Chapter 9 Education and justice: inclusion, exclusion and belonging
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This chapter discusses the systems of education in six countries by examining the discourses which shape the prevailing ideas on education within the political frames in which inequalities are constructed. It investigates the dynamics of inclusion and exclusion affecting minorities and other vulnerable groups in the system of education as an area where the manifestation of the two dimensions of justice pertaining to recognition and representation could be traced. The central question in the chapter is: To which extent can education be considered as a space of inclusion where the tension between equality and difference can be resolved in a way to contribute to the children’s well-being and the development of their capabilities. The chapter argues that the life chances of students are significantly determined by the sense of belonging in an inclusionary education system. The exclusionary dynamics created by experiences of alienation/discrimination which affect school performance limit the contribution education is expected to make to capability development for children from minority groups. The inclusionary features of a system of education, which recognizes differences of social and cultural background and values the parental choice, have implications for the development of the capabilities of children. However, how do the demands and choices of parents from minority groups relate to the well-being and capabilities of their children? The chapter draws on the capability approach to explore the conditions which allow individuals to make the choices that matter to them to pursue their valued ends of life and highlights the transformative character of education in an inquiry into the ways in which the tensions between equality and difference or between different definitions of good life and the development of a sense of belonging in society emerge in the systems of education of different country cases.

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