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Schools of many speeds

Stories shared by teachers, children and parents are not rare. Children who can't participate in school trips because their parents can't afford to pay for them, children who don't have money or a snack for their day at school. In extreme but not rare cases, children who faint from hunger during the school day.

In the absence of political accountability and action by the state, parents and teaching staff most often band together in their efforts to address and improve the situation in their school units. They create funds, formal or informal, to support children whose families are experiencing financial problems. The majority of these funds help school children in need, anonymously.

But why should children rely on adult initiatives? Why has the state not taken measures to protect pupils?

Educational inequality is an aspect, a partial dimension of the larger pathogenesis of existing social inequality. Essentially, educational inequality is based on social inequality. When education systems operate on the basis of existing social inequality, they reproduce and reinforce it, thus creating a vicious circle.


Children enter the school environment loaded with what Bourdieu calls the educational capital of their family. Where educational capital refers to the differentiation that exists between families of different economic social class, for example, families of the 'upper' class are much more likely to 'inherit' to their children educational privileges, such as easy access to literature, art and, above all, easier access to university.

Indeed, UNESCO states that as a right to empowerment, education is the primary vehicle through which economically and socially marginalised people can lift themselves out of poverty and acquire the means to participate fully in their communities.

The right to education is deeply rooted in social inequalities, requiring state, political and economic demands to be present for all children. But these demands, judging from the outcome and facts as mentioned above, are not an economic policy priority commensurate with the needs that exist.

But what are the measures that could be incorporated directly into schools?

Although a radical change in the structure of the school so as to combat socio-economic inequalities in the school environment is a difficult, painful and long-term process, there are some more easily implemented measures that could be incorporated into schools.

Some of these measures are:

  • Creating a special budget to financially support educational excursions.

  • Creating a partnership with school canteens to provide a free small, healthy snack for all students in the school.

  • Upgrade and further support the school's full-day program.

  • Further support, such as psychological support programs through the schools' Educational Psychologists.

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