SP444      Half Unit
Educational Inequality in the Global South

This information is for the 2024/25 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Shuang Chen


This course is available on the MSc in International Social and Public Policy, MSc in International Social and Public Policy (Development), MSc in International Social and Public Policy (Education), MSc in International Social and Public Policy (LSE and Fudan), MSc in International Social and Public Policy (Migration), MSc in International Social and Public Policy (Non-Governmental Organisations) and MSc in International Social and Public Policy (Research). This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Course content

This course explores sources of educational inequality in developing countries and the role of policies. We will examine issues and debates through an international and comparative lens, drawing on theories and evidence from multidisciplinary research.

The course starts by introducing theoretical perspectives and conceptual frameworks commonly used in the study of education in developing countries. Then we engage with a specific theme each week. Themes include but are not limited to free education for all, teachers and teaching, private schools, education in emergencies, etc. Specific themes might vary each year.

By the end of this course, you will be able to

1. Examine educational inequality through an international and comparative perspective and multiple theoretical frameworks.

2. Evaluate evidence and claims about education in academic literature and policy debate.

3. Propose new research and/or policy recommendations to address educational inequality in the global south.


All teaching will be in accordance with the LSE Academic Code (https://info.lse.ac.uk/current-students/lse-academic-code) which specifies a "minimum of two hours taught contact time per week when the course is running in the Autumn Term (AT) and/or Winter Term (WT)". Social Policy courses are predominantly taught through a combination of in-person Lectures and In person classes/seminars. Further information will be provided by the Course Convenor in the first lecture of the course. The course will be taught in the WT.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 1 essay in the WT.

Indicative reading

  • Buchmann, C., & Hannum, E. (2001). Education and stratification in developing countries: A review of theories and research. Annual Review of Sociology, 27(1), 77–102.
  • Steiner-Khamsi, G. (2010). The politics and economics of comparison. Comparative Education Review, 54(3), 323-342.
  • Mundy, K., Green, A., Lingard, B., & Verger, A. (Eds.). (2016). Handbook of global education policy. John Wiley & Sons.
  • Glewwe, P., & Muralidharan, K. (2016). Improving education outcomes in developing countries: Evidence, knowledge gaps, and policy implications. In Handbook of the Economics of Education (Vol. 5, pp. 653-743). Elsevier.


Essay (90%, 3000 words) in the ST.
Class participation (10%) in the WT.

Key facts

Department: Social Policy

Total students 2023/24: Unavailable

Average class size 2023/24: Unavailable

Controlled access 2023/24: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills