Connecting you(th). A call for articles on overcoming divisions in society

Educational Gap

The Foundation P&V fights against social exclusion of young people. Today's society appears to be divided in two groups (of young people) living side by side. These groups seem to crystallize around education. People with a low level of education and people with a high level of education do not meet often. They do not live in the same neighbourhoods, they do not attend the same sports clubs, schools or (digital) spaces, nor do they meet at church or in the army.

Years ago, the pillarization (segregation of society) was based on political and religious beliefs, but today, according to some people, it is based on the level of education. Not only do less educated people and highly educated people rarely meet, they also have different concerns. Graduates of higher education (also young people) worry for example about the environment, (higher) education and health care. Less educated people have more concerns regarding crime, immigration and unemployment.

Although the educational gap is not a new phenomenon, some say it has worsened in recent years, and especially affects poorly educated groups who are less able to build up a “good life”. Added to this is the growing awareness of the consequences that this educational gap can have on social cohesion and on the possibility of building a society which is open to everyone.

Call for contributions

Therefore, the Foundation P&V is launching a far-reaching operation: Connected you(th). Overcoming divisions in society. This project aims, in a first stage, to gather the most recent and relevant scientific knowledge on the subject via a call for articles which are able to elucidate in a rigorous, empirical and original way (1) the great divisions in our society, especially around education, the evolution of these divisions, the causes of this evolution, and their consequences; (2) emerging meeting spaces and people who can form a "bridge" between different groups of youngsters; (3) "good practices" that succeed in breaking down the divisions among young people.

Selection Process

The articles were first reviewed by three readers with great expertise in the subject. In a second step, the presidents of the P&V Foundation selected 5 winning articles from the best-ranked articles in the first round, each of which received a prize of 2,000 euros. 


These 5 articles will be the subject of a forthcoming publication. The laureates will be invited to comment on their work and to enter into a debate with scientists, experts, actors from the field and involved politicians. The conclusions of these articles and debates will serve as a guideline for the continuation of this multi-year project. 


  • Paper 1: "Geographical inequalities in educational credentials, 1961-2011" written by Raf Vanderstraeten and Frederik Van der Gucht - UGent
  • Paper 2: "Education and selective mobility: How parental and ethnic background assort the relocations of young Brussels adults" written by Lena Imeraj and Sylvie Gadeyne - VUB
  • Paper 3: "Worlds apart? An empirical assessment of education as a social boundary among young people in Flanders" written by Bram Spruyt and Filip Van Droogenbroeck- VUB
  • Paper 4: "Building bridges in and with youth work. Connecting with vulnerable youngsters" written by Nathalie Van Ceulebroeck, Els De Ceuster and Britt Dehertogh- AP University Antwerp 
  • Paper 5: "Local community lifelong learning centres and supports as spatial relational systems: Changing diametric spaces of exclusion towards concentric spaces of inclusion for a spatial-ecological systems science" written by Paul Downes - Dublin City University 

Download the abstracts   

Connecting you(th). Overcoming divisions in society

The Foundation P&V fights against the exclusion of young people. In our current society, two separate groups (of youngsters) seem to have formed and seem to live next to each other. These two groups seem to cristallize around education.

The better and the less educated do not often meet each other. They do not live in the same neighbourhoods, they do not go to the same sports club or school, they do not meet in the same (digital) places and they no longer meet in the church or the military. Where in the past there used to be compartmentalisation according to political and religious convictions, educational level is the new compartmentalisation, say some researchers. Not only do the better and the less educated rarely see each other, they are also concerned about different issues. People with higher levels of education (including young people), for example, are concerned about the environment, (higher) education and health care. People with lower levels of education are particularly concerned about crime, migration and unemployment.

Although the Educational Gap is not a recent discovery, some reasearchers suggest that this gap has deepened or worsened in recent years, and in particular concerning the less educated who tend to have more difficulties to build a comfortable life for themselves. There is also a growing awareness of the consequences of the education gap on social cohesion and the possibility of building a society with which everyone can identify.

Accordingly, the Foundation P&V has launched a new multi-year Research/Action program, lasting several years and covering various stages:


The grouping of scientific knowledge and ideas on the major dividing lines and inequalities in our society in general, concerning education in particular, on the evolution of these divisions, on the origins of that evolution, and its consequences; the good practices that succeed in overcoming the educational gap for the youngsters…


Nourish and deapen the reflection, based on this united expertise, on the different knowledge and ideas, with the aim of identifying and supporting forms of policy and projects that can contribute concretely to solving the identified problems.


The promotion of these policies and sharing of the initiatives and projects thus established.


New Connecting You(th) call for projects:Submit your application before November 15th!

The P&V Foundation launches the Connecting You (th) call for projects to facilitate mutual meetings between young people and / or the achievement of common objectives that may concern the (para) school environment, the neighborhood, free time / leisure . In this way, it is possible to promote not only mental well-being, but also societal well-being and cohesion in society.

Read More

The P&V Foundation is looking for candidates for its youth forum.


As part of its new project 'Connecting You(th) Overcoming social divides' , the P&V Foundation initiates a youth forum, so as to offer twenty young people aged 17 to 23 the opportunity to gain experience in active citizenship. Do you know someone who meets the criteria in your family or circle of friends?

Please feel free to share our call for applications.

Read More


Do we still meet or do we live mostly in our own bubbles? In recent years, we have seen a growing gap in society, especially depending on the level and type of education. We don't live in the same neighborhoods, we don't go to the same sports clubs or schools, we don't meet in the same places, and our priorities and interests are different.

All of this has negative consequences for social cohesion and the possibility of building a society in which everyone can find themselves. According to some, the current coronavirus crisis threatens with polarization. The crisis can accentuate the divisions between groups. It is therefore important, in the post-Corona era, to work on these cleavages and the contributor to bridge the gaps in society.

During the coronavirus crisis, the personal growth and identity development of young people was also put under pressure. Indeed, one of the negative consequences of confinement and online education has been the reduction in social interaction and the increase in boredom, loneliness and mental problems among young people. Research shows that social contact and support can be important factors in resilience and recovery after a crisis.

With its new multi-year project Connecting You (th), the P&V Foundation wants to combine the need for social contacts and exchanges of young people with the societal need for diversified contacts, meetings and mutual understanding. In this way, it is possible to promote not only mental well-being, but also societal well-being and cohesion in society.

The project will consist of 2 components: a call for projects and a youth forum. 

Call for projects

The P&V Foundation will launch its new call for projects ‘Connecting you (th). Overcoming social divides’ this September 2021.  For more information subscribe to our Newsletter.

Youth Forum

As part of its new Connecting You(th) call for projects, the P&V Foundation initiates a youth forum, so as to offer twenty young people aged 17 to 23 the opportunity to gain experience in active citizenship. 

Practical information


  • The youngsters will be between 17 and 23 years old and the group will be composed in the most diverse way possible. Anyone can apply.
  • The forum will begin with an opening weekend in October 2021 and end in May 2023.
  • During this period, the young people will meet face-to-face four times and will organize a certain number of meetings digitally. They will also make field visits and actively participate in the closing event.


Download the application form  available in French and Dutch before 5 october.

More information: You can download the informative document available in French and Dutch or contact the Foundation team: Saskia De Groof and Dunia Oumazza