Understanding equity: anthropology's contribution

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Equity is at the heart of policy and the current educational curriculum in Scotland. Pupil Equity Funding (PEF) seeks to bridge the gap between the disadvantaged and the advantaged by allocating economic resources to those schools where - within their catchment communities - they are at their most scarce. Bridging the Attainment Gap is concerned with the transformation of this inequity into a level playing field so that those from more economically challenged backgrounds have a better chance of achieving their full potential. Looking outward, the curricular focus on social justice and global citizenship demonstrates a commitment to global equity and developing an understanding amongst learners of equitable rights yet inequitable realities. The 2030 Sustainable Development Goals commit to the transformation of these rights into realities, and this is where anthropology steps in. Anthropology permits a critically supportive pedagogy of the concept of equity, where equity does not have to mean identical. Cultural hegemony and western imperialism together write a picture of the world that mirrors some of our own society's preconceptions. Anthropology allows us to untangle these intermingled understandings of equity and development to appreciate what development means in other societies' terms. Furthermore, rather than helping other societies to follow us, anthropology can encourage us to allow others to step ahead, becoming the pioneers of future developments rather than the followers of regressive footsteps through to progression. This paper explores the role of anthropology in developing a pedagogy of equity in terms of delivering the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 5 Sept 2019


  • Equity
  • Education
  • Scotland
  • Anthropology


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