EFA Goal 3 is formulated to fulfil students’ basic learning needs through “equitable access to appropriate learning and life-skills programmes” (UNESCO. 2000, p.16). Goal 4 of SDGs declares one of the development agendas beyond 2015 clearly, “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all” (UN, 2014, p.6). The spotlight of “equitable access” and “equitable quality education”, on the one hand, has justified “equity” as a prerequisite for good quality education. On the other hand, it has drawn policymakers’ attention to the theme of “equity” in education. This can be seen in the case of China.
The term “equity” embodies a multitude of concepts, encompassing “justice”, “fairness”, “equality of opportunity” and “equivalent treatment” (Field et al., 2007, p.29). The questions of what equity is and how it is distinct from equality have been discussed conceptually for a long time (Cook & Hegtvedt, 1983), however, no consensus has been reached (Unterhalter, 2009). “Equity” and “equality” are often used interchangeably and analysed with regard to the dimensions of resources, opportunities, inputs, processes and outcomes (Klees, & Qargha, 2014). To uncover the major difference between equality and equity, equality is concerned with uniform distribution where everyone gets the same level of access to education, whereas equity prioritises fair and just treatment even if it is to be achieved at the cost of unequal distribution (ALA Intellectual Freedom Committee, 2005).
Equity in education is set as a key objective of teacher rotation policy. Challenged by the region-related inequity faced by people living in rural or economically backward regions (Lee, 2002), the practice of teache...
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....517). To better understand the mechanisms for achieving equity, Paquette (1998) divides equity into vertical equity (“giving to each according to need and merit”) and horizontal equity (“giving to each according to the common lot” (p.41). In an attempt to give equitable treatment for the underrepresented and disenfranchised groups, vertical equity approach has raised questions of reconstructing the way in which resources are redistributed. Education resources redistribution within teacher rotation policy is justified by vertical equity approach, in which “disadvantaged have an even greater claim on governmental resources” (Brown, 2006, p.517). Adopting a vertical equity framework, teacher rotation policy has recognised students in rural and low-performing schools as the disadvantaged group whose educational needs deserve greatest priority in resource redistribution.
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