Spain is the third country in the OECD in index of school segregation for socioeconomic reasons in the primary stage, behind Lithuania and Turkey, according to a study prepared by EsadeEcPol and the NGO Save The Children, which analyzes for the first time school segregation at this stage.
This is the report ‘Diversity and freedom: Reduce school segregation while respecting the ability to choose a school’, which researchers Lucas Gortázar and Álvaro Ferrer have prepared and which highlight the capacity of educational policies and the determining role of autonomies to achieve a balanced distribution of students.
To prepare the report, which was made public this Wednesday, researchers have analyzed the educational reality of 64 countries, 25 of them from the OECD.
The situation in primary school has been studied using data from the international TIMSS study, prepared by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement.
The report highlights that high school segregation in Spain “varies a lot” according to the autonomies and that the Community of Madrid is where students are most divided for socioeconomic reasons, a phenomenon that in this region “has increased in recent years.”
The study also points out that school segregation by immigrant origin “is relatively low in Spain in relation to the OECD average” and “similar to that of countries such as Sweden, Norway or Canada”.
There is, however, an enormous variation between communities, with a very high segregation by immigrant origin in Extremadura, Andalusia and especially in the Basque Country, the text indicates.
The work also analyzes the school segregation for socioeconomic reasons in secondary school based on data from the PISA report and concludes that at this stage Spain is at the OECD average.
The researchers emphasize that low school diversity, whether socioeconomic or otherwise, can have a very negative impact on the efficiency and quality of the education system and on student opportunities, and recall that several international organizations such as the OECD or Unesco have warned of the social and economic risks that excessive school segregation can cause.
Despite acknowledging that economic structure and geographic distribution are important when it comes to distributing students, the researchers underline the capacity of educational policies and the role of autonomies to determine a balanced distribution of students.
The text indicates that the phenomenon of school segregation is more pronounced in large cities and that “it is greatly amplified for reasons unrelated to residence.”
Specifically, it refers to the city of Barcelona, where some studies have determined that a “hypothetical enrollment” based on the proximity between the home and the educational center presents levels of segregation much lower than those found with actual enrollment .
In the case of the city of Madrid, the study breaks down the total school segregation into the segregation that occurs between districts and that that occurs within districts.
The results show that “the highest proportion of segregation occurs within the districts” so it “responds more to variables related to educational policy.”