A UCJC study concludes that the Madrid regional education system stands out in equal opportunities but must improve in social inclusion

The Chair on Educational Policies of University Camilo José Cela, directed by Francisco López Rupérez, today presented the conclusions of the study entitled Igualdad de oportunidades e inclusión educativa en la Comunidad de Madrid. Un estudio comparado (Equal opportunities and educational inclusion in the Madrid Region. A comparative study), which he has developed together with the professors Isabel García García and Eva Expósito CasasThe remarkable predominance of urban environments in this autonomous region, with the consequent residential segregation and the ethnicity and background of students in compulsory secondary education make it particularly interesting to study equal opportunities and educational inclusion.

The report, which is supported by secondary analyses of 11 PISA 2015 indicators, concludes thatthe Madrid Region is 11 points above the national average in performance, once the influence of the socio-economic and cultural factor of the families has been taken into account (ISEC index). The vast amount of information provided by the PISA study database has been taken into account, offering a comparative view of the Madrid Region with respect to the rest of Spanish autonomous regions, the whole of Spain and the OECD average.

The document empirically shows that in the Madrid Region high levels of academic inclusion, understood as similar levels of school performance that are unrelated to students’ place of residence, is compatible with relatively low social inclusion, reflecting the high levels of social segregation in geographical areas. Regarding this former indicator, the region is at a disadvantage in relation to the whole of Spain, although on a par with the average for OECD countries. It is likely that this is a consequence of structural factors related to the residential segregation of the different social groups, according to their socioeconomic level. This characteristic is typical of urban environments, as well as the proven preference of families for schooling children close to home.

According to the contextual analysis of the UCJC research team, the role of social equality in education systems has become more important in light of the new socioeconomic context, so that the benefits of education in the knowledge society reach the entire population and not just a well-educated elite.

Recommendations to increase equal opportunities and school inclusion

In terms of educational policies and practices to improve equal of opportunities, the report offers a series of recommendations:

  1. Encourage parental involvement in socially disadvantaged schools, with training for teachers and management teams that contain effective protocols for action.
  2. Promote personalised teaching methods, enhancing the response procedures adapted for students by teachers.
  3. Reduction of student / teacher ratios in socially disadvantaged schools.
  4. Incorporate non-cognitive skills into the curriculum, as self-confidence, effort and perseverance.
  5. Impact evaluation of compensatory policies, with the purpose of verifying its actual degree of effectiveness.

Regarding the improvement of social inclusion in the school environment, the report proposes the following four points:

  1. Provide socially and academically attractive programs to socially disadvantaged schools.
  2. Specific aids to facilitate transportation to socially disadvantaged students if the choice of the school supported by public funds is far from their place of residence.
  3. Provide economic incentives to socially advantaged schools to enrol socially disadvantaged students.
  4. Implement a system of school subsidies aimed at low-income families to facilitate their mobility to socially advantaged private schools.