What is taught in schools can have a lasting effect on how we view ourselves, our community, and our world. School is meant to be an enriching and safe community to learn, explore, and grow. But for many students around the world, the education systems we uphold today fail to teach and treat all students fairly.
Research shows that performance gaps take root in the earliest years of our lives and often fail to narrow in the years that follow. While many countries around the world continue to face the difficult challenge of getting students into the classroom, once they are enrolled and at their desk, it is important to understand what other factors might support or hinder the success of young learners.
Minority students are more likely to face significant barriers to quality education in public schools. Anecdotes, research, and discrimination lawsuits all reveal that students of color face bias in schools. Research shows they’re disciplined more harshly, less likely to be placed in advanced or honors programs, or to have access to highly qualified teachers. In the United States, two-thirds of minority students attend schools that are predominantly minority students. Most of these schools are located in cities and are underfunded compared to neighboring suburban districts. In total, non-white school districts get $23 billion less funding than white districts despite serving the same number of students.
A child's experience of education in South Africa is still very dependent on where they are born, how much wealth their families have, and the color of their skin. "As of 2019, 4.3 percent of Black Africans aged 18 to 29 were enrolled at a higher education institution in South Africa, which almost marks a percentage point increase of one compared to 2002. And while Black Africans constituted the majority of young adult students in numbers, the participation rate of this population group continued to be lower compared to the Indian/Asian at 17.4 percent and the white population group at 20 percent.” (Statista Research Department).
When Schools Aren't Equitable, Society Loses Out
Low educational achievement can lead to fewer economic prospects later in life, hindering the opportunity for social mobility across generations. Until all students are supported fairly in school, society loses out. There are both labor market and social returns on a strong, well-rounded education; inequitable educational opportunities have the potential to perpetuate deeper economic inequalities, especially in developing countries. While there has been progress made to reduce the inequalities in schools across some minority groups, many students continue to face significant barriers while pursuing their education. What students learn and experience in school affects their future. Hear the inspiring stories of how inclusive technology education has helped these PTECH students elevate their career opportunities.