London Metropolitan University Research Institutes

Inequality and teachers’ beliefs: the reality of equal opportunities in Polish Schools

Author(s) Grzegorz Mazurkiewicz  
Publisher CiCe Publications  
Year 2005  
Editor A. Ross, Teaching Citizenship  
Language English  
Age group -  
School is an important element in the social success of both well-established and emerging democracies. Schools in democratic systems promise to bring up responsible and active citizens possessing skills which enable them to function in the contemporary world. Among various principles of democratic schools, the most important are the democratic organisation of schoolwork and equal access to education. One of the priorities for the Polish educational system, which faces difficulties of low levels of investment in education, some teacher resistance to reform initiatives and demographic changes (Kaczara, 1997), is closing the gap between the richest and the poorest and providing equal opportunities for all. Civil society needs an open discourse about all critical issues; ignoring inequality threatens the young democracy. It is impossible to build a healthy political system in which some groups are educated in a way that prevents them from speaking for themselves (Bourdieu, 2004). The aim of this study was to enquire into teachers’ attitudes towards controversial behaviour noticeable in schools in various areas, such as relations with students, the educational process, extracurricular activities and equal educational opportunities for all. The issue of gender as a criterion for differentiating students, although also analysed, will not be discussed here because of space constraints.

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