Web Content Display

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. 


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