There are many things that many parents feel will influence the upbringing of their children in the modern society. Some go ahead to claim that, the chances of their kid’s life will be dependent on where they schooled, the people that taught them and the general setting they grew up in. This includes the people in the environment, their lifestyle and their culture or beliefs. For instance, families from well to do backgrounds feel that taking their kids to public institutions of learning is lowering or instead risking their chances in future life. There is that general belief that people want to school their children in private schools thinking that they might be given personalized attention hence better results. Others believe that, unless their children are taken to boarding schools, their chances of being who they desired to be might be at stake. As claimed by Green, (2017) bring up a child in a particular background might consequently affect the shaping of their future. The paper will use low SES (Economic social status) as a form of social injustice to show how a child’s life chances can be affected by where they went to school and where they grow up, taking a case study of inequality and access to education in Greater Western Sydney.
Past study reveals that there has been a continuing impact of social inequalities on the academic success of children living in western Sydney despite high levels of funding to stem chronic educational inequality. The Sydney’s so-called “Latte Lane” basically divides the city into two different jobs. It can be seen that; the residents are segregated by both an overall access to education and white-collar jobs as well. This not only highlights the level of educational inequality but inequality in the jobs sector as well which is underlying residential segregation (Zajda, 2009).
One of the most persistent challenges in Australian schooling is educational inequality. One and every four children in Western Sydney are now being left behind in accordance to the recent study by Mitchell Institute, good evidence that, school is not necessarily working for many children in the region. Quite a significant portion of the students are now attending privatized schools while the public schools increasingly turn to be residuals. Families who can draw on cultural, economic and socials capital can easily send their children to private schools with a state of art performances as well as advanced sporting facilities. This is seen as a great promise of future economic prosperity and a great form of social success. However, it should be noted with concern that, four out of every fine child with a disability attend public schooling which is the same case for the indigenous students. Over 600,000 Western Sydney students live in abject poverty where public schools are struggling to cater for the ever-growing number. The institutions have limited resources and were once referred to as a safety net by the former prime minster for not producing the quality that could be desired.
The worst of this is that, not many citizens in Western Sydney who seem to notice the problem and sadly, the few who notice dont even have signs of caring. According to Western, et al. (2007), a leading academic profession and expert in Australia, it is not an exaggeration to say that, the country is in the throes of some social epidemic that keeps on going mainly in unnoticed as well as undebated and worst of all is that it is silently being endured by the ones who are severely affected.
There has been little effort by various stakeholders who are slowly forming networks with the aim of challenging inequalities in both education and job market. One of them is the Western Sydney University that recently hosted a three-day research symposium for the educational research with a theme of resisting all forms of educational inequalities thus reframing the policy and the practices of schools that serve in vulnerable communities. The local communities are not only living in a high level of abject poverty but also disenfranchised and marginalizing their learners. The University of Western Sydney hosted the meeting with the aim of providing a platform where researchers could table and share their empirical research as well as engage in some crucial conversations that would resultantly lead to better understanding of life and improvement of educational engagements and success in the less privileged communities. The impacts of educational inequality have been manifesting themselves in the labor market within the Australian market. An imperfect policy that targets education resources remains evident in many parts of the Western Sydney’s education as well as training arrangements.
What are the most pressing educational inequality in Western Sydney?
Early Childhood Education (ECEC)
Participation of the pre-schooling programs in Western Sydney is lower in comparison to the other types of OECD countries which is replicated in the public expenditure for care and pre-schooling. The same is being shown in quite a wide range of inequalities to access pre-schooling. Better access to the ECEC for children from disadvantaged backgrounds especially the ones between the ages of 2-4 would give the children a better beginning of life. It would contribute in a great way to the cognitive as well as health and development once they become adults, which is a core entity to facilitate their entry to the employment field (Marginson, 2006). The long-termed merits of this is a society that comes to form lower welfare dependence as well as the crime of higher national productivity.
Even though the full-time students at the private schools tend to receive less of the government funding compared to the students in the public schools in Western Sydney, the gap is still narrowing and might continue to do with time. Additionally, parents are also stepping up for their per capita expenditure in privatized education. It can be seen that quite a large and a widening gap exists between the total academic resources in both the private and the public sector. The total per capita expenditure on education is like a third more of the children who attend private schools than those who are attending public schools. If you consider the per capita income on this, then the gap might be wider than expected.
Children who are in private schools always enjoy cumulative merit through interaction between themselves borrowing a lot from those who have some well-crafted ambitions. The government managed schools. The public schools that have a higher number of disadvantaged kids that apply to many of the small schools offering lesser favorable peer pressure, buildings, and school facilities. Due to the better facilities, they tend to attract better teachers and students hence quality regarding output. A recent survey indicated that a children’s IQ as well as family resources, their grade outcomes can be significantly affected by the teenage peers and the school factors they are studying at. In the ever-rising intense rivalry between the private and the public schools, there have been vicious circles in the workplace. With some immediate departure of a good student, then public schools are always left with some growing proportion that can be considered as slow learning. At the public systems, the disadvantaged kids are not necessarily sufficient attended to with only five of them out of ten getting a substantial government funding.
Another main challenge is where children as well as the youths who live in a low socio-economic gap get less access to information or even communication technologies and mainly if they are living in the remote outer homes. By comparing Western Sydney with outer countries, the digital divide usually is vast in the broader Australian country (Skelton, Francis & Smulyan, 2006). With the level of development as well as great spread to digital content less which is based on festering the broadband technology, it is perceived that the technological divide may keep widening with time.
Better access to information and technology can significantly affect the improvement of learning skills as well as the motivation to learn some low achieving students. There are also some critical geographical disparities in the education standards both within the urban and remote areas (Gale, & Tranter, 2011). The country students are consequently less likely to complete schooling, perform more poorly compared to those in urban areas and have some advanced restrictions in times of their choice for subjects. The low apprentice salaries keep deterring the applicants as the attrition rates keep soaring higher. Similarly, the training hours keeps tending to decline with the replacement of the apprenticeships by sorting the practical terms of traineeships. The education performances are also relatively low in many, and the outset superb of the critical cities since the more limited the choices become, the lower the performance of a child in school.
So, in this regard, it is no surprise to get that, in the last few decades, the achievement gap between the rich kids and the poor children has kept widening and this gap of performance between the schools with a higher proportion of the less privileged children and those from well to do has also been soaring higher. Lucas (2012) claims that about 20% of all the adults are nearly from some disadvantaged backgrounds but can manifest better literacy skills such as operating computers. From the national perspective, under the achievement that is emerging from the social, economic barriers to represent a vast waste of potential human capital. It is a predominant factor in the persistence of disadvantage and onset as well.
According to Collins and Poynting (2000), less than 20% of every 12 students go independent schooling. However, the receive aproximalty1/3 of the university offers which means that the poor have little chances of getting access to quality campus education. The growing issue of students from low backgrounds getting under-represented in both the government schools might be in part due to the credit constraints or even the prospects of running debts and at times the ever-rising cost of university education. However, there is a more significant problem with the lower income students as they are now unable to meet the qualification scores required by the universities to make registration. So, in this regard, this problem ought to be principally retraced back to the secondary education system more than the per say of universities.
Adult Vocational Training (VET)
There have been trends seen in the decline of the levels of participation for vocational education as well as training through some disadvantaged social groups in Western Sydney. Resultantly, this may stem a significant decline in the government funding as well as the user pricing. However, another factor is that employers in the private and public sectors keep choosing investment of lesser in-house training, whether triggered by outsourcing motives or even by fiscal stringency (Ferfolja & Díaz, 2018). The low apprentice salaries keep deterring the applicants as the attrition rates keep soaring higher. Similarly, the training hours keeps tending to decline with the replacement of the apprenticeships by sorting the practical terms of traineeships.
There exists adequate evidence to indicate that, the low income, as well as the stress of combining the studies with longer working hours, get paid seriously thus hampering education efforts from the poorer Western Sydney university students in Australia. The challenge might be set to get worse since the result of government bans on the student unionism is compulsory. Students from lower socio-economic backgrounds were to a great extent considered the active participants of the union subsidies as well as facilities. Besides, they are also seen as the biggest losers hence only surviving in schools at the charity of well-wishers. The committee of the Vice-Chancellor’s recently hinted that “over 50% of the students were already neglecting their studies to only to work outside of the school to get to sustain themselves. They also keep advocating for an increase in the allowance funds for the youths as well as some more financial aid to those within the socio-economic groupings” (Angus*, Snyder, & Sutherland‐Smith, 2004).
Angus, L., Snyder, I., & Sutherland‐Smith, W. (2004). ICT and educational (dis) advantage: families, computers and contemporary social and educational inequalities. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 25(1), 3-18.
Collins, J., & Poynting, S. (Eds.). (2000). The other Sydney: Communities, identities, and inequalities in Western Sydney. Common Ground.
Ferfolja, T., & Díaz, C. J. (2018). Understanding Sociological Theory for Educational Practices. Cambridge University Press.
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Lucas, K. (2012). Transport and social exclusion: Where are we now?. Transport policy, 20, 105-113.
Marginson, S. (2006). Dynamics of national and global competition in higher education. Higher education, 52(1), 1-39.
Skelton, C., Francis, B., & Smulyan, L. (Eds.). (2006). The SAGE handbook of gender and education. Sage.
Western, M., Baxter, J., Pakulski, J., Tranter, B., Western, J., Van Egmond, M., … & Van Gellecum, Y. (2007). Neoliberalism, inequality, and politics: The changing face of Australia. Australian Journal of Social Issues, 42(3), 401-418.
Zajda, J. (Ed.). (2009). Globalization, education and social justice (Vol. 10). Springer Science & Business Media.
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