Levelling Up Education: New Approaches to Place, Work and Education

Conference announcement – registration now open HERE – please share widely
Hosted by the Manchester Institute of Education (MIE) and the Academic College

Day ONE: 2-6pm, 15 June 2022
Day TWO: 9:30am-1pm, 16 June 2022

Participants include:
Kate Green MP, former Shadow Minister for Education
Prof Ruth Lupton, Honorary Professor of Education , MIE
Prof Richard Jones, Vice President for Regional Innovation and Civic Engagement, University of Manchester
Dr Eric Lybeck, Presidential Fellow, MIE

The event will be HYBRID with live talks in the Beyer Lecture Theatre. These will also be livestreamed via the Academic College (www.academiccollege.org)

The event is FREE, but we would ask that you register indicating whether you will be attending in person, online or via catch-up. #LevelUpEd

For over 40 years, a liberal, individualistic approach to education has dominated policy and pedagogy based on the assumption that more education leads to greater social mobility. While true for select talented (and lucky) individuals, it is becoming increasingly clear that aggregate levels of mobility across dimensions of class, ethnicity, gender, migration status and more have stagnated or are declining. Even more troubling: the expansion of credentials without corresponding growth in jobs may well be producing greater precarity across all occupations and statuses. Culturally, this condition produces swelling resentment amongst non-credentialled, often older, populations against professional, political and media ‘establishments’ — who too often return this disdain through blanket dismissals of others’ intelligence. Meanwhile, younger student populations experience crisis levels of anxiety earlier and earlier in life as all are compelled to compete in this overheating hamster wheel. The global popularity of Squid Game is testament to the scale of shared experience of this damaging liberal paradigm around the world.

Yet, bringing the particularities of regions and ‘place’ back into our analysis only intensifies awareness of these emergent dynamics. Clearly some places are doing better than others at reproducing and aggregating the social advantages that education is designed to make and distribute. Further, disadvantaged places too often exhibit multiple, overlapping forms of social deprivation, of which educational attainment is just one element in systemic, place-specific problems. The government in the UK have begun talk of ‘Levelling Up’ regional economies, though they retain a Schumpeterian faith in technology that has also failed to deliver on promises in recent decades.

Photo by Diana Polekhina on Unsplash

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