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The gap between rich and poor worldwide is bigger than ever, according to recent research by Oxfam Novib. Less than thirty billionaires own together as much as the poorest half of the world's population, 3.8 billion people. Furthermore, whereas the wealth of those billionaires rises sharply every year, the poorest own less and less. Such extreme inequality has negative consequences, socially, economically and politically, says Oxfam Novib.

 

How can you counter this growing inequality? ‘Education plays a very important role,' says economist Petros Milionis. Together with Mariko Klasing, he conducts research in Groningen into the causes and consequences of educational inequality. 'Differences in education level lie at the basis of differences in welfare level. That is why we would like to find out how that educational inequality arises and can possibly be combated.’

The big differences are not only between countries, but also between regions within a country.

 

 

 

Petros Milionis:

'You see that both knowledge and economic growth are concentrated in metropolitan areas, while other regions are falling behind and becoming poorer. Unfortunately, such regional figures are not sufficiently available and comparable now for us to be able to conduct extensive research.

Mariko Klasing:

'We want to bring all that data, worldwide and regional, over a long period of about 50 years together and hope to gain insight into connections and patterns. For example, with these data you can find out whether a school system contributes to more or less inequality for women or minorities, and also what is the development of educational inequality in different age groups.'

   

 

 

The intention is that the data will eventually be made public so that more researchers can use it worldwide. Making all data accessible costs around € 40,000. A junior researcher can be appointed with that money. Because they do not have a research budget, Petros and Mariko seek support from former students and others who support research at the University of Groningen.

Their research on the gender gap in education last year has already yielded surprising results. Traditionally, women worldwide have a lower education than men. However, since the fifties of the last century there has been a huge catch-up. In most developed countries, women now even have a higher education. The main cause: the improvements in healthcare after the Second World War have had much more influence on women than men. The average life expectancy of women rose much more and, for example, vaccination appears to have more impact on women.

With your help, Petros and Mariko can expand their research and gain knowledge about how the fight against educational inequality in the world can best be tackled.

Please help them to close the gap and donate! Any amount is welcome!