Panel F.02 — Democracy or meritocracy. The effects in the education system
Convenors Andrea Casavecchia (Università degli Studi di Roma Tre, Italy); Daniela Sideri (Università d’Annunzio Chieti-Pescara, Italy)
Keywords Democracy, merit, opportunities, inculsion, new learning processes
Education systems are fundamental social institutions basically aimed at promoting better opportunities for people’s lives: they are thus supposed to foster people’s critical thought in a complex society, their talents and abilities, in order to further their inclusion into the cultural and social context they happen to live in. Achieving this objective makes it necessary to provide social organizations with the tools to both bring out everyone’s merit and create the conditions to reduce inequalities.
As education systems are clearly permeated by the social, cultural, and technological traits and processes that characterize the entire society, great transformations put educational processes and institutions – as places dedicated to cultural, civic, and collective growth – under pressure. In the dynamic and uncertain contemporary scenery there is a strong need to consider education systems as intertwined with the social origins of people, with the cultural structures of society, with informal educational processes, and the challenges opened up by digitalisation. Thus, to find balance between “democratic” (Dewey) and “meritocratic” dimensions (Young), in order to rethink strategies and policies aimed at enhancing the system effectiveness.
The system itself is interpreted and considered in its inner complexity – so as both primary, secondary, tertiary and life-long education institutions and processes – this involving the necessity to promote a comprehensive understanding of the interrelated topics: expanding the choice opportunities for the life, the conscious citizenship furthering, the professional inclusion, which also includes contrasting graduates’ skills mismatch and consumerism in universities.
Starting from these assumptions and suggestions the panel addresses the issues of: the balance between merit and equality, between personal ambitions, talents and inclusion; the relation between socialization, formal and informal education, the influence of digitalization on learning processes and study paths.
The panel hence welcomes theoretical reflections and empirical analyses (qualitative and quantitative) aimed at interpreting the processes produced by educational agents and detecting the responses to the challenges indicated.