The Age of Studies and Reports: Selected Elements Concerning the Background of Encounters Defining the Power of Education

  • Veronika Tašner
  • Slavko Gaber
Keywords: equality, equity, mass education, the age of reports, socialist Yugoslavia/ Slovenia


In the present paper, we discuss the time before the “age of reports”. Besides the Coleman Report in the period of Coleman, the Lady Plowden Report also appeared, while there were important studies in France (Bourdieu & Passeron, 1964; Peyre, 1959) and studies that inaugurated comprehensive education in Nordic countries. We focus on the period after the World War II, which was marked by rising economic nationalism, on the one hand, and by the second wave of mass education, on the other, bearing the promise of more equality and a reduction of several social inequalities, both supposed to be ensured by school. It was a period of great expectations related to the power of education and the rise of educational meritocracy. On this background, in the second part of the paper, the authors attempt to explore the phenomenon of the aforementioned reports, which significantly questioned the power of education and, at the same time, enabled the formation of evidence-based education policies. In this part of the paper, the central place is devoted to the case of socialist Yugoslavia/Slovenia and its striving for more equality and equity through education. Through the socialist ideology of more education for all, socialist Yugoslavia, with its exaggerated stress on the unified school and its overemphasised belief in simple equality, overstepped the line between relying on comprehensive education as an important mechanism for increasing the possibility of more equal and just education, on the one hand, and the myth of the almighty unified school capable of eradicating social inequalities, especially class inequalities, on the other. With this radical approach to the reduction of inequalities, socialist policy in the then Yugoslavia paradoxically reduced the opportunity for greater equality, and even more so for more equitable education.


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