Fundació Jaume BofillUniversitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC)


We are celebrating the 10-year anniversary of Debats d’Educació by giving the educational community the opportunity to air its views

How can equity and quality be reconciled in education?

What challenges are presented by a balance between equity and quality? Is school still a lever for social mobility? How can we guarantee schools of quality for everyone at a time of economic crisis? How can we promote and extend effective practices, especially in schools in disadvantaged areas?

Nowadays, reducing failure at school has become one of the main priorities for our education system. However, in our immediate context, problems of academic performance can still be identified among our young people, too often in the environments that are least favoured from a socioeconomic and cultural point of view.


However, investment in educational formulas attempting to inclusively cover the situations of greatest disadvantage is not only fairer, it also turns out to be economically more efficient. The return becomes clear immediately when you consider the unacceptable cost of leaving school early, which notably reduces people’s chances of lifelong learning and enormously limits their capacity to react to situations like the economic crisis we are currently suffering.


So, the efficiency of the structure and operational dynamic of education systems can no longer be measured without taking into account their capacity to alleviate initial inequalities and eliminate the barriers that could prevent the majority of students, and also those in the most vulnerable situations, from being able to progress to the end of secondary education and have open access to specialisation options in higher education.


The most advanced education systems – the ones that, in fact obtain higher shares of academic performance – have already understood that these results only provide the maximum benefit for society if they are obtained through formulas making it possible to maintain the balance between quality and fairness. With this conviction, they try to promote the type of strategy that can ensure that all youngsters, not just a few, will be able to stay in the education system and acquire the competences that will be essential for developing as active, participative citizens in 21st-century society under conditions of equality of opportunity.


The 3 things they have learned...

Anna Pons Anna Pons
Public policy analyst at the OECD
  • 1Investing more in the early educational stages
  • 2Rethinking policies that do not contribute to reducing differences in performance or are even making them worse.
  • 3Giving more support to pupils and schools from disadvantaged environments
Salvador Cardús Salvador Cardús
PhD in Economic Sciences and lecturer in Sociology
  • 1We’re talking about the same thing
  • 2Obfuscated by principles
  • 3For a political dimension to education
Sílvia Carrasco Sílvia Carrasco
Vice-rector for students and cooperation at the UAB
  • 1I believe investment in public education has to be high and is a priority at all educational stages
  • 2I am concerned that the public and professionals are not horrified by school segregation
  • 3What is observed in practice and in research is deficient, inconsistent teacher training
Xavier Bonal Xavier Bonal
Lecturer in Sociology at the UAB
  • 1Fairness and quality as inseparable objectives
  • 2Fairness and quality of systems and subjectivity policies
  • 3Constructing fairness in non-formal and informal education
Antoni Tort Antoni Tort
Lecturer in Pedagogy at the University of Vic
  • 1We learn from teaching projects that are bold inside and surrounded by close supporters outside.
  • 2Fairness and quality go hand in hand when there are also resources, discourses and practices.
  • 3Being a pupil should always enrich a child.
Mònica Margarit Mònica Margarit
Head of the Prince of Girona Foundation
  • 1Education for the person, education for society
  • 2Teaching and learning from the same world?
  • 3Social mobility cannot be halted once education is over!