January 10 (IPS)-In the 1960s, many newly independent African countries inherited regional and racial inequality in formal education. These new countries link together sub-national regions of different ethnic and religious communities. These regions have different influences on missionary activities-this is the main medium through which Western formal education spreads in Europe. Colonial era.
The inequality of educational opportunities has increased with the rise of the educational ladder. Access to university education is extremely limited and highly inclined.
Since the opportunity to receive higher education determines who will hold some of the most important positions in society, politicians are very concerned about the way higher education is spread. In this context, how did regional inequality in university admissions opportunities evolve after independence?
Although several recent papers have emphasized that there is considerable social inequality in access to higher education In African countries todayThere is very little work studying how and why this inequality has changed over time.
in a Recent papers Therefore, I traced the regional origins of university graduates in seven African countries since the 1960s: Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia. I constructed a measure of regional inequality for each country and studied some of the factors that influence this trend of inequality.
The results show that regional inequality has declined in the first two decades of independence. However, since the 1980s, regional inequality in this group of countries has stagnated or increased. The increase in inequality is mainly due to the fact that major urban metropolises have been leading the way, leading to increasing urban prejudice in university admissions.
I used the most recent census data, which contains information about where people were born and their education. According to the administrative structure of the country, I have grouped these people by birth region or province. For example, in Ghana, people are grouped into the country’s 10 regions, while in Kenya, they are grouped into the country’s current 47 counties.
By grouping people by age and assuming that most people who go to college go to college around the age of 20, then I can track how the regional distribution of college education changes over time.
The development of university education in these former British colonies has been slow. In the late colonial era, the proportion of the population going to university was extremely low.
During the independence period, Kenya had approximately 400 university students (1961), while Tanzania and Zambia each had 300 students (1963). These scarce educational opportunities are unevenly distributed across regions. Among those who grew up in major cities and most economically productive areas (especially cash crops and mining industries), college attendance tends to be the highest.
This historical heritage will last forever. On average, regions with above-average college scores in the 1960s continue to have higher college scores today.
But the situation is not all bleak. In the first decades of independence, some poorly performing regions in every country were catching up. Trends in regional inequality in seven countries indicate that inequality in most countries declined in the 1960s and 1970s. During this period, the number of college students has grown quite rapidly. Student grants are generous, and the government has made some efforts to ensure regional balance.
In the 1980s, many African countries were in financial difficulties. The government strives to fund its mainly public university system. During this period, the speed of university expansion has slowed. The competition to enter the university is getting fiercer. This ended the period of convergence of university admissions areas. Regional inequality in university admissions is again starting to increase.
My analysis found that the students most likely to enter the highly competitive university system are increasingly students born in major cities with higher incomes and higher education levels of their parents. Regional inequality measures that do not include capital cities indicate that there has been no or almost no increase in regional inequality since the 1980s. This shows that most of the rise in inequality is driven by the capital region.
In the 1990s, many African countries reformed their university systems again by introducing or raising fees. They also allow more private universities to establish themselves. This has increased the number of students who can receive education and has led to a rapid rise in university enrollment. However, judging from the available data, regional inequality in university admissions opportunities still appears to be high or further aggravated.
Concentrated in the city
There are many reasons why access inequality continues to increase. The most important factor is the problem that is difficult for policy makers to solve.Census data shows that key countries have Considerable rural-to-urban migration rate. These immigrants account for only a small part of the university education. Therefore, college graduates are increasingly concentrated in cities. College students are often highly educated children—they, in turn, are more likely to receive higher education. This keeps highly skilled talents highly concentrated.
The slightly better news is that since cities are often racially mixed, growing urban prejudice does not seem to have led to a sharp increase in racial inequality in college education. In three countries (Ghana, Malawi, and Uganda), the census also requires respondents to state their ethnicity. Using these self-reported races, I measured racial inequality by cohort. I found that the increase in racial inequality was much less compared with the region.
Since immigration is the main driving force of this regional differentiation, unless there is more economic development and more employment opportunities outside the major urban centers, this trend may continue. This means that the face of outstanding educational achievement in Africa is changing. Beginning with a small number of educated elites in the 1970s, most college-educated people came from rural areas or small towns, while the most educated class was increasingly composed of people born and raised in major multi-ethnic urban centers. Dominate.
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