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Inequality in Access to Education at Different Stages of Economic development:

Scoping Study


he project, funded by a small grant from the Scottish Funding Council, commenced in October 2017 and concluded in March 2018. Its aim is to conduct a scoping exercise to identify empirical and normative aspects of access to education in (Chile, Malawi, Scotland and Swaziland) spanning a wide range of economic development. Dr Kristinn Hermannsson from the University of Glasgow in School of Education is the Principal Investigator of the Project. A Researcher (Dr Josephine Munthali) has implemented the Project with input from the consortium.

The consortium consist of the following Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) Recipient Country Partners who are Academic partners:

  • Professor Winford Masanjala, Department of Economics, Chancellor College, University of Malawi. Early career researcher, Chancellor College, University of Malawi
  • Innocent Makuta, Department of Economics, Lecturer, Chancellor College, University of Malawi
  • Professor Nonhlanhla Alucia Sukati, School of medicine, University of Swaziland
  • Dr Maria Jose Valdbenito Infante, School of Education, Alberto Hurtado University, Chile

They are joined by an interdisciplinary academic team from the University of Glasgow:

  • Dr Ben Colburn (Philosophy), University of Glasgow, Scotland
  • Ms Jeanette Findlay (Economics), University of Glasgow, Scotland
  • Dr Barbara Read (Education) University of Glasgow, Scotland
  • Dr Hugh Lazenby (Philosophy) University of Glasgow, Scotland

The aim of the study is to (a) Map inequality in access in participating countries; (b) Identify the normative principles (e.g. equality of opportunity) that drive access policies; (c) Identify key policy documents and data sources and (d) Identify key stakeholders and build awareness of the project. At global level the researcher is identifying key international stakeholders, documents and data sources and reviewing key academic sources on educational access to identify the state of the art.

The research project has achieved the following:

  • Mapping of national and international stakeholders and project awareness building
  • Production of 4 x national briefing papers that identified best available evidence, data sources and key policy documents
  • Consortium workshop held in Dubai in January 2018 that built capacity in understanding of UK Government’s Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) funding procedures, worked on outputs and planned legacy
  • Development of Website outlining the project, partners, outputs and sources and stakeholders
  • Review of international evidence and priorities of key players in ODA
  • Identification key important questions at the research frontier that are currently being addressed as part of a joint research project funded through GCRF.

Other expected capacity building outcomes include (a) Mutual appreciation of different perspectives and circumstances by discipline and country (whole consortium); (b) Improved understanding of the GCRF and practical requirements for administering funds from the GCRF (overseas partners) (c) Engagement of stakeholders with the objectives and methodology of our empirical/normative approach and explicit support for a subsequent bid and (d) Involvement of GU colleagues with no prior experience of GCRF activities (Findlay, Lazenby) and an early career researcher (Makuta).