Community Education Facilitators National Training Galway, 13th and 14th November 2006 From Educational Disadvantage to Educational Equality Community-based Education and wider Policy Issues Trutz Haase The Concept of Educational Disadvantage The Education Act 1998 (Section 32.9) defines educational disadvantage as “the impediments to education arising from social or economic disadvantage which prevent students from deriving appropriate benefits from education in schools”. Historical Perspective A generation ago, more than 55% of the age cohort had left school by the age of 15 and only 20% of the age cohort completed second level education. Today, about 3% of the cohort leave before completing junior cycle and over 80% sit a Leaving Certificate. Over 85% of these proceed to some form of further or higher education or training. Current Level of Early School Leaving Between 700 and 1,000 young people do not transfer from primary to second level. Of those who enter second level, about 2,400 (3.2%) do not stay on to sit the Junior Cert. 3 years later. About 10,600 of those who sit Junior Cert. do not stay on to sit Leaving Cert. Half of these leave formal education after the Junior Cert. In all, at the end of the 1990s, about 13,000 young people (18.4% of the cohort) are leaving school annually without the Leaving Cert. (Department of Education & Science - 2002) The Need for a multi-faceted approach to more inclusive Education There is widespread recognition within OECD countries that successful initiatives to respond to the problem of educational disadvantage require integration of and collaboration between statutory and voluntary agencies and between educators / trainers and parents and their communities. (OECD Overcoming Failure in School, 1998) Changes in Approach to Learning Towards a seamless delivery of integrated and co-ordinated approaches spanning four axes: Individual Family / Community School Training, further education and work (NESF Early School Leavers , 2002) Approaches: Individual Literacy and Numeracy Self-esteem and Confidence Building Provision for special needs Culturally appropriate education Attainment of core competencies Approaches: Family / Community Addressing basic rights for food, clothing and shelter Family support and Parenting Effective Partnership between formal and non-formal sectors Networking and Integrated Development Empowerment Approaches: School Pre-school provision Teaching Supports and School Resources Tracking (incl. primary and second level transfer) Out-of-School Support Parental Involvement Curriculum Flexibility Achievement Awards Whole School Approach Approaches: Training, Further Education and Work Lifelong Learning In-Work training Opportunities for Continuing / Second Chance Education Education / Work Transitions Vocational Pathways and Skills Credits Work / Education Links Current Interventions: Early Childhood Education Centre for Early Childhood Education and Care Early Start Rutland Street Project Traveller pre-school Education Special Needs – Early Childhood Services Current Interventions: Primary Level (selective headings) Giving Children an Even Break / Breaking the Cycle Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Home School Community Liaison Scheme (HSCL) Learning Support/ Resource Teachers Education of Non-nationals Book Grant Scheme Traveller Education Current Interventions: Second Level (selective headings) Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Support Teachers/Special Needs Assistants Home School Community Liaison Scheme (HSCL) Learning Support/ Resource Teachers Education of Non-nationals Book Grant Scheme Exam Fees Exemptions Traveller Education Substance Misuse Prevention Current Interventions: (selective headings) School Completion Programme (Primary and Post-Primary) National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) Youth Youth Services Senior traveller Training Centres Youthreach Current Interventions: Further Education (selective headings) Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme (VTOS) Post Leaving Certificate courses (PLCs) Access to Third Level Millenium Partnership Fund for Disadvantage Current Interventions: Adult Education Adult Literacy Education Equality Initiative (EEI) Community Education Back to Education Initiative Moving from Alleviating Educational Disadvantage to greater Educational Equality… There are now some 60 initiatives in place to help alleviate Educational Disadvantage. There is no doubt that educational standards have massively improved throughout Ireland over the past two decades. But questions remain as to the relative life chances afforded to individuals and communities: Educational achievements (depending on social class) have remained highly differentiated. Access to third level education remains highly differentiated. Requirements to access jobs have increased. Overall improvement in educational outcomes may thus not have contributed much to alleviating education inequalities. Assessing Outcomes: Coombes’ Definition of Deprivation Relative Deprivation “The fundamental implication of the term deprivation is of an absence – of essential or desirable attributes, possessions and opportunities which are considered no more than the minimum by that society.” (Coombes et al., 1995: p.5) The Underlying Dimensions of Social Disadvantage Demographic Decline population loss and the social and demographic effects of prolonged population loss (age dependency, low education of adult population) Social Class Deprivation social class composition, education, housing comfort Labour Market Deprivation unemployment, lone parents, low skills base The Model of Disadvantage d1 Age Dependency Rate Demographic d2 Population Change Decline d3 Primary Education Only d4 Third Level Education d5 Professional Classes Social Class Disadvantage d6 Persons per Room d7 Single Parent Households d8 Semi/Unskilled Manual Classes Lab. Mkt. d9 Male Unemployment Rate Deprivation d10 Female Unemployment Rate Comparison of Absolute Deprivation Scores 1991, 1996 and 2002 1600 1400 1200 1000 1991 800 1996 600 2002 400 200 0 -50 to -30 -30 to -20 -20 to -10 -10 to 0 0 to 10 10 to 20 20 to 30 30 to 50 1991 to 2002: unprecedented growth in Ireland 1991 – 1996: increase of +7 1996 – 2002: increase of +8 Note: marginally narrowing shape of distribution (i.e. more equal) Relative Affluence and 1200 1000 Deprivation 800 600 2002 400 200 0 1991 -50 -30 -20 -10 0 to 10 to 20 to 30 to to - to - to - to 0 10 20 30 50 30 20 10 1400 1200 1000 800 600 400 200 0 1996 -50 -30 -20 -10 0 to 10 to 20 to 30 to to - to - to - to 0 10 20 30 50 30 20 10 1400 1200 1000 800 600 400 200 0 2002 -50 -30 -20 -10 0 to 10 to 20 to 30 to to - to - to - to 0 10 20 30 50 30 20 10 Haase & Pratschke 2003 Trutz Haase Social & Economic Consultant Comparison of Relative Deprivation Scores 1991, 1996 and 2002 For the country as a whole: Virtually no differences in the distribution of relative deprivation 1991-2002 Only Exception: Dublin’s Inner City The report Deprivation and its Spatial Articulation in the Republic of Ireland can be downloaded from the following web address: http://www.pobal.ie/media/Deprivationanditsspatialarticulation.pdf Deprivation – Educational Equality and Intergenerational Class Mobility To substantially enhance the intergenerational class mobility and educational equality will require a fundamental restructuring of the Irish educational system, notably a shift from the high expenditure on third level education towards greater expenditure at pre-school and primary levels. The current initiatives in adult and community-based education are not only important in as much as they provide second chance education for cohorts that have been failed by the education system in the past, they also constitute important services to communities and families where it is of utmost importance to enhance school retention amongst the next school-going generation, and if properly evaluated, can provide the necessary pointers how to reform the mainstream education system in such a way as to make it more attractive and accommodating for those who are currently at risk of not achieving their full educational potential. The Back to Education Initiative: Intent The BTEI will make a major contribution to building the capacity of the formal education sector to meet the changing needs of individuals, communities and society. This will only happen if a clear agenda for change in how the initiative is perceived, planned, delivered and evaluated is implemented from the outset. The top priorities of the BTEI part time programme are to address: The low literacy levels of the Irish adult population; The large numbers of Irish adults (1.1.m aged 15-64) who have not completed upper second-level education, of whom 529,600 have not completed lower second-level; The inflexibility of the Irish education system, with its predominant emphasis on full-time provision: time specific entry and exit opportunities; The difficulties in combining family, personal and work responsibilities with learning opportunities; (DE&S: Circular Letter ‘Back to Education Initiative, 2002) Key Challenges in the Delivery and Evaluation of Adult and Community-based Education The immense variety in the Projects with regard to: the target groups involved the kind of disadvantage(s) experienced the contexts within which the projects operate The generally local focus of the Projects involved: Projects tend to be overwhelmed by the task they face Projects tend to focus on the innovative delivery of services but more emphasis is needed for the systematic evaluation of their work in a comparative setting Evaluation will be of utmost importance in an environment based on increasingly evidence-based policy formulation. Key Questions that have (largely) been addressed 1. How do we define educational disadvantage and what is its relationship to wider social and economic inequalities? 2. Which social groups are facing particular barriers to education and suffer as a result of this? 3. What are the specific needs of each of these groups and with regard to each educational setting? 4. What strategies can be devised to assist these groups in overcoming the barriers to education? Strategies (general) Enhancing Access (Access, Skills, Confidence, Awareness) Outreach work Initial learning activities Improved Delivery (Content, Participation, Certification) Content relevance Flexible provision Availability of skilled tutors Multiple Intelligence approach Accreditation Support Services Guidance Transport Allowances Creche facilities / elder care Literacy Language tuition (Note: List only indicative, not meant to be comprehensive) The Paths towards Greater Educational Inclusion Pre-school and Primary Low SES Access Education Difficult family situations Secondary Education Skills Disabilities Further Education Confidence Community –based / Adult Ethnic minorities Education Travellers Awareness Lifelong Learning Educational Institutions and Strategies re Access, Target Groups Dimensions to be addressed Delivery & Support Structures Key Questions that need to be addressed now How can we measure improvements in access to education in the context of the existing initiatives? How can we measure advances in terms of access to the labour market / access to information / improvements in quality of life as a result of participation in the projects/initiatives? What lessons can be learned from the projects/initiatives in order to improve the access of these groups to mainstream (adult) education provision? How can auditing mechanisms be devised for the equality-proofing of wider (adult) education measures?
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