Inequality Despite or Due to Educational Expansion: English Teaching in Rural Areas Versus Big Cities in Poland.

Monday, 11 July 2016: 17:00
Location: Hörsaal BIG 2 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Marek MUSZYNSKI, Educational Research Institute (IBE), Poland
English speaking is nowadays a crucial factor that influences success on labour market. It also conditions further education, thus providing an equal access to English learning is a concern for many governements in the world. Any inequalities in access to or serious discrepancies in results of English learning rivet the attention of policy-makers and educational researchers. Frequently found phenomena of lower English proficiency among the pupils in rural areas (Hu, 2003; Sharplin, 2002) exists in Poland too, as identified both by nation-wide exams and specific research projects (Gajewska-Dyszkiewicz et al., 2015). Moreover, it seems that the proficiency gap between rural areas and the cities is (at least for Poland) larger for English, than for other school subejcts (Dolata, 2014). This lowers the odds for pupils from rural areas on labour market or in a university career.

 In our two nation-wide empirical studies- one in primary school (age 9-12), second in junior high school (age 13-15)- we have addressed questions concerning English teaching in Polish public schools. In this paper we will aim to identify differences between English teaching in Polish rural areas and cities. Teacher preparation and qualifications often pose a problem in rural areas (Boyd et al., 2003; Monk, 2007), but in our study it did not differ from these in bigger settlements. Socio-economical status (SES) of families and fact of taking additional English lessons were identified as having strong relation with lower English proficiency in rural areas. Moreover, we determined that many pupils did not take on additional lessons not because of limited financial capacities of their families, but because of the limited accessibility to the high-quality additional lessons in their vicinity. We will conclude with recommendations of how this situation can be solved to promote equality in education.