Educational inequality: is ‘free education’ enough?
May 15, 2018 | Book/Report Chapter
Authors: Emer Smyth Education for All? The Legacy of Free Post-Primary Education in Ireland
The joint OECD/Department of Education Investment in Education (1965) report presented the first systematic evidence on social inequality in educational participation in Ireland, documenting relatively low levels of full-time participation among fifteen- to nineteen-year-olds and rates that were highly socially structured. This endeavour represented a sea change in educational policy, given the lack of coherent strategy on equality of educational opportunity in previous decades (Ó Buachalla, 1988). As discussed in the other chapters of this book, the Investment in Education report provided the impetus for the introduction of free second-level education in Ireland. This chapter traces patterns of educational inequality in the subsequent period. The first section focuses on differences in educational outcomes by individual social background while the remainder of the chapter examines the extent to which unequal outcomes reflect differences in the social mix of students attending second-level schools.
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