EDUCATION ACCESSIBILITY AS AN INDICATOR OF SOCIAL JUSTICE IN SOCIETY

Kęstutis Trakšelys

Abstract


Education accessibility has become of great relevance in the European Union in recent decades, when the attention has been paid to its integral influence in shaping social, cultural, economic and political situation. Education accessibility enhances each country’s or region`s intellectual potential and promotes integration into the economic competitiveness of the area, not only in the context of the European countries, but also in international forums. This decade, all EU member states launched a decentralisation of education management by promoting employment and reducing unemployment. In the Republic of Lithuania, on the basis of the principle of subsidiarity, education decentralisation and responsible management are under implementation; schools, municipal and state functions are redistributed, municipality responsibility to education accessibility has increased. The priority direction of education reform in the Republic of Lithuania is the development of infrastructure, i.e., the reorganization of the network of education services and the optimisation that would guarantee access to learning. Education accessibility is particularly relevant for socially marginalised and poor citizens.
The definition of accessibility to education in the scientific literature is the created opportunity for any person according to their abilities and needs to use quality education, guaranteed by the state. Key aspects of accessibility to education are: physical reach of school; the optimum layout of the network of schools; students` equivalent participation in the educational process, regardless of social status; favourable microclimate that ensures emotional, social, physical security; learning motivation; involving education; qualitative educational and social services; availability of education (learning) content; individualisation and differentiation of educational (learning) process.
Empirical research showed that the transformation of Lithuanian society affects education and equal participation in education, as school students are divided according to social and cultural background, which condition learning, inequality of students` social resources, quality of education, discrimination, differentiation in class, and accessibility to education: X–XII (II–IV G) grades disadvantaged children often incur educators and peers discrimination for their social status – according to the students, the selection of friends depends on the social status, they are ashamed of their family members (parents, brothers, sisters), are not satisfied with their family social status, they are constantly reminded of their social position; social status influences learning results and achievements – according to the disadvantaged respondents, they lack money to buy all of the necessary learning material; the majority of them are socially and culturally isolated because of their social and economic situation; due to the lack of funds they cannot pay to attend non-formal education classes; according to them, teachers are pre-disposed to poorer students, and this tells on the teacher’s assessment of their knowledge.

Keywords


education accessibility, social justice, social group.

Full Text:

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13165/SMS157205

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"Societal studies" ISSN online 2029-2244 / ISSN print 2029-2236