Research Topic

Urban Education: Demystifying the Urban Advantage

About this Research Topic

Current statistical predictions indicate that the world is getting more urbanized than ever. Unfortunately, a significant share of the urban influx fails to integrate into the formal urban settlements, and only afford the poorly serviced urban settings, usually called slums, shanties, or just informal urban settlements. Such residencies are the manifestation of urban poverty and the public policy failure to provide services equitably leading to inequalities. Current studies in urban education have indicated that low cost private schools fill an important gap in education provision. However, majority are poorly resourced, teachers poorly motivated, and household support for their children's education compete with other basic needs including food security, housing, and health. This potentially compromises access to education, learning outcomes, and school participation for the urban poor, further exacerbating existing education inequalities. This context calls for continuous research reflections on education policy and practice, to address the unique challenges of urban education and demystify the urban advantage.

Addressing inequalities is a driving principle of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through the “leaving no one behind” pledge of the United Nations. The achievement of this extraordinary commitment call nations to make public education policies and implement programs that target education inequalities. In this context, research evidence on urban education constitutes an essential contribution to providing inclusive quality education and to the success of SDGs in “leaving no one behind”.

The recent rise of the COVID-19 pandemic introduced new challenges for the education sector as it did for all the other social and economic sectors, both at the individual and national levels. Schools have been closed and, in most cases, teaching and learning was transferred to online, or aired on local radio and TV stations. In this context, children from resource-deprived families though in the urban context probably suffered disproportionately the adverse consequences of online and on-air teaching and learning approaches. To redress the inequalities aggravated by COVID-19 pandemic in the education sector for the urban context, policy and decision makers will need research evidence as vital anchors of their actions.

Through this Research Topic, we welcome contributions of research papers that reflect on the leadership of education in a poor urban context, including parental involvement, the motivation of both teachers and students, the social context, trends in urban education, and interventions that promote access and quality in urban education. Papers will also focus on policies that govern education programs and practices in the urban context. They will build on recent studies on education practice that indicated intriguing findings on improving learning outcomes among resource-deprived urban communities, especially in developing countries. Although the urban education inhibitors associated with resource-deprived contexts may be more pronounced in the developing countries than well-established economies, the current stressors to young people are universal. Not so long ago, school and street shootings have been frequent in some of the developed countries. These and other issues affecting the youth can be addressed through well-designed education programs informed by research evidence.

Papers may consider the recent online and on air teaching and learning approaches imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The teacher remains uncontested as the traditional agent of teaching and educating. Also, the role of parents and guardians is becoming essential based not only on funding education of their children but also on supporting their children through intellectual and social mentorship.

The authors will be researchers conducting empirical studies in education and are required to focus on the urban education context but may also provide comparisons with rural contexts. The publications shall respond to research questions that focus on (though not limited to):

- Parental and community involvement in education;
- Learning outcomes, drivers of access and quality of education among adolescents in urban contexts;
- Resources for urban education;
- Teaching and teacher motivation;
- Effectiveness of education programs;
- Demographic trends and provision of education in the urban contexts;
- Education policy and practice;
- COVID-19 and access to education in the urban context


Keywords: Access, Education, Inclusion, Quality, Urban


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Current statistical predictions indicate that the world is getting more urbanized than ever. Unfortunately, a significant share of the urban influx fails to integrate into the formal urban settlements, and only afford the poorly serviced urban settings, usually called slums, shanties, or just informal urban settlements. Such residencies are the manifestation of urban poverty and the public policy failure to provide services equitably leading to inequalities. Current studies in urban education have indicated that low cost private schools fill an important gap in education provision. However, majority are poorly resourced, teachers poorly motivated, and household support for their children's education compete with other basic needs including food security, housing, and health. This potentially compromises access to education, learning outcomes, and school participation for the urban poor, further exacerbating existing education inequalities. This context calls for continuous research reflections on education policy and practice, to address the unique challenges of urban education and demystify the urban advantage.

Addressing inequalities is a driving principle of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through the “leaving no one behind” pledge of the United Nations. The achievement of this extraordinary commitment call nations to make public education policies and implement programs that target education inequalities. In this context, research evidence on urban education constitutes an essential contribution to providing inclusive quality education and to the success of SDGs in “leaving no one behind”.

The recent rise of the COVID-19 pandemic introduced new challenges for the education sector as it did for all the other social and economic sectors, both at the individual and national levels. Schools have been closed and, in most cases, teaching and learning was transferred to online, or aired on local radio and TV stations. In this context, children from resource-deprived families though in the urban context probably suffered disproportionately the adverse consequences of online and on-air teaching and learning approaches. To redress the inequalities aggravated by COVID-19 pandemic in the education sector for the urban context, policy and decision makers will need research evidence as vital anchors of their actions.

Through this Research Topic, we welcome contributions of research papers that reflect on the leadership of education in a poor urban context, including parental involvement, the motivation of both teachers and students, the social context, trends in urban education, and interventions that promote access and quality in urban education. Papers will also focus on policies that govern education programs and practices in the urban context. They will build on recent studies on education practice that indicated intriguing findings on improving learning outcomes among resource-deprived urban communities, especially in developing countries. Although the urban education inhibitors associated with resource-deprived contexts may be more pronounced in the developing countries than well-established economies, the current stressors to young people are universal. Not so long ago, school and street shootings have been frequent in some of the developed countries. These and other issues affecting the youth can be addressed through well-designed education programs informed by research evidence.

Papers may consider the recent online and on air teaching and learning approaches imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The teacher remains uncontested as the traditional agent of teaching and educating. Also, the role of parents and guardians is becoming essential based not only on funding education of their children but also on supporting their children through intellectual and social mentorship.

The authors will be researchers conducting empirical studies in education and are required to focus on the urban education context but may also provide comparisons with rural contexts. The publications shall respond to research questions that focus on (though not limited to):

- Parental and community involvement in education;
- Learning outcomes, drivers of access and quality of education among adolescents in urban contexts;
- Resources for urban education;
- Teaching and teacher motivation;
- Effectiveness of education programs;
- Demographic trends and provision of education in the urban contexts;
- Education policy and practice;
- COVID-19 and access to education in the urban context


Keywords: Access, Education, Inclusion, Quality, Urban


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

31 May 2021 Abstract
31 August 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

31 May 2021 Abstract
31 August 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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