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Social inequality and it's influence on educational achievements

Anja Kačič (2014) Social inequality and it's influence on educational achievements. Diploma thesis.

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    Abstract

    The diploma thesis deals with different inequalities and their influence on educational possibilities. I examined the inequalities in terms of socioeconomic status, cultural capital, and differences in language. I was particularly interested in a group of immigrants who do not speak the same language at home as it is a language of teaching at school. These students are often socioeconomically disadvantaged as well. In the empirical part I used the extensive PISA survey from 2009, which was carried out by OECD in order to evaluate the equality and efficiency of school systems. In the thesis I compared three countries, i.e. Slovenia, Finland, and Serbia. Inequalities in education appear despite the fact that the number of persons who participate in education has increased. Through theories of justice I examined which equalities are required by justice in the field of education. The three principles of justice, i.e. utilitarianism, the concept of meritocracy, and the compensation principle, are dealt with in connection with Rawls theory of justice. Sociology of education contributed to spreading the idea that inequalities are not caused (only) by biological factors but mostly by social ones. The question of how the role of social factors could be decreased was examined in terms of different sociological approaches. Different groups, which differ from one another in the quantity of capital and languages they speak, are formed in the society. Bourdieu explains inequalities in the society through different forms of capital, i.e. economic, social, symbolic, cultural, and their different quantities. These forms are connected but they are not evenly divided. They have an influence on the access to education therefore they play an important role in recreating social relations. Bernstein claims that language is one of the most important variables and it influences an individual and his or her behaviour. Forms of spoken language are made in connection with organizing social groups. The most obvious differences are those between the groups which differ greatly in their socioeconomic status. The working class uses a restricted code and speaks a public language, whereas the middle class uses a refined code, i.e. a formal language. The theoretical part is concluded with Sen, who says that we have to accept the diversity of people. Consequently, it is impossible to achieve equality in every field. Sen believes that individuals have to be impartial, yet he demands a reasonable definition of basic equality fields. I established that in Finland and Slovenia immigrants achieve poorer results than the natives, whereas in Serbia they are more successful than the natives. The language spoken at home, which is different from the language of teaching at school, has the greatest influence on reading achievements in Finland. The influence of language is shown by the comparison of immigrants who speak the same language at home and at school and those who speak another language at home. Socioeconomic status of a children’s family in Slovenia and Finland also has influence on their success at school. In the compared countries the success is also influenced by the quantity of cultural capital, since the index of cultural property and the number of books at home are two of the most influential environment factors, and there is a connection between the average ESCS index and the reading achievement level as well.

    Item Type: Thesis (Diploma thesis)
    Keywords: inequality, cultural capital, socioeconomic status, immigrants, language
    Number of Pages: 57
    Language of Content: Slovenian
    Mentor / Comentors:
    Mentor / ComentorsIDFunction
    izr. prof. dr. Slavko GaberMentor
    Link to COBISS: http://www.cobiss.si/scripts/cobiss?command=search&base=50126&select=(ID=10159433)
    Institution: University of Ljubljana
    Department: Faculty of Education
    Item ID: 2354
    Date Deposited: 09 Sep 2014 08:45
    Last Modified: 09 Sep 2014 08:45
    URI: http://pefprints.pef.uni-lj.si/id/eprint/2354

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