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A Critical Review of School Choice and Egalitarian Justice with Special Reference to the Philippines



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Adebayo, Seun  


The complexities of many societies in the world today, coupled with the dire need to achieve quality education and social justice in every society, makes the issue of school choice and justice topical at national and international levels. The Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all by 2030, has established that quality education for all can significantly contribute to sustainable societal development. This paper employed a critical review of John Rawls's A Theory of Justice (1971) and Harry Brighouse’s (2000) work on school choice and social justice. The paper applies this examination to the Philippines case, paying close attention to the relationship between school choice and egalitarian justice within the Philippines education sector. This article considers egalitarian justice as a theoretical framework relevant to its discussion on school choice in the Philippines within the context of the SDG 4 – Education 2030 agenda. Findings from this review show that many Filipino parents want the best education and future for their children, and this drives their decision on school choice. Where the public system fails to provide quality education for their children, parents tend to choose other school options to enrol their children, and they remain loyal to affordable schools. The Government of the Philippines provides educational vouchers for private schooling to ensure accessible, equitable and quality education for all. Consequently, private schools are developed at the cost of public schools, while many Filipino children still attend public schools. This creates unintended inequalities within society. This paper concludes that realising egalitarian justice in a society under the school choice system will be quite problematic. Although school choice could help in making education available to some, it could spell doom for others. This review paper is relevant because, with less than 11 years left to achieve SDG 4, challenges historically inherent in many education systems and current problems being faced by educational actors on achieving the SDG 4 are worthy of our attention. Therefore, the paper calls for more research to be done on school choice and egalitarian justice in different socio-political contexts.



School Choice, Egalitarian Justice, Quality Education, Education Reforms, The Philippines

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Cambridge Educational Research e-Journal (CERJ)

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CERJ, Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge

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