As part of an OECD Forum series, our virtual event Equity in Education: Unlocking Opportunities Throughout Life
will take place on Friday, 17 September 2021, 9:00 - 10:30 ET | 15:00 - 16:30 CEST—register your place now!
Education has been immensely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, as children worldwide struggle with school closures and many adults are faced with the necessary task of reskilling. The pandemic has been an alarm for more than just equal opportunities; it’s also a plea for greater equity in the distribution of respect and status. Governments must rethink the ways they approach education, what skills are deemed valuable and how dignified work is defined.
The COVID-19 crisis is also an opportunity to rethink how vocational professions are viewed, and valued. Meritocracy may have become the linchpin of societal worth, but the OECD finds that social mobility has stalled. In what the philosopher Michael Sandel describes as “the Tyranny of Merit”, blue-collar jobs tend to be seen as less worthy than those requiring post-secondary degrees. From nurses providing critical care to grocery store clerks keeping society running during lockdowns, the pandemic has shed light on the disconnect between the contributions of essential workers to the common good and the wages, working conditions and societal recognition earned in return.
This event will explore these topics, and ask the most pressing questions: How can we ensure that the COVID-19 crisis reshapes both our practices and attitudes toward education at all ages, for all career paths, and how can we create lasting solutions to ensure equity in education?