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Towards a fairer school: between description, understanding and management of the system


Nathanaël Friant


Justice – Segregation - Prospective Research – Education Policy - Evaluation


Can we say that school is unfair? How do its users see it? These questions may seem simple. They are extremely complex. Based upon several research works in which the author has collaborated, this PhD dissertation deals with these questions from several point s of view: description of the educational system; understanding of the way its users feel its injustices; and management of the system for more fairness. After a literature review of theories of justice and their application to education, the first part of this dissertation focuses on describing mechanisms fostering unjust inequalities concerning, in particular, socio-economic segregation between schools. The second part tries to answer the question of what should be done to make the school fairer. This is done on the one hand by reviewing existing priority education policies and their evaluation, on the other hand by presenting a prospective research approach aiming at answering the question of "what could work". The third part finally takes the users' point of view by asking if pupils feel fairly treated by the educational system.

Research covering period

October 2006 – November 2012


Doctoral Thesis UMONS