Author Archives: Max Weber Stiftung

About Max Weber Stiftung

The Max Weber Foundation promotes global research, concentrated around the areas of social sciences, cultural studies and the humanities. Research is conducted at ten institutes in various countries across the globe with distinctive and independent focal points. Through its globally operating institutes, the Foundation is able to contribute to the communication and networking between Germany and the host countries or regions of its establishments. By promoting scientific dialogue and merging academic as well as non-academic employees from several countries with different cultural backgrounds, the Max Weber Foundation is able to strengthen the Internationalization of research in its three fields of dedication.

Jutta Allmendinger: “Education pays off”

An introduction to the keynote of Jutta Allmendinger

by Ellen von den Driesch 

In contrast to the increasing value of education regarding employment and income, most EU member states continue to have too many people with too little or no education. Across the EU, 8 percent of young people lack a general school-leaving certificate. Worse even, an average of 19 percent of the 15-year-old boys and girls are considered functionally illiterate or innumerate. This conclusion is drawn by Jutta Allmendinger and me from WZB Berlin Social Science Center in our large-scale study on social inequalities in Europe. The report maps the extent of social inequalities both within and between the 28 EU countries, looking at educational attainment, employment and income. For the report, recent studies have been analyzed and brought together. The report is published as a WZB Discussion Paper and can be downloaded here.

On November 24th 2014 Jutta Allmendinger presented our recent report in her keynote at the conference “Inequality, Education and Social Power: Transregional Perspectives” at WZB. She explained why education pays off in all EU countries but also how that differs between the several member states. Furthermore she shows that people’s earnings are not only driven by the level of their certificates, but also by their cognitive competences.

You can also find an interview with Jutta Allemendinger on educational poverty and gender inequality here.

Videos of Conference Panel V: “Inequality, Education and the Labor Market”

Chair: Andreas Eckert (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin/Forum)DSC02159

Panelists:

Augustin Emane (Institut d’Etudes Avancées de Nantes)

Patricio Solís (El Colegio de México, Mexico City)

Anja Weiß (Universität Duisburg-Essen)

In many societies, (higher) education has been equated with a form of professional formation whose focus lies on the requirements of enterprises. At the same time, a reduced individual dividend for education (that is, a decreasing value of titles and degrees because of an increasing level of education throughout the whole society) has become observable. To what extent are opportunities in the labor market dependent on education and (to what extent) has this connection loosened during the last decades? Besides university studies, which alternative routes are likely to lead to a successful career? How are the factors of inter-generational inequality, on the one hand, and education and the labor market, on the other, intertwined?

Continue reading

“Education for the Poor: The Politics of Poverty and Social Justice”

On February 14, 2015, the Transnational Research Group “Poverty and Education in India” will move into their new offices at the India International Centre in New Delhi. Therefore, the Centre invites the interested public to the panel discussion “Education for the Poor: The Politics of Poverty and Social Justice“, followed by a lecture by Carlos Torres (University of California, Los Angeles) on “Neoliberalism, Globalization Agendas and Banking Educational Policy: Is Popular Education an Answer?

The speakers are:

Marcelo Caruso, Professor and Chair of the History of Education Division, Institute of Education Studies, Humboldt University of Berlin

Kalpana Kannabiran, Professor and Director, Council for Social Development, Hyderabad

Krishna Kumar, Professor, Department of Education, University of Delhi and Former Director, National Council for Educational Research and Training

Crain Soudien, Professor, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Former Director, School of Education, University of Cape Town Chair and

Moderator: Geetha B. Nambissan, Professor, Zakir Husain Centre for Educational Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

 

The Transnational Research Group (TRG) “Poverty Reduction and Policy for the Poor between the Sate and Private Actors: Education Policy in India since the Nineteenth Century”, that also joined the Winter Academy, is a cooperation between the German Historical Institute London, the King’s India Institue at King’s College London and the Centre for Modern Indian Studies (CEMIS) at Göttingen University. Their local cooperation partners in India are researchers from the Centre for Historical Studies and the Centre for Educational Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University and the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies. The goal of its 12 docs and post-docs is to explore education in India from a historical perspective.

Find out more about the TRG on their website where you can also find more information about the panel discussion.

Videos of Conference Panel IV: “Private Actors in the Education System”

Chair: Andreas Gestrich (German Historical Institute London)DSC02124

Panelists:

Geetha Nambissan (Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi)

Hania Sobhy (Orient-Institut Beirut)

 

In some regions, non-state actors have had a long (colonial) tradition in the education system. Currently, probably due to failures of government-run infrastructures, a variety of new actors (business-oriented and non-profit, national and international) are coming into play. In some countries, the balance of public and private investment in the educational sector is tilted to an extent that is criticized as risking a devaluation of the national educational system. Can we observe (regional or even global) trends toward a hierarchization, privatization and commercialization of education for both the elites and the masses? How do liberalization discourses in other fields of society impact upon these developments and the corresponding norms and values? What is the role of religious entities in the educational sector?

Continue reading

Videos of Conference Panel III: “Social Diversity and Education”

Chair: Jana Tschurenev (Georg-August-Universität Göttingen)153_7769

Panelists:

Yusuf Sayed (Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Town)

Céline Teney (Universität Bremen)

Martha Zapata Galindo* (Freie Universität Berlin)

Regions outside Europe are often attested a higher level of social heterogeneity and inequality on various axes. But even in Western Europe, social change and processes of migration have generated a greater degree of social diversity during the last decades. Which interdependencies, if any, can be traced between social heterogeneity and ideas/systems of education? In which contexts has education facilitated the empowerment of marginalized subjects and groups? How do students from different social backgrounds make use of educational opportunities? What role do habitus and practices of assessment within the educational institutions play? What influence do gender and class inequalities or other factors of social discrimination have on the accessibility of (higher) education? What experience do we have with affirmative action and quotas? When does education become a cause of social mobilization? Do the poor receive a different form of education?

Continue reading

Videos of Conference Panel II: “Global Knowledge Asymmetries and Education”

Chair: Barbara Göbel (Ibero-Amerikanisches Institut, Berlin)116_3059

Panelists:

Neeladri Bhattacharya (Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi)

Peter Kallaway (University of Cape Town)

David MacDonald (University of Guelph)

Hebe Vessuri (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Morelia)

The question of which forms of knowledge are recognized as education – or in German “Bildung” – can be fundamentally contested. Therefore, the process that renders certain forms of knowledge education while excluding others needs to be problematized as an arena of (implicit) political struggle and as a way of wielding social power. Moreover, many regions outside Europe have been affected by colonial pasts. This panel seeks to address the complex topic of global knowledge asymmetries, by asking questions such as: What is the relationship between indigenous knowledge/education and external influences? To what extent have colonial legislation, the associated institutional structures and ideas of education, elite, etc. been impacting on (post-) colonial systems of education? What influence does the formation of the (nation-) state and subsequent politico-economic developments have on ideas and practices of inequality and education?

Continue reading

“We need education to decrease inequality” – Interview with Jutta Allmendinger

Allmendinger ProfilJutta Allmendinger is President of the WZB Berlin Social Science Center and Professor of Educational Sociology and Labor Market Research at the Humboldt University, Berlin. She recently published a discussion paper on „Social Inequalities in Europe: Facing the challenge“. In her interview with Gesche Schifferdecker she speaks about how we could overcome educational poverty, what our futural challenges are and why it is so difficult to discuss about education and inequality in a transregional context.

Videos of Conference Panel I: “Education, Inequality and Social Power”

Chair: Andreas Eckert (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin/Forum)055_7638

Panelists:

Klaus Hurrelmann (Hertie School of Governance, Berlin)

Carlos Costa Ribeiro (Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro)

Sarada Balagopalan (Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, New Delhi)

Education is sometimes thought of as the means of reducing structural inequalities within and across societies. Nevertheless, access to education itself can be distributed in unequal ways, contingent on the very structures it is supposed to even out. A historical perspective reveals that educational opportunities were often tailored to the social background or gender of the students. Sometimes, such differentiations have been institutionalized as parallel strands within education systems, which can result in the exclusion of certain groups from mainstream education and subsequent career opportunities. This opening panel seeks to address general questions and concepts with a view to the relationship among inequality, education and social power, such as: When and how do structures of education work in favor, and when do they work against social mobility? How are issues of inequality and education dealt with in different countries and regions, which topics are considered crucial and which actors are involved in the debate?

Continue reading

A Continuing Question in Gabon: The Correlation Between Education and Labor Market Needs

Conference Paper to be presented by Augustin Emane

Augustin Emane is Associated Professor at the University of Nantes. He teaches Labor Law and Social Security Law. His research focuses on occupational risks in France, labor law in France and in French-speaking countries in Africa, and health systems in Europe and Africa. He also works on the transfer of Western legal categories in Africa and labor law in Brazil.

This paper examines Gabon, a country with a high level of schooling (more than 80%) compared with the average in other African countries (less than 50%), but where social inequalities and the level of unemployment are rather high. It is this paradox that we will try to explain. Education for us means school, which is traditionally used in Gabon to change social class or to reach a more prestigious situation. It allows us to fight social inequalities. Thanks to school, we acquire knowledge and competencies that lead on to get a job. For several years, this model was very effective, and the elite that we find governing us today has benefited from this promotion via education. Up to the 1980s, the labor market had integrated all the people who were schooled. The new job seeker had lots of choices concerning his job.

After the second oil crisis in 1979, things started to change. The state’s financial difficulties led to a reconsideration of the number of people it employed. Private companies faced an incredible number of job seekers, who did not always correspond to their needs. The principal reason for this situation is in fact the colonial period. Since the introduction of modern work in Gabon, office jobs have carried prestige, and school has often been considered a way of getting such ideal jobs. Anthropology and sociology could explain better this phenomenon. The logical consequence of this trend was that the literary field was privileged over the scientific field (seen for a long time as a course for prospective technicians and manual workers).

For the last 30 years, education has remained an indispensable way of integrating the labor market. But this is not enough. Inequalities are going to appear between the different academic routes. Different choices of courses lead to different job opportunities. It is now the opposite: scientific courses guarantee more job opportunities. A second type of inequality results from differences among the schools, or among countries. A third inequality is in the nationality of the company of employment. 

Cultural Capital in a Transnational Perspective

Conference Paper to be presented by Anja Weiß

Anja Weiß is a Professor for Sociology at the University of Duisburg-Essen. Her theoretical interests in the transnationalisation of social inequality translate into comparative empirical studies on the localization of knowledge, highly skilled migrants, (institutional) racism and legal exclusion, ethnic conflict and anti-racism, and qualitative research design.

In the human capital approach, returns on education are usually assessed within framework of the nation-state. In a transnational perspective, the value of cultural capital (cf. Bourdieu) should be assessed in terms of a plurality of contexts in which it may be recognized and rewarded. In regard to skilled personnel’s access to the labor market, the borders of the nation-state continue to be salient: foreign educational credentials are often seen as having lesser value and migrants are subject to exclusionary legal regimes. At the same time, other contexts, such as professional fields, need not be congruent with nation-state borders and they counteract the impact of the nation-state. In professional fields as diverse as management and legal studies, transnational sub-fields have emerged in which the value of education is determined independently of national systems of education.

Based on findings by the international study group “Cultural Capital During Migration” (headed by Nohl, Schittenhelm, Schmidtke, and the author), the input will focus on the situation of highly skilled migrants and the factors that impact on the validation of their educational credentials in diverse labor markets. These factors include discrimination by employers, but also the emergence of ethnic niches in some professions, such as medicine. Also, and especially among skilled employees, education does not stop at the moment of graduation, but undergoes continued development, fine-tuning, and also devaluation.

Educational Attainment and Early Occupational Trajectories of Youth in Mexico City

Conference Paper to be presented by Patricio Solís

Patricio Solís is a Research Professor at the Center for Sociological Studies, El Colegio de México. His focus is on social stratification, social mobility, and educational inequality in Mexico and Latin America. Currently he is finishing a co-edited book that summarizes the results of an international project aimed to analyze intergenerational class mobility patterns in six Latin American countries.

Recent research in Mexico shows that the risk of job precarization is significantly higher among youth. This situation has exacerbated after the economic recession of 2008-09. On the other hand, educational research indicates that the returns on education have decreased, thus increasing labor market vulnerability among the most educated, who used to have secured access to top-level occupations. These trends might suggest that labor market hardship has emerged as a widespread phenomenon among Mexican youth, blurring traditional markers of inequality, such as socioeconomic background and educational attainment. But is this actually the case?

In my presentation, I will discuss the results of recent research in which I analyze the early occupational trajectories of youth in Mexico City. I focus on the effects of educational attainment (controlling for socioeconomic background and family events) on three occupational transitions: entry into the labor force, job shifts, and reentries into the labor force. Using event history analysis, I devote special attention to the competing risks of entering into service-class positions, intermediary occupations, and what I define as “low-quality” occupations.

As earlier research has suggested, my results confirm that many young Mexicans initiate their occupational lives in “low-quality” occupations, and many stay there in subsequent job shifts/reentries. Also, risks of labor disqualification are significantly high among those with higher education. However, the labor market advantages of higher education are still important, particularly because it protects against spending the early stages of the occupational career in low-quality positions.

Thus, in a context of generalized labor market deterioration and precarization, as found in urban Mexico, higher education is no longer a guarantee for successful integration in the labor market. However, it still provides important comparative advantages to those who are able to make it to college. Therefore, social stratification studies should remain interested in the multiple ways in which educational inequality, and particularly inequality in access to higher education, is constructed.

Educational Privatization and the Collapse of State Institutions under Mubarak

Conference Paper to be presented by Hania Sobhy

Hania Sobhy is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Orient-Institut Beirut where she is writing up her research on Pro-Revolution Mobilization in Egyptian Elections 2012-2014. In 2012-2013, she was a postdoctoral Fellow with the EUME program of the Forum Transregionale Studien

The vast majority of Egyptian students attend public schools and free universal education remains a constitutionally enshrined right. However, 50-80% of students attend regular private tutoring in most subjects in a highly segregated system. This places a huge financial burden on households so that private spending on education now exceeds public spending. Despite this duplicated expenditure, most teachers remain grossly underpaid and the quality of schooling has declined to the extent that education is routinely declared ‘non-existent’ by Egyptians: mafeesh taleem.

The implications of this ‘privatization-by-tutoring’ do not only include poor quality, higher inequality and resource waste. The very content of youth schooling experiences has also been fundamentally altered. In addition to ‘teaching to the exam’ in key subjects, without attention to the actual development of knowledge and skills, there has been an effective elimination of the ‘activities’ subjects that not linked to student grades; such as music, sports, arts, theatre, civics and school trips. As students increasingly obtain their education on the market and attend school irregularly, this has led to the effective elimination of the school itself as a key arena for youth socialization and the production of nationhood, especially at the secondary level. The condition of public schooling therefore exemplifies the privatization, informalization and dysfunction of state institutions under Mubarak; whether as providers of social services or as sites for the production of citizenship.

In this brief presentation, my aim is to explain, through figures and data, and through live examples based on my fieldwork, what it actually means that, with 17 million students and 2 million employees, there is ‘no education’ in Egypt; and to bring to light the different manifestations of this educational dysfunction in a highly tracked and unequal system.

Private Actors and Education for the Poor in India

Conference Paper to be presented by Geetha Nambissan

Geetha B. Nambissan is Professor of Sociology of Education at the Zakir Husain Centre for Educational Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Her research focuses on exclusion, inclusion and the education of marginal groups, the middle classes and educational advantage and the social and educational implications of private schools for the poor. 

Over the last decade, transnational and local advocacy networks have been projecting the low-cost unregulated school market in India as a cost-efficient, high-quality and equitable solution to the education of the poor and as a site for viable business options. The actors in this market include individual “edupreneurs” and, more recently, corporate groups that have entered the school business in later-developing countries. What we are witnessing is the construction of narratives of “good education” for the poor in extremely minimalistic terms, validated through “research” and disseminated by powerful networks. The attempt is to evolve globally scalable models that will deliver “high-quality” education at the lowest of costs, ensuring profits. In this paper, I map some of these trends, highlighting the manner in which private actors are attempting to change education policy in India by drawing upon neo-liberal discourses and constructing new narratives, networks and practices around schooling. I argue that these trends have serious implications for social justice in education for the poor.

Policies to Promote Social Inclusion and Equality in Higher Education Institutions in Latin America

Conference Paper to be presented by Martha Zapata Galindo

Martha Zapata Galindo is a Lecturer and Researcher at the Institute for Latin American Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin. Her research interests include social inclusion and higher education, intersectionality and feminist theory, social movements, women’s and feminist movements, democratization and intellectual processes in Latin America and the circulation of knowledge.

Social inclusion, equality, and diversity programs have not always been a priority in universities in Latin America. Recent analysis of the current situation and trends in higher education show various types of inequalities. Those that stand out in the social and urban areas are inequalities of gender, ethnicity and race, and income. The various strategies for social inclusion and equality that were developed in recent years, regionally and on a local level and with the support of public policies and actions, have resulted in substantial changes in university enrollment and the composition of its various populations. Among the many measures introduced to combat social exclusion in the higher education institutions of Latin America, along with projects for gender mainstreaming and scholarship programs for low-income groups in different higher education institutions of Latin American countries (Argentina Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile, Ecuador, Guatemala, El Salvador, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru and Uruguay), the most noteworthy have been models that promote the inclusion of Afro-descendants and indigenous peoples, as have been implemented in Brazil, Colombia and Peru, to name a few. Despite the heterogeneity that characterizes Latin America, the range of coverage in higher education and college enrollment itself varies significantly between the different countries.  There is precise data about certain groups of recipients, for example the process of the feminization of the student enrollment in higher education in virtually all Latin American countries. However, regarding ethnic diversity – the strong presence of indigenous and Afro-descendants in many Latin American countries who have been historically marginalized in accessing education – and special-needs populations and different types of disabilities, we cannot count on the existence of reliable, comparable and up-to-date data. Continue reading

Ethnic Inequalities in the Education System in Northwestern Europe

Conference Paper to be presented by Céline Teney

Céline Teney is Junior Research Group Leader at the Centre for Social Policy Research at the University of Bremen. Previously, she held positions at the WZB Berlin Social Science Centre and the Université libre de Bruxelles. Her research interests cover the sociology of immigration, the sociology of the EU, political sociology and quantitative methodology.

Since the post-1945 period, northwestern European countries have attracted important labour-motivated immigration waves. The so-called guestworkers who immigrated in the ’60s and ’70s composed a large low-skilled labour force for most of the northwestern European countries. Meanwhile, the second and third generations of this immigration wave constitute a non-negligible segment of the population. Since second and third generations of immigrants have been entirely socialized in the receiving societies, one should expect them to benefit from the same opportunities in education and on the labour market as the population without an immigrant background. However, equal opportunity is far from being the case. Ethnic inequalities in the education system and on the labour market are indeed important challenges for the successful incorporation of immigrants and their offspring in the receiving societies. Ethnic educational inequalities, in turn, have been receiving increasing attention from the scientific community. In this presentation, I will briefly describe the inequalities in education faced by the children of former guestworkers. I will then discuss some of the possible causes leading to these ethnic inequalities.