Social Progress in and Through Education

Symposium on Education and Social (In)Equality at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Vienna

The past decades have been characterized by a strong educational expansion in most countries around the world. This is generally considered a desirable trend given well-established associations of higher education with longer and healthier lives, greater productivity, more civic engagement, etc. However, it is also increasingly noted that educational expansion has been accompanied by trends toward the social exclusion of low qualified people and increases in levels of social inequality. Educational expansion therefore is not only a story of success. This raises the critical question of how we can bring about progress for all through education and to avoid accelerating social polarization. In this context the research group in_Equality and Education (EQUI) at the Institute of Advanced Studies (IHS) cordially invites you to the symposium “How to conceptualize and analyze social progress in and through education” that will take place on the 7th of October 1.00 p.m. to 7.00 p.m. at IHS premises. We are happy to confirm three highly renowned keynote speakers:

  • Stephanie Matseleng Allais, University of Johannesburg
  • Aaron Benavot,University at Albany NY / School of Education
  • Justin Powell, University of Luxembourg

The presentations will tackle the symposiums’ topic from different perspectives: how to build a theoretical compass for analyzing social progress in and through education based on the IPSP-International Panel on Social Progress ( and various concepts of equity, justice, and fairness / neoliberalism as a growing societal paradigm and its questionable impact on education / the links to and overlaps with other concepts such as ‘education for sustainability’as implemented by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations. The purpose of the symposium is to initiate a discussion on the potential of education to foster social progress. It offers generous occasions for follow-up questions from participants and discussions following the keynote presentations. The event concludes with a panel discussion including our keynote speakers and other experts.

Additional details on the symposium will be provided in due course. We ask you to register for the event by October 1st (potzmann(at) and are looking forward to seeing you for a day of lively discussion! Snacks and drinks will be provided.

Further Information (PDF)