Diversity, equity and inclusion in education: what is it, and why does it matter?

Children from disadvantaged households are much more likely to experience poor early learning than others, placing them at greater risk of enduring negative impacts on academic attainment, employment and earnings and civic engagement, among others. But some children from disadvantaged households do achieve strong outcomes, demonstrating that equitable outcomes are possible – and highlighting the policy actions that can help create a more level playing field for all children.

Equity in education is about supporting children who need it most. Ultimately it is about supporting informed and well-educated citizens, who are the foundation for stronger economies and more resilient societies of the future.

5 key takeaways:

  • Why equity matters: learning gaps at five
  • How does pre-primary education make a difference?
  • Which other factors could help close the gap?
  • How can a more dynamic education system help learners throughout their lives?
  • How do governments allocate public spending on education?

Demographic change, migration, and rising inequalities are just some of the major global developments that are resulting in greater diversity among pupils and students. This presents new challenges for education policymakers as they seek to better understand its impact on their education systems.

Finding Strength through Diversity, published on 31 January 2023, presents a general framework for studying diversity, equity and inclusion in education, analysing five key policy areas: governance, resourcing, capacity building, school-level interventions, and monitoring and evaluation.

Education systems vary in terms of defining and conceptualising diversity, equity and inclusion in education. They have developed their own definitions, which reflect their history, priorities and educational goals. This creates considerable challenges for comparative analysis. This report supports the view that equity and inclusion in education systems are approached holistically, building on their interdependencies to generate complementarities and prevent inconsistent objectives.