How students’ aspirations exacerbate social inequality (Opinion, Page A22)

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

The Straits Times

In today’s edition of The Straits Times, there was an article contribution by Assistant Professor Nina Guyon from the Department of Economics at NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. She discussed how differences in students’ aspirations affect social inequality in school, in light of the latest results from the Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa). Asst Prof Guyon shared findings from her research, using data on 14 year-old students in France, which show that an aspiration failure reinforces social inequalities at school. She noted that overall, academic aspirations are not consistent with professional aspirations and this is especially so for students of low socio-economic status (SES). She added that low-SES students have a clear disadvantage from the beginning and their lower aspirations drag them down even further, even when these are not justified. She opined that this inefficiency calls for government intervention to help disadvantaged students aspire to their true potential to increase upward mobility.

The article is part of a monthly series “Ask: NUS Economists” by the NUS Department of Economics. Each month, a panel will address a topical issue.

Click here to read the article.

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