Education & Inequality
Economics of Education (Hons)
Nic Spaull
Nicspaull.com
6 May 2014
Overview of today’s lecture
1. DEFINITIONS – How do we define inequality?
2. SIZE – How large are income/education inequalities?
3. DIMENSIONS – Unequal access/quality/inputs/outcomes?
4. LINKS – What are the links between educ ineq & inc ineq?
5. PERSISTENCE – Why is inequality so persistent?
6. CONCLUSIONS – What can be done going forward?
Education & Inequality: DEFINITIONS
How do we define inequality?
Income
inequality?
Earnings
EDUCATION
Political
inequality?
Power
relationships
Inequality of
opportunity?
Access / life
chances
Social
inequality?
Class
Race
Gender
Language
How does education influence these inequalities?
What do we mean when we
say inequality?
• Unequal access to education?
– EFA movement, gender equality?
• Unequal access to quality education?
• Unequal ability to benefit from quality education?
– More stringent definition of equality (see Fiske & Ladd,
(2004) Equal treatment, equal educational opportunity,
educational adequacy)
• Unequal inputs?
• Unequal outcomes?
Education & Inequality: SIZE
How large is income inequality in South Africa? Is it increasing/decreasing over time?
Leibbrandt et al 2010
How large are educational
inequalities?
Quantifying learning deficits in
Gr3
Figure 1: Kernel density of mean Grade 3 performance on Grade 3 level
items by quintiles of student socioeconomic status (Systemic Evaluation
2007)
(Grade-3-appropriate level)
16%
Only the top 16% of grade 3 students are
performing at a Grade 3 level
•
51%
11%
Following Muralidharan & Zieleniak (2013) we
classify students as performing at the gradeappropriate level if they obtain a mean score of
50% or higher on the full set of Grade 3 level
questions.
7
Taylor, 2011
NSES question 42
NSES followed about 15000 students (266 schools) and tested them in Grade 3 (2007),
Grade 4 (2008) and Grade 5 (2009).
Grade 3 maths curriculum:
“Can perform calculations
using appropriate symbols to
solve problems involving:
division of at least 2-digit by
1-digit numbers”
100%
Even at the end of Grade 5
most (55%+) quintile 1-4
students cannot answer
this simple Grade-3-level
problem.
90%
35%
80%
70%
59%
57%
57%
55%
60%
50%
40%
13%
14%
14%
15%
20%
13%
10%
12%
12%
10%
16%
19%
17%
17%
Q1
Q2
Q3
Q4
30%
13%
Still wrong in Gr5
14%
Correct in Gr5
Correct in Gr4
Correct in Gr3
39%
0%
“The powerful notions of ratio, rate
and proportion are built upon the
simpler concepts of whole number,
multiplication and division, fraction
and rational number, and are
themselves the precursors to the
development of yet more complex
concepts such as triangle similarity,
trigonometry, gradient and calculus”
(Taylor & Reddi, 2013: 194)
Q5
Question 42
(Spaull & Viljoen, forthcoming)
9
Insurmountable learning deficits: 0.3 SD
South African Learning Trajectories by National Socioeconomic Quintiles
Based on NSES (2007/8/9) for grades 3, 4 and 5, SACMEQ (2007) for grade 6 and TIMSS (2011) for grade 9)
13
12
11
10
Effective grade
9
8
Quintile 1
7
Quintile 2
6
Quintile 3
5
Quintile 4
4
Quintile 5
Q1-4 Trajectory
3
Q5 Trajectory
2
1
0
Gr3
Gr4
(NSES 2007/8/9)
Gr5
Gr6
(SACMEQ
2007)
Gr7
Gr8
Projections
Gr9
Gr10
(TIMSS 2011)
Gr11
Gr12
Projections
Actual grade (and data source)
Spaull & Viljoen, 2014 (SAHRC Report)
10
Of 100 students that started school in 2002
16%
Do not reach matric
Fail matric 2013
49%
Pass matric 2013
24%
Pass with university
endorsement 2013
11%
• 550,000 students drop out before matric
• 99% do not get a non-matric qualification (Gustafsson, 2011: p11)
• What happens to them? 50% youth unemployment.
11
Dropout between Gr8 and Gr12
2013 Matric passes by quintile
Matric pass rate by quintile
Matric passes as % of Grade 8 (2009)
Bachelor passes as % of Grade 8 (2009)
100%
90%
80%
70%
60%
50%
92%
40%
75%
73%
70%
82%
68%
30%
49%
20%
42%
37%
36%
10%
10%
15%
12%
39%
17%
0%
Quintile 1
•
•
•
Quintile 2
Quintile 3
Quintile 4
Quintile 5
Of 100 Gr8 quintile 1 students in 2009, 36 passed matric and 10 qualified for university
Of 100 Gr8 quintile 5 students in 2009, 68 passed matric and 39 qualified for university
“Contrary to what some would like the nation and the public to believe that our results hide
inequalities, the facts and evidence show that the two top provinces (Free State and North West)
are rural and poor.” (Motshekga, 2014)
12
Numerous correlated
dimensions
Education
& Inequality:
DIMENSIONS
• Given the apartheid-era policies, it is unsurprising
that the inequalities we see in South Africa can be
seen along a number of correlated dimensions,
including
–
–
–
–
–
Language,
Geographical location,
Socioeconomic status,
Race
Former department
Language...
PIRLS 2006
PIRLS Gr 5
(Shepherd, 2011)
prePIRLS 2011
prePIRLS Gr 4
(Howie & Van Staden, 2012)
.005
600
.001
.002
.003
.004
prePIRLS reading score 2011
560
576
531 525
520
480
440
452 443
436 429 428
425
461 463
407
400
360
320
0
280
0
200
400
reading test score
African language schools
600
800
240
English/Afrikaans schools
Test language
395 388
By Gr 3 all children should be able to read, Gr 4 children should be
transitioning from “learning to read” to “reading to learn”
Red sections here show the
proportion of children that are
completely illiterate in Grade 4
, i.e. they cannot read in any
language
Former department…
0
.005
.01
.015
.02
.025
NSES 2007-9
(Taylor, 2011)
0
20
40
60
Numeracy score 2008
Ex-DET/Homelands schools
80
100
Historically white schools
Taylor, 2011
Socioeconomic status...
SACMEQ III (2007)
Average grade 8 science test scores for middle-income countries participating in TIMSS 2011
(+95% confidence intervals around the mean)
600
560
520
480
440
400
360
320
280
240
Middle-income countries
Quintile 1
Quintile 2
Quintile 3
Quintile 4
Quintile 5
Independent
200
Russian Federation
Lithuania
Ukraine
Kazakhstan
Turkey
Iran, Islamic Rep. of
Romania
Chile
Thailand
Jordan
Tunisia
Armenia
Malaysia
Syrian Arab Republic
Georgia
Palestinian Nat'l Auth.
Macedonia, Rep. of
Indonesia
Lebanon
Botswana (Gr 9)
Morocco
Honduras (gr 9)
South Africa (Gr 9)
Ghana
TIMSS 2011 Science score
SACMEQ III (2007) Distribution of student reading scores by quartiles of
school socioeconomic status (Spaull, 2013)
TIMSS Science (2011)
South Africa (Gr9)
Geography/space…
Spatial inequalities
• “Geography becomes critical when access to
opportunities is distributed unevenly over
space” (Yamauchi, 2011)
• Under apartheid limited movement for nonwhites
• Positive correlation between school quality
and school fees, quality education remains
concentrated in formerly white, coloured
and indian schools where the majority is
non-African.
• Current (de facto / de jure) zoning policies
Yamauchi, 2011
.005
Kernel Density of Literacy Score by Race (KZN)
.0 06
.0 04
D en sity
.003
.0 02
.002
.0 1
0
0
0
.0 05
.001
.0 15
kdensity reading test score
.004
.0 2
U-ANA 2011
D en sity
.0 08
Bimodality – indisputable fact
0
20
40
60
Literacy score (%)
80
0
100
0
Black
White
Indian
Asian
200
400
reading test score
600
200
English/Afrikaans schools
African language schools
400
600
Learner Reading Score
800
800
Poorest 25%
Second poorest 25%
Second wealthiest 25%
Wealthiest 25%
1000
.025
PIRLS / TIMSS / SACMEQ / NSES / ANA / Matric… by Wealth / Language / Location / Dept…
Kernel Density of School Literacy by Quintile
.0 1
.0 2
D e n s ity
.015
.01
0
0
.005
Density
.0 3
.02
.0 4
U-ANA 2011
0
0
20
40
60
Numeracy score 2008
Ex-DET/Homelands schools
80
Historically white schools
100
20
40
60
Average school literacy score
80
Quintile 1
Quintile 2
Quintile 3
Quintile 4
100
Quintile 5
19
Education & Inequality: LINKS
• We can see that SA is unequal, but what are the
generative and propagating mechanisms of that
inequality?
– Spatial segregation & differential physical access to labourmarkets
– Even when individuals do have access to labour-markets
many lack the currency (skills) to transact
•
•
•
•
ECD
Primary & secondary
Tertiary
Labour-market
 Possible to intervene at each
stage. When is it best to intervene
and how? Taxes? BEE? ECD?
Elusive equity
Quality of
education
Duration
of
education
Type of
education
SA is one of the
top 3 most
unequal
countries in
the world
Between 78%
and 85% of
total inequality
is explained by
wage
inequality
Wages
• IQ
• Motivation
• Social
networks
• Discrimination
Type
Labour Market
High productivity jobs
and incomes (17%)
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
17%
•
Type of institution
(FET or University)
Quality of institution
Type of qualification
(diploma, degree etc.)
Field of study
(Engineering, Arts etc.)
Vocational training
Affirmative action
Often manual or low skill
jobs
Limited or low quality
education
Minimum wage can exceed
productivity
High SES
background
High
quality
primary
school
Some motivated, lucky or
talented students make the
transition
Low productivity jobs &
incomes
•
•
-
SemiSkilled
(31%)
Quality
•
Mainly professional,
managerial & skilled jobs
Requires graduates, good
quality matric or good
vocational skills
Historically mainly white
High
quality
secondary
school
+ECD
Minority
(20%)
Big demand for good
schools despite fees
Some
scholarships/bursaries
Unequal
society
Majority
(80%)
Low quality
secondary
school
Low SES
background
Unskilled
(19%)
Unemployed
(Broad - 33%)
Low quality
primary
school
Attainment
•
University/
FET
22
cf. Servaas van der Berg – QLFS 2011
The impact of SES on reading/maths
6 00
6 00
5 50
SEY
MAU
SW A
5 50
KEN
KEN
ZAN
TAN
BOT
SEY
SW A
5 00
SACMEQ
ZIM
ZIM
NAM
BOT
SOU
SACMEQ
UGA MOZ
SOU
LES
4 50
MOZ
UGA
LES
ZAN
NAM
ZAM
MAL
MAL
4 00
Indication of wasted human
capital potential (see
Schleicher, 2009)
TAN
5 00
In South Africa socioeconomic
status largely determines
outcomes (with a very small
number of exceptions – see
newspapers for those
exceptions)
MAU
4 50
•
A ve ra ge S A C M E Q re ad ing sc ore
•
Almost 40% of SA student
reading achievement can be
explained by socioeconomic
status (31 assets, books,
parental education) alone.
A ve ra ge S A C M E Q m a the m a tics sco re
•
6 50
(SACMEQ III – 2007 Gr 6)
ZAM
0
10
30
20
10
0
20
30
Percentage of variance in performance explained by household socioeconomic status (r-squared X 100)
Percentage of variance in performance explained by household socioeconomic status (r-squared X 100)
Spaull, 2013
40
Education & Inequality: PERSISTENCE
• Distribution of (and control over)
productive resources (& inheritance)
determine the levels of inequality in
society
Low
quality
education
– Labour (NB Education)
•
About 80% of total income ineq is explained by
wage inequality
– Capital
– Inheritance laws/practices
– Social networks
•
•
Formal (nepotism/patronage)
Informal (in-group discrim)
Low
social
mobility
Hereditary
poverty
…280-550AD – Migrants from E-Africa first farmers in Africa
1488 - Bartholomeu Diaz
1652 - Jan van Riebeck
1688 - French Hugenots
HISTORY OF
SOUTH AFRICA
IN 5 MINUTES
1795 Cape Colony Annexed (British)
1948-1994 - Apartheid
|
1994-2014 - DEMOCRACY
NB Inertia & institutional
memory, especially for
social institutions like
schools and universities
Education & Inequality: CONCLUSIONS
• South Africa is the most unequal country in the world
• Education is unlike the other areas of social policy in that it has the
greatest potential to change the GENERATIVE mechanisms of the income
distribution rather than just reallocate some of the wealth once already
earned.
• Education is the generative mechanism that the State has most control
over RE policy in that there is the least resistance to reform (compared to
changing inheritance laws for example).
• Without understanding/acknowledging that educational inequality is at
the heart of income inequality it’s naïve to think you can change the
distribution of income.
Questions
• If not the quality of education, what is the
driving force behind income inequality?
– Demand-side factors > supply-side?!
• Why is it so difficult to change educational
outcomes? (20 years since 1994!)
• What are the key interactions between
education and health/social-security?
References & further reading
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Fiske, E., & Ladd, H. (2004). Elusive Equity: Education Reform in Post-apartheid South
Africa. Washington: Brookings Institution Press / HSRC Press.
Fleisch, B. (2008). Primary Education in Crisis: Why South African schoolchildren underachieve
in reading and mathematics. Cape Town. : Juta & Co.
Donalson, A. (1992). Content, Quality and Flexibility: The Economics of Education System
Change. Spotlight 5/92. Johannesburg: South African Institute of Race Relations.
Taylor, S., & Yu, D. (2009). The Importance of Socioeconomic Status in Determining
Educational Achievement in South Africa. Stellenbosch Economic Working Papers.
Van der Berg, S., Burger, C., Burger, R., de Vos, M., du Rand, G., Gustafsson, M., Shepherd, D.,
Spaull, N., Taylor, S., van Broekhuizen, H., and von Fintel, D. (2011). Low quality education as
a poverty trap. Stellenbosch: University of Stellenbosch, Department of Economics. Research
report for the PSPPD project for Presidency.
Spaull, N. 2013. Poverty & Privilege: Primary School Inequality in South Africa. International
Journal of Educational Development. 33 (2013) pp. 436-447 (WP here)
Spaull, N. 2013. South Africa’s Education Crisis: The Quality of Education in South Africa 19952011. Centre for Development and Enterprise.
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