Every student or person who has worked with students understands that equity and equality in education are vital issues to consider in the education sector. They determine whether the students have equal access to opportunities and resources and whether they each have the necessary opportunities to ensure that they can all reach benefit from a quality and life-changing education. While equity and equality may seem like similar terms, they have completely different meanings.
With equity, all students get the resources they need to achieve a goal. Equity recognizes that students have different needs based on their circumstances and allocates the specific resources and opportunities required to reach an equal outcome. On the other hand, with equality, all students get the same resources and opportunities without regard for their needs or circumstances.
Equity focuses on access, whereas equality focuses on the outcome. Equity means every student gets what they need, while equality means everyone gets what is equal. This signifies fairness, impartiality, and evenhandedness in equity, while equality means uniformity and standardization.
A practical example of equality in education is giving disabled students the same resources as non-disabled students since all students should have equal opportunities and deserve an education regardless of their abilities. This may result in equity regarding opportunity but not necessarily equity regarding the outcome for all parties.
On the other hand, a practical example of equity in education is a teacher moving a student closer to the front of the class because the student has a health issue. This act enables the student to see better and participate equally in the lesson.
Equity can be considered the opposite of inequality wherein everyone has an equal chance at receiving a quality education which is achieved through having equitable access to resources and opportunities. This ensures that students with special educational needs can access the same resources as every other student.
While equality is an important issue, equity is more integral in the education sector because it ensures that all students receive access to the resources and opportunities required to achieve their educational goals regardless of their background or circumstances. An education system that values equity over equality is more attuned to the students’ needs and ensures that they have the requisite resources to overcome their challenges.