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Gender, ethnicity and social class issues in higher education - Essay Example

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Gender, ethnicity and social class issues in higher education

Most governments emphasize on equal opportunity for all in education attainment and stern actions are taken against those found discriminating students. The question that begs answers is therefore, if there is equal education opportunity, why do issues of gender, ethnicity and social class matter or why do they continue to bog down the education system? According to Ball (2006) such education policies just contribute to a meritocratic education system. This view is supported by the Virginia university teaching resource center (2004) which believes that such classifications influence “what we teach, how we teach and how students learn’ and that “gender equality is taken for granted but it is not yet a reality.” In view of this, this paper will discuss how socio-economic, national identity, gender and English proficiency affect student behavior or faculty behavior towards students. To start with, the socio-economic factors will be discussed. These include the challenges faced by students from low socio-economic background such as emotional and social challenges, acute and chronic stressors, cognitive lags and health and safety issues that affect participation rates and educational achievement. It will then look at gender issues such as gender stereotyping and their effects on education after which it will look at issues of national identity and language proficiency faced by international students and their effects on students as well as faculty behavior. Lastly, a short summary will be made.

Society is divided into various classes of citizens; the upper, middle and lower class. These represent the hierarchical ordering of society especially due to the emergence of the capitalistic mode of production. Karl Marx often criticized this mode of production for many societal problems and for bringing about exploitation of some people by others, that is, exploitation of working class by the dominant ruling class or capitalists (Morrison, 2006). Emile Durkheim on the other hand, blamed this system for eroding family values and morals but he believed the division of labor in society was the key to enhance social solidarity which had been dismantled by the system. It helps to move from mechanical to organic solidarity but at the same time division of labor may also result in classification of people into high class and low classes depending on their occupations (Morrison, 2006). For examples, professionals such as accountants or lawyers are considered as from high classes while clerks are in the low social class. Individual identity in modern system is defined by what one does rather than what one is. Paid employment is thus very crucial in defining identity and determining the future of individuals especially where work ethic is emphasized. Education being the key to employment is thus very vital in society and determines what people become in future and can also affect social mobility. This is the reason why issues of equality and equity in education provision are the center of education policies. According to Weis and Dolby (2012) social class determines most aspects of our lives such as which schools to attend and even influences participation in education, academic achievement and student interactions. This view is supported by Jensen (2009) who asserts that students from different socio-economic status bring into the education system their experiences which ...Show more


Students aspire to join higher education after completion of primary and secondary level in preparation of taking up future careers…
Author : lbernier
Gender, ethnicity and social class issues in higher education essay example
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