Nova workboard

a blog from young economists at Nova SBE

Developed Nations need talented people

Another PISA study will be published in December and probably will show again the dependence of the education of children on their familiar background – so far nothing new.

But why does policy of developed countries like Portugal or Germany don´t change this discrepancy? Why do they not change their policy? Particularly high-developed industry nations don´t dispose about natural resources they should more than ever be interested in investments in their human capital.

“81 Percent of children from professional backgrounds went to University the comparable figure for children from manual backgrounds was 15 percent.”

–          Nicholas Barr (2004), data 2002 from the UK Education and Skills Select Commitee


Genetic distribution? No evidence.

Does the society really think that the school results depend on the genetic ability? There exists no evidence for that suggestion. No study ever could quantify that.  As long as there does not exist evidence the policy must assume that the ability and the results depend on the origin family and the education which society provides (Report on Education, Germany 2013). Consequently, a lot of children will stay lifelong under their opportunities and this will be given to their offsprings. Several studies show that pre-schooling support is important to build a strong set of skills for further life (Sylva et. al (2010)). Policy could change this in order to support children from low-educated respectively low-income families.



For instance, in Germany the inhomogeneous distribution of private net assets is increasing – as shown in the graphic above. Consequnetly, the initial capital for children as well.On the one hand there are the high-income and well-educated families who care about the education of their children. More than ever they support their children besides school with instrumental teaching, sports and since the globalization the numbers of English-speaking Kindergarten or Chinese-lessons are increasing enormously. On the other hand the children of low-income families have no change to compete with their peers of well-educated children.  In some cases the well-supported children are starting the school and can already read and calculate. There is no change for children even for well-assessed – in a genetic sense – to succeed. Early, children will be dissatisfied with their educational achievements and will start their educational and professional career with a stigma.

But who is to blame? The well-educated parents? They only want the best of for their children and most of us can understand their acting.

The less-educated parents? Probably they don´t have other abilities because they are also from a less-educated background and just don´t have a change to support their children in an adequate way.

The school? More or less, teachers and every educationalist that stays in contact with children who have the ability and willingness to escape the family-cycle of low-education can be special supported.

BUT: The main change that can be made is on the political level and since we all are their voters we all have the chance to change it. Investments in pre-schooling and primary education are necessary.



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Author: studentnovasbe

Master student in Nova Sbe

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