Covid-19 has exposed levels of discrimination faced by those caught in poverty
Even as the country braces for a possible second wave of the virus, those caught in poverty continue to suffer. According to a report by the Institute of Fiscal Studies schools in poorer parts of England will struggle to help their pupils catch-up after the lockdown. Even though the government is fully aware of this disparity, schools from these areas will receive the least amount in the extra £7.1bn earmarked for schools up to 2023.
What does this mean?
This means a systematic discrimination against children in these areas. The government will spend more on children from affluent neighborhoods than those from financially challenged areas. Today, there still exists a huge difference between the income of the top 30% of households and those of the bottom 30% in the UK. Education inequality is much worse.
Many people, across the political spectrum, see education as the key to solving all inequalities. Horace Mann postulated this 1848 that “Education, then, beyond all other devices of human origin, is the great equalizer of the conditions of men, the balance wheel of the social machinery”. The UK’s wheel of social machinery is badly imbalanced especially since Covid-19 hit, it may get worse with a prediction of a second wave. Will the government rise to the occasion for those in deprived areas?
If the government has lost track, it should refer to Commission on Inequality in Education Report by Rt Hon Nick Clegg’s team which shows that how much money a child’s parents earn, which region they live in and ethnicity are all very significant factors in how successful they are at school. Where someone comes from can still matter much more in determining where they end up in life than their talents or efforts. This is the reality that should be weighed against political discussions about Brexit.