2019-12-03 /

Integrative report (WP 1): Lessons and policy implications

ISOTIS key message: European policies must be sensitive to diverse values and cultural expectations of families to avoid unintended side effects of increasing educational inequality

This report summarizes and integrates all findings from ISOTIS Working Package 1 – Inequality at various stages of the educational career. The report also provides some additional analyses on the potential of early childhood education and care (ECEC) systems to reduce social and ethnic inequality in achievement. The analyses show that both targeted and universal ECEC interventions/policies help disadvantaged children to catch up and to alleviate early educational inequality, although, it remains unclear which approach is ultimately the most efficient policy strategy for reducing achievement inequality. Nonetheless, the contemporary landscape of European ECEC systems show room for improvement in terms of equal opportunities. Policy should aim at reducing access hurdles for socioeconomic disadvantaged families and minority group families. In addition, ECEC policies must be aware and sensitive to different values and cultural expectations of minority groups in relation to early childhood education and care.

When it comes to general educational policies and reforms in relation to education and school systems, the researchers found that those reforms and policy changes frequently do not seem to have the intended effects of reducing SES and migration-related educational inequalities. In fact, many reforms seem to have unintended side effects of increasing educational inequality which points to implementation problems. The report elaborates a series of implications and recommendation for policy making to reduce social and migration-related gaps in educational achievement.