Strategic Debate: Accessing higher education. What can be done to strengthen equity between students?

05 April 2017

In France, as in many countries, success in exams marking the end of secondary school is becoming increasingly generalised, reaching almost 80% of any given cohort. This undeniable quantitative progress nevertheless raises several questions which centre on the lack of equity access to higher education in France. Many national training systems fail to guarantee individual pathways to success that transcend students’ respective origins, be they social, cultural, territorial, or gender related. Schools do not appear to be in a position to prevent the reproduction of inequalities in the particular «sector» that is the preparation of students for access to higher education. Based on field work carried out since 2007 in French secondary schools as well as a survey conducted in 2016 as part of his ministerial mission, Pierre Mathiot will present essential principles and related actions that could form the basis of a public policy ensuring effective, not merely formal, equity between students.


Strategic Debate - 4 May

Speaker: Pierre Mathiot, Professor of Political Science at Sciences Po Lille, Ministerial Delegate for Excellence in the Ministry of National Education.
Discussant: Manos Antoninis, Senior Policy Analyst at Global Education Monitoring Report, and Michaela Martin, Programme Specialist at IIEP-UNESCO
Moderator: Paul Coustère, Deputy Director of IIEP-UNESCO

Thursday, 4 May 2017, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
IIEP – Auditorium
Followed by a cocktail

Contact: / 01 45 03 77 52

The seminar will be held in French with simultaneous interpretation into English


Come meet us and attend the debate in Paris, or register to receive a reminder to watch a webcast.
The live stream will be available after on this page.


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Addressing inequities in education is a global imperative. The 2016 Education Commission Report highlights the inequities of educational access and learning outcomes, while the SDG 4 targets require progress in reducing inequities across geographic units, gender, ability groups, and within crisis-affected settings.

Beyond diagnosis and monitoring, what does research tell us about effective strategies to enhance equity and equality of opportunity in education? IIEP’s 2017 Strategic Debate series will explore this question from several perspectives, pushing us to go beyond understanding the nature of the problem to explore what can be, and is being, done, particularly through education policy and planning.