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Distributing Educational Opportunities: Positionality, Equality and Responsibility

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Education is one of the most unequally distributed goods, and this has led to people’s opportunities in life to differ greatly. Depending on how we conceive the value of education, the duties of the state regarding its distribution vary. This paper looks at the tension between two philosophical approaches to the value of education (individual and positional values), looking for a common ground where to support a more just and efficient distribution of educational opportunities for the world’s most vulnerable children. The paper presents two approaches to the value of education (individual and positional), and analyses how they affect its possible distribution. Second, it looks at our traditional framework of educational justice, based on meritocracy and equality of opportunity, and assesses its justifications, analysing how it complies with the different values of education. The paper closes by presenting a possible redistributive mechanism for making the distribution of educational opportunities more just.

Affiliations: 1: KU Leuven, Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies, Belgium;,


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