0. 25 and +0. 25). – viii – Educational Equity and Public Policy Table of contents Page Executive summary …………………………………………………………………………………………… iii Acknowledgements ………………………………………………………………………………………….

13 1. 2. Introduction …………………………………………………………………………………………….. 15 Contextualising and defining educational equity …………………………………………… 17 I. Efforts to support educational rights and equity…………………………………….. 17 A. The United Nations …………………………………………………………………….. 17 B. Other international efforts…………………………………………………………….. 18 C. Efforts to measure equity

…………………………………………………………….. 19 II. Developing a framework to measure equity in education ……………………….. 20 The equity framework ………………………………………………………………………………. 22 I. Targets of equity concerns ………………………………………………………………… 22 II. Objects …………………………………………………………………………………………… 22 A. Access and progression……………………………………………………………….

23 B. Resources…………………………………………………………………………………. 23 C. Results ……………………………………………………………………………………… 23 III. Equity principles ………………………………………………………………………………. 24 A. Horizontal equity ………………………………………………………………………… 24 B. Vertical equity ……………………………………………………………………………. 24 C.

Equal educational opportunity (EEO) …………………………………………….. 25 IV. Measuring equity ……………………………………………………………………………… 26 A. Measures of horizontal equity ………………………………………………………. 26 1. Range ratio ………………………………………………………………………….. 27 2. McLoone Index/adjusted McLoone Index …………………………………. 27 3. Coefficient of variation …………………………………………………………… 28 4.

Gini coefficient ……………………………………………………………………… 28 B. Measures of vertical equity ………………………………………………………….. 30 C. Measures of equal educational opportunity…………………………………….. 30 V. Overview ………………………………………………………………………………………… 31 Application of the equity framework: enrolment ratios …………………………………… 32 I. Introduction to the analysis…………………………………………………………………

32 A. Countries selected for analysis …………………………………………………….. 32 B. Presentation of the analyses………………………………………………………… 36 II. Enrolment ratios ………………………………………………………………………………. 37 A. Horizontal equity analysis ……………………………………………………………. 38 1. Primary education…………………………………………………………………. 38 2.

Secondary education …………………………………………………………….. 40 B. Equal educational opportunity………………………………………………………. 43 1. Regional wealth and enrolment ratios………………………………………. 43 2. Regional population density and enrolment ratios ……………………… 44 C. Horizontal equity and equal educational opportunity………………………… 45 3. 4. -9- Educational Equity and Public Policy 5. Application of the equity framework: Expenditure per pupil …………………………….

47 I. Horizontal equity analysis………………………………………………………………….. 47 A. Composite rankings ……………………………………………………………………. 49 B. Consistency of rankings on equity measures………………………………….. 50 II. Equal educational opportunity ……………………………………………………………. 51 A. Regional wealth and expenditure per pupil …………………………………….. 51 B. Regional population density and expenditure per pupil……………………..

52 III. Horizontal equity and equal educational opportunity ……………………………… 53 IV. Changes in horizontal equity ……………………………………………………………… 54 V. Changes in equal educational opportunity …………………………………………… 56 A. Regional wealth and expenditure per pupil …………………………………….. 56 B. Regional population density and expenditure per pupil…………………….. 57 Application of the equity framework: Pupil-teacher ratios ………………………………. 58 I.

Horizontal equity analysis………………………………………………………………….. 58 A. Primary education ………………………………………………………………………. 60 1. Composite rankings ………………………………………………………………. 61 2. Consistency of rankings on equity measures ……………………………. 62 B. Secondary education ………………………………………………………………….. 63 1. Composite rankings ……………………………………………………………….

63 2. Consistency of rankings on equity measures ……………………………. 65 C. Combined primary and secondary education………………………………….. 66 1. Composite rankings ………………………………………………………………. 67 2. Consistency of rankings on equity measures ……………………………. 68 D. Consistency of rankings on horizontal equity in primary, secondary and combined primary and secondary education …………….. 69 II. Equal educational opportunity …………………………………………………………….

70 A. Regional wealth and pupil-teacher ratios ……………………………………….. 70 B. Regional population density and pupil-teacher ratios……………………….. 72 III. Horizontal equity and equal educational opportunity ……………………………… 73 A. Primary education ………………………………………………………………………. 73 B. Secondary education ………………………………………………………………….. 74 C. Combined primary and secondary education………………………………….. 75 D.

Summary of findings …………………………………………………………………… 76 IV. Changes in horizontal equity ……………………………………………………………… 78 A. Primary education ………………………………………………………………………. 78 B. Secondary education ………………………………………………………………….. 80 C. Primary and secondary education…………………………………………………. 81 D. Summary of findings ……………………………………………………………………

82 V. Changes in equal educational opportunity …………………………………………… 84 A. Regional wealth and pupil-teacher ratios ……………………………………….. 84 B. Regional population density and pupil-teacher ratios……………………….. 85 Sources, methods and technical notes ………………………………………….. 87 References…………………………………………………………. …………………… 105 Glossary…………………………………………………………………………………..

113 Equity-related education laws, policies and research in core countries………………………………………………………….. 118 – 10 – 6. Appendix 1. Appendix 2. Appendix 3. Appendix 4. Educational Equity and Public Policy Tables Page 3. 1 3. 2 3. 3 4. 1 4. 2 4. 3 4. 4 4. 5 4. 6 4. 7 4. 8 4. 9 5. 1 5. 2 5. 3 5. 4 5. 5 5. 6 5. 7 6. 1 6. 2 6. 3 6. 4 6. 5 6. 6 6. 7 6. 8 6. 9 6. 10 6. 11 6. 12 6. 13 6. 14 6. 15 6. 16 6. 17 6. 18 Types of objects ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

22 Illustration of Gini coefficient – distribution of pupil-teacher ratios for country A ……………………… 29 Illustration of Gini coefficient – distribution of pupil-teacher ratios for country B ……………………… 30 Type of government, name of regions and number of regions in countries…………………………….. 33 Population and area of countries ……………………………………………………………………………………… 33 Gross product per capita and population density…………………………………………………………………

35 National primary enrolment ratios …………………………………………………………………………………….. 38 Horizontal equity measures of primary enrolment ratios………………………………………………………. 39 Ranking order on horizontal equity measures of primary enrolment ratios …………………………….. 39 National secondary enrolment ratios…………………………………………………………………………………. 41 Horizontal equity measures of secondary enrolment ratios …………………………………………………..

41 Ranking order on horizontal equity measures of secondary enrolment ratios…………………………. 42 National public combined primary and secondary expenditure per pupil ……………………………….. 48 Horizontal equity measures of public combined primary and secondary expenditure per pupil…. 48 Ranking order on horizontal equity measures of public combined primary and secondary expenditure per pupil ………………………………………………………………………………………. 49 Change in national average public primary and secondary expenditure per pupil ……………………

55 Horizontal equity measures of public primary and secondary expenditure per pupil, 1995 and 2002 ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 55 Correlation between GRP per capita and public combined primary and secondary expenditure per pupil, 1995 and 2002……………………………………………………………….. 56 Correlation between regional population density and public combined primary and secondary expenditure per pupil, 1995 and 2002………………………………………………………………..

57 National public primary pupil-teacher ratios ……………………………………………………………………….. 59 National public secondary pupil-teacher ratios …………………………………………………………………… 59 Horizontal equity measures of public primary pupil-teacher ratios ………………………………………… 60 Ranking order on horizontal equity measures of public primary pupil-teacher ratios ……………….. 60 Horizontal equity measures of public secondary pupil-teacher ratios……………………………………..

63 Ranking order on horizontal equity measures of public secondary pupil-teacher ratios …………… 63 Horizontal equity measures of public combined primary and secondary pupil-teacher ratios……. 66 Ranking order on horizontal equity measures of public combined primary and secondary pupil-teacher ratios …………………………………………………………………………………………. 66 Correlation between GRP per capita and public pupil-teacher ratios ……………………………………..

71 Correlation between regional population density and public pupil-teacher ratios…………………….. 72 Change in national average public primary pupil-teacher ratios ……………………………………………. 79 Horizontal equity measures of public primary pupil-teacher ratios, 1995 and 2002 …………………. 79 Change in national average public secondary pupil-teacher ratios ……………………………………….. 80 Horizontal equity measures of public secondary pupil-teacher ratios, 1995 and 2002 ……………..

81 Change in national average public combined primary and secondary pupil-teacher ratios ………. 81 Horizontal equity measures of public combined primary and secondary pupil-teacher ratios, 1995 and 2002………………………………………………………………………………….. 82 Correlation between GRP per capita and public pupil-teacher ratios, 1995 and 2002……………… 84 Correlation between regional population density and public pupil-teacher ratios, 1995 and 2002 ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

86 – 11 – Figures Page 3. 1 3. 2 3. 3 3. 4 4. 1 4. 2 4. 3 4. 4 4. 5 5. 1 5. 2 5. 3 5. 4 5. 5 6. 1 6. 2 6. 3 6. 4 6. 5 6. 6 6. 7 6. 8 6. 9 6. 10 6. 11 6. 12 6. 13 6. 14 Objects and targets of equity …………………………………………………………………………………………… 23 Interpreting horizontal equity measures …………………………………………………………………………….. 27 Illustration of the Gini coefficient ……………………………………………………………………………………….

29 Overview of the equity framework…………………………………………………………………………………….. 31 Primary enrolment ratio ranking orders on horizontal equity measures …………………………………. 40 Secondary enrolment ratio ranking orders on horizontal equity measures……………………………… 42 Correlation between GRP per capita and primary and secondary enrolment ratios ………………… 43 Correlation between population density and primary and secondary enrolment ratios ……………..

44 Country positions on horizontal equity and equal educational opportunity measures of enrolment ratios in primary (P) and secondary (S) education …………………………………………… 45 Average rankings on horizontal equity measures of public combined primary and secondary expenditure per pupil ………………………………………………………………………………………. 50 Public combined primary and secondary expenditure per pupil ranking orders on horizontal equity measures ………………………………………………………………………………………….

51 Correlation between GRP per capita and public combined primary and secondary expenditure per pupil ………………………………………………………………………………………. 52 Correlation between regional population density and public combined primary and secondary expenditure per pupil ………………………………………………………………………………………. 53 Country positions on horizontal equity and equal educational opportunity measures of expenditure per pupil in public combined primary and secondary education.


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