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Educational expansion, poverty reduction and social mobility: reframing the debate

Brown, Phillip ORCID: and James, David ORCID: 2020. Educational expansion, poverty reduction and social mobility: reframing the debate. International Journal of Educational Research 100 , 101537. 10.1016/j.ijer.2020.101537

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This article will examine the role of education in alleviating poverty in a context of high rates of income inequalities. It will argue that despite public attention on the incomes of top earners, education policy has been largely silent on the education of elites. Rather it has focused on extending opportunities to those at the other end of the income distribution. By improving school performance and widening access to higher education, it is claimed that poverty can be alleviated by increasing rates of social mobility from disadvantaged families. Much of this debate is consistent with a human capital view of ‘learning equals earning’ which assumes that either supply will create its own demand or that technological change is skill-biased, leading to a raising demand for a more qualified workforce. Therefore, through investing in education there will be more opportunities for those previously excluded to experience social mobility, providing that they can develop the employability skills demanded in the labour market. This article will highlight several problems with this analysis that amount to a fundamental contradiction at the heart of education policy as a route to poverty reduction.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0883-0355
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 12 February 2020
Date of Acceptance: 12 December 2019
Last Modified: 06 Nov 2023 14:52

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