Closing the Gap

with Bowen Paulle, Ester Gould, Karim Amghar & Ismail Aghzanay

  • Debate
  • Lecture

Date: Wednesday 03.11.21
Time: 19:30 (doors: 19:o0)
Location: OSG Hugo de Groot, Nachtegaalplein 53, Rotterdam
Admission: € 10,00 (€ 6,00 for students)
Language: English

The place where you are born increasingly determines the opportunities you get in life. Right now, there exists an almost ironclad link between a child’s postal code and her chances of success. And education holds an important key to addressing this.

But the engine of emancipation is grinding to a halt. Our education system, traditionally thought of as the chief mechanism to close the opportunity gap, instead too often reflects existing societal inequities. Inequality of opportunity is, next to the shortage of teachers, the most important problem in Dutch education and tends to perpetuate or even reinforce itself: it stops intergenerational mobility.

So what to do? Together with renowned American sociologist Bowen Paulle (University of Amsterdam), award-winning documentary filmmaker Ester Gould (documentary series Klassen),  programmemaker Karim Amghar, teacher Ismail Aghzanay, and students and teachers from OSG Hugo de Groot we will analyse and unpack the complex puzzle of educational inequality. And we will look into best practices, scalable solutions and concrete policies to tackle the current divide.

Join us in the basement swimming pool (no water) of comprehensive school Hugo de Groot in Rotterdam-Charlois for a dive into one of the most pressing social problems of our time, and what we can do to turn the tide.

Bowen Paulle (1970, New York) is an American sociologist based at the University of Amsterdam, specialized in urban marginality and educational inequality. In his homeland Paulle experienced what effect inequality of opportunity has on a society and he wants to show us that inequalities in The Netherlands are on the rise, with all kinds of detrimental consequences. But also that we have the tools and programmes to dramatically improve the educational and life outcomes of disadvantaged students.

Ester Gould (1975, Peterculter, Scotland) is an award-winning documentary filmmaker, director and journalist. Together with Sarah Sylbing, she was winner of the VillaMediaprijs Journalist of the Year 2016 for their documentary series Schuldig (Guilty) about people in debt in the Vogelbuurt in Amsterdam-Noord. Their latest groundbreaking documentary series Klassen (Classes) deals with the fight for equal opportunities in education, and its (human) consequences and is nominated for the Prix d’Europe.

Karim Amghar is  the author of  ‘From Radical to Amical’ and  maker of TV programme ‘Karim Pakt Zijn Kans’ (Karim Takes his Chance) in which he investigates the opportunities for pupils with lots of potential but few resources. Karim now works as a senior lecturer in pedagogy at the MBO Zadkine in Rotterdam and as a lecturer at the teacher training college of Hogeschool Leiden. He is specialised in the themes polarisation, radicalisation, diversity and other social themes. In November he will publish a new book on educational inequality titled ‘Hoor mij! Zie mij!’ (Hear me! See me!).

Ismail Aghzanay is teacher and teamleader at Comenius College, public speaker, and part of the collective Meesters met Dromen (Teachers with Dreams) aimed at enhancing the dialogue on the future of our education system. He was finalist of cabaretfestival Cameretten in 2018, won the award for best Teacher of the Year in Rotterdam in the same year, and is finalist for this years national teacher of the year election.

Moderated by Geert Maarse