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Education & Inequality Economics of Education (Hons) 8 May 2012 Nicholas Spaull nicspaull.com/research

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Presentation on theme: "Education & Inequality Economics of Education (Hons) 8 May 2012 Nicholas Spaull nicspaull.com/research"— Presentation transcript:

1 Education & Inequality Economics of Education (Hons) 8 May 2012 Nicholas Spaull nicspaull.com/research

2 Education Education & Inequality How do we define inequality? How does education influence these inequalities? Income inequality? Earnings Inequality of opportunity? Access / life chances Political inequality? Power relationships Social inequality? Class Race Gender Language EDUCATION

3 Education Benefits of education Improvements in productivity Economic growth Reduction of inter-generational cycles of poverty Reductions in inequality Lower fertility Improved child health Preventative health care Demographic transition Improved human rights Empowerment of women Reduced societal violence Promotion of a national (as opposed to regional or ethnic) identity Increased social cohesion $ Society Health Economy Specific references: lower fertility (Glewwe, 2002), improved child health (Currie, 2009), reduced societal violence (Salmi, 2006), promotion of a national - as opposed to a regional or ethnic - identity (Glewwe, 2002), improved human rights (Salmi, 2006), increased social cohesion (Heyneman, 2003), Economic growth – see any decent Macro textbook, specifically for cognitive skills see (Hanushek & Woessman 2008) Ed H S Ec

4 Education Theory: Human Capital Education increases peoples ability to add value (productivity) HCM += The failure to treat human resources explicitly as a form of capital, as a produced means of production, as the product of investment, has fostered the retention of the classical notion of labour as a capacity to do manual work requiring little knowledge and skill, a capacity with which, according to this notion, labourers are endowed about equally. This notion of labour was wrong in the classical period and it is patently wrong now. Counting individuals who can and want to work and treating such a count as a measure of the quantity of an economic factor is no more meaningful than it would be to count the number of all manner of machines to determine their economic importance (Schultz, 1961, p. 3). Man Incr MP of L Incr profits Incr wage Skills & health

5 Education Elusive equity Given the strong links between education and income, educational inequality is a fundamental determinant of income inequality. Clear need to understand SA educational inequality if we are to understand SA income inequality. High inequality + unemployment 2 of the most severe problems facing SA – Educational quality is intimately intertwined with both of these. Education shall be free, compulsory, universal and equal for all children (Freedom Charter)

6 Education Elusive equity Type of education Quality of education Duration of education SA is one of the top 3 most unequal countries in the world Between 78% and 85% of total inequality is explained by wage inequality Wages IQ Motivation Social networks Discrimination

7 Education Theory – education in SA SES at birth Cognitive ability in early childhood Educational performance in early school years Educational achievement in matric Ultimate educational attainment and quality Labour market performance Cost of tertiary education (explicit & implicit costs) Parental & personal aspirations and perceptions Society/culture Parental IQ (assortative mating) Maternal health Nutrition Early cognitive stimulation: preschool (quantity & quality), home environment Average school SES Language of learning & teaching (LOLT) Teacher quality Peer effects Subject choice Type of tertiary education (quality) - institution and field of study Demand and supply Individual motivation South Africa (See Taylor, 2010)

8 Education For UK SES at birth Cognitive ability in early childhood Educational performance in early school years Educational achievement in matric Ultimate educational attainment and quality Labour market performance South Africa

9 Education Righting the wrongs... Is spending a good proxy for true inequalities in education? What are other possible measures of progress or improvement? Which are most valuable? Why?

10 Education Intergenerational inequality Ideal world (AKA Finland ) 1.Means blind – Ideally, an education system should be means blind in that it offers equal educational opportunities to all students. 2.Meritocratic – Ideally, an individuals success at school (and later in the labour-market) should depend on ability and effort not class or wealth. In SA, neither of these criteria are met. Low quality education is a poverty trap. Hereditary poverty Low social mobility Low quality education

11 Education SA educational inequality

12 Education Two education systems not one Language PIRLS Gr 5 (Shepherd, 2011) Ex-Department NSES Gr 4 (Taylor, 2011) Socioeconomic status SACMEQ Gr 6 (Spaull, 2011) Mean >> median Average SA student does not exist in any meaningful sense. Most average figures overestimate what the majority of SA students can do

13 Education Educational inequality Taylor, 2011 Yamauchi, 2011 Does this mean more resources is the answer? Average White Gr3 student knows more than the average Black Gr5 student (wrote same test). Spatial inequalities Geography becomes critical when access to opportunities is distributed unevenly over space (Yamauchi, 2011) Under apartheid limited movement for non- whites Positive correlation between school quality and school fees, quality education remains concentrated in formerly white, coloured and indian schools where the majority is non-African. Think of Stellenbosch, Khayamandi and Cloetesville – apartheid distinctions. Coloured children go to Rhytenbos, Black children go to Khayamandi high, White children go to Rhenish (generalization).

14 Education Resources the issue? More maths textbooks More reading textbooks $79/pupil $1225/pupil

15 Education

16 Table 1: Distribution of Various Schooling Statistics across School Wealth Quartiles (Grade 6 - SACMEQ III) CategoryVariable School Wealth Quartiles 1234Total Performance Reading score Mathematics score Proportion functionally illiterate43.3%33.3%25.6%4.1%27.3% Proportion functionally innumerate56.9%48.6%44.8%8.4%40.2% Reading teacher reading score Maths teacher mathematics score Textbooks Has own reading textbook34.4%42.3%38.2%66.1%45.0% Has own mathematics textbook27.6%35.8%32.3%50.9%36.4% School factors Gets homework "Most days of the week"49.9%52.1%46.1%75.8%56.1% Self-reported teacher absenteeism (days) Repeated at least 2 grades10.9%9.3%10.3%1.8%8.1% Pupil-Teacher-Ratio School in urban area5.5%21.4%31.2%73.3%31.9% Student very old (14y+)23.7%20.1%14.0%2.0%15.3% Home background Speaks English at home 'Always'5.6%7.4%9.2%39.5%15.3% Student has used a PC before11.8%39.9%51.4%94.9%47.8% More than 10 books at home17.3%23.0%30.8%67.2%34.1% At least one parent has matric29.9%40.6%49.3%77.2%48.5% At least one parent has a degree4.7%7.8%10.7%28.7%12.8%

17 Education

18 Questions, conclusions & recommendations

19 Education Speaking of a single education system in SA is a misnomer – the average South African student does not exist in any meaningful sense. Bimodality is a fact. Types of inequalities? – Income, language, geography, class, Conclusions Hereditary poverty Low social mobility Low quality education Serious blight on the national conscience Persistent patterns of poverty and privilege

20 Education Questions If not the quality of education, what is the driving force behind income inequality? Why is it so difficult to change educational outcomes? (18 years since 1994!) How important are spatial inequalities in explaining the differences? Solution?

21 Education Conclusion? What do you think are the most important points youve heard today?

22 Education Conclusion Educational inequality is at the heart of income inequality and poverty – Increasing wages for the majority of Black labour market entrants is necessary to lower income inequality – This is not possible without improving the quality of education they receive SA has 2 education systems not one – Implications for reporting (means are misleading) – Implications for policy SA cannot convert material advantage into cognitive skills – Inefficient use of resources Hereditary poverty Low social mobility Low quality education Persistent patterns of poverty and privilege

23 Education Research Do you have any interesting hypotheses you would like to test for your theses? Interesting research questions to ask?

24 Education Get the basics right – Teachers need to be in school teaching – Every child (teacher) needs access to adequate learning (teaching) materials – Every school should meet basic sanitation and health requirements – Every child should receive one year of adequate quality preschool education – No child should be hungry at school (for social & cognitive reasons) – Continuous diagnostic testing to figure out what children actually know – Make sure that the curriculum is tailored to the educational needs of the majority of students, not the top 15% – Every student MUST master the basics of foundational numeracy and literacy – these are the building blocks of further education – weak foundations = recipe for disaster – SA is a middle income country which spends 20% (!) of all government expenditure on education – this is not rocket science. [ANAs and workbooks are a very good sign – (but) need consistency and time] Suggestions

25 Education Suggestions Acknowledge the extent of the problem Low quality education is one of the three largest crises facing our country (along with HIV/AIDS and unemployment). Need the political will and public support for widespread reform. Experiment to figure out what works More of the same hasnt worked Need to try new things and rigorously evaluate them to see what works. – Workbooks & ANAs are a positive sign (Workbook delivery?) – Failed programmes provide useful information when acknowledged & disseminated. Leave existing salaries the same but pay good teachers more – why not? Increase accountability, information & transparency Where is the money going? Deal ruthlessly with corruption – this is a social crime. For at least one grade (Gr6?) get ANA externally validated by an independent body like Umalusi and get this information to parents need to empower parents with information in an accessible format

26 Education References Becker, G. (1962). Investment in Human Capital: A Theoretical Analysis. The Journal of Political Economy, 70(5), Currie, J. (2009). Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise: Socioeconomic Status, Poor Health in Childhood, and Human Capital Development. Journal of Economic Literature, 47(1), Donalson, A. (1992). Content, Quality and Flexibility: The Economics of Education System Change. Spotlight 5/92. Johannesburg: South African Institute of Race Relations. Fleisch, B. (2008). Primary Education in Crisis: Why South African schoolchildren underachieve in reading and mathematics. Cape Town. : Juta & Co. Hanushek, E. & Woessmann, L. (2008). The Role of Cognitive Skills in Economic Development. Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research Working Paper No Hoadley, U. (2010). What do we know about teaching and learning in primary schools in South Africa? Stellenbosch: Appendix B to Van der Berg, S; Meyer, H; Reeves, C; van Wyk, C; Hoadley, U; Bot, M; & Armstrong, P 'Grade 3 Improvement Project: Main report and Recommendations" for Western Cape Education Department. Schultz, T. (1961). Investment in Human Capital. The American Economic Review, 51 (1), Shepherd, D. (2011). Constraints to School Effectiveness: What prevents poor schools from delivering results? Stellenbosch Economic Working Papers 05/11. Spaull, N. (2011). Primary School Performance in Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia and South Africa: A Comparative Analysis of SACMEQ III. SACMEQ Working Papers, Taylor, S. (2011). Uncovering Indicators of Effective School Management in South Africa using the National School Effectiveness Study. Stellenbosch Economic Working Papers. Van der Berg, S. (2007). Apartheid's Enduring Legacy: Inequalities in Education. Journal of African Economies, 16(5),

27 Education Thank you

28 Education Country Total population (mil) Adult literacy rate Net Enrolment Rate (2008) GNP/cap PPP US$ (2008) Public Current expenditure on primary education per pupil (unit cost) 2007 – [PPP constant 2006 US$] Survival rate to Grade 5: school year ending 2007 Botswana %87% % 3 Mozambique %80% % Namibia %89% % 3 South Africa %87% % Source (UNESCO, 2011) (UIS, 2009)(UNESCO, 2011) SACMEQ III (2007) Self-reported teacher absenteeism Proportion of Grade 6 students functionally illiterate Proportion of Grade 6 students functionally innumerate Proportion of students with own reading textbook Proportion of students with own mathematics textbook Botswana10.6 days10.62%22.48%63%62% Mozambique6.4 days21.51%32.73%53%52% Namibia9.4 days13.63%47.69%32% South Africa19.4 days27.26%40.17%45%36%


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