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Better Educational System Needs High Levels of Social Capital

Even though the educational system is now better, there are still many young adults who lacks on higher education. / Photo by: Cathy Yeulet via 123rf

 

In most countries, basic education is recognized constitutionally as a right. Governments should ensure that they are giving equal access and high-quality education to its people regardless of their background, race, and gender. For most people, finishing school is one of their treasures in life. It's a good indicator that a person is going to be successful in the future. 

The world experienced a great expansion in education for the centuries due to technology. From papers and pens, almost everything is on digital. Although it has helped the education system, there's still a lot of rooms for improvement. There are still a number of people who have no access to education. Some have started to enter grade school but eventually stopped due to several reasons. In a report released by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), out of 85% young adults who have attained secondary education, only 43% have gone further and had a tertiary degree across the globe.

Although better results are reported in countries like Canada, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Lithuania and the Russian Federation with more than 50% of young adults with a university degree, this isn't the case in some countries especially the developing ones. For instance, more than half of young adults lack an upper secondary or higher education in India, Indonesia, Mexico, and South Africa. Indeed, the education system needs a lot of development in catering to more students. 

The State of Global Education

Policy makers and education professionals focus on increasing the quality of education for a long time now. They are particular in providing schools effective ways to transfer knowledge and teach skills to students in the classroom. Although countries have been improving on the accessibility in their basic education, the quality is still being compromised. Probably because of some difficulties such as creating an implementing standardized assessments across the globe. 

According to the Global Partnership for Education, there are several key challenges that education is facing. For instance, it's significant to obtain the right data on how children are actually learning to address education problems across the world. Gender parity refers to the state of providing equal support and opportunities to all genders, is still an issue in a lot of countries. Although there has been a significant progress in this, there are still several issues if inequality. 

Additionally, in many countries, the ratio of teachers and students are not equal. Having enough trained education professionals is important in improving the quality of education. Of course, improving the quality of education means more funding is should be involved. According to GPE, an increase in education spending is needed by developing countries. 

The Use of Social Capital

Apart from investing on facilities, educators, and technology to ensure high-quality education, researchers from the Ohio State University suggests that social capital can help students in becoming successful individuals, even those who are in the most disadvantaged school. According to Science Daily, social capital refers to the network of relationships between school officials, teachers, parents and the community that builds trust and promotes academic achievement among others. 

The researchers analyzed 96 public high schools in Ohio and found out that students who have higher levels of social capital performed better on state-mandated reading and math tests. In those schools who have high social capital, professors are reported to have a good relationship with the students and teachers. Thus, creating an orderly and serious learning environment. 

Additionally, the results provide some good news because social capital is available to all schools regardless of their own backgrounds. This just shows that it can offer real benefits for student achievement. The involvement of parents and the people around them is essential to children's learning. 

A recent study conducted by Serena J. Salloum, Roger D. Goddard, and Dan Berebitsky entitled "Resources, Learning, and Policy: The Relative Effects of Social and Financial Capital on Student Learning in Schools" shows that having strong relationships between teachers, students and parents have greater impacts on improving student learning than financial support can do. 

The researchers found out that although being financially stable helps a lot, social capital plays a larger role in supporting students. The study was participated by 5,003 students and teachers in 78 randomly selected public elementary schools in Michigan. Results demonstrated that schools who invest more money in education have better test scores than those who spent less. However, the impact of social capital was five times larger than financial capital on reading scores and three times larger than math scores.

Moreover, the level of social capital found in schools has nothing to do with the money spent on student learning. This is a good indicator because this just means that schools can't "buy" social capital just by spending more money. It does need a different kind of investment in social capital.

Roger Goddard, co-author of the study said, "Research shows that the more teachers collaborate, the more they work together on instructional improvement, the higher the test scores of their students. That's because collaborative work builds social capital that provides students with access to valuable support."

 

Having a strong relationship between the teacher and students can improve the student learning. / Photo by: olegdudko via 123rf

 

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