Dr Rob Gruijters

Associate Professor in Education


  • Achievement inequality
  • School segregation
  • Private schools
  • Life course research
  • School-to-work transitions
  • Returns to education

Biography and Research Interests

I am an Associate Professor at the School of Education, where I am affiliated with the Centre for Comparative and International Research in Education (CIRE) and the Centre for Multilevel Modelling (CMM). Prior to joining the School in April 2024, I worked as an Associate Professor in Education and International Development at the University of Cambridge. I completed my PhD in Sociology at the Humboldt University of Berlin in 2016. Before my academic career, I worked with the German Development Cooperation (GIZ) in Ghana for several years.

I am a quantitative sociologist working in the field of comparative and international education. My work is characterised by an in-depth engagement with sociological theory and the political economy of development, in contrast to the ‘what works’ approach inherent in much of the quantitative development literature.

My research often takes a comparative perspective, using a variety of cross-national and longitudinal data sources. In other projects, I have combined administrative data and qualitative interviews to analyse education policy at the national level, working in close collaboration with partner organisations in the Global South. As an illustration, the recently completed project “What Can We Learn from Ghana’s Free Senior High School Policy” (funded by the British Academy) conducts a mixed-method evaluation of Ghana's secondary school fee abolition.

Much of my current research focuses on educational inequality and its relationship with school segregation and the growth of private schooling. For example, a recent publication analyses school segregation by race and class in South Africa, using a combination of school survey and census data. As part of this project, I developed a new method for visualising patterns of multi-group segregation, the ‘segplot’.

A second research strand examines young adults’ work-family life courses and the problem of graduate unemployment in low- and middle-income contexts, building on ongoing research projects in Senegal and elsewhere. This work seeks to provide a more nuanced understanding of the returns to education in countries characterised by high social inequality and a lack of formal sector jobs.

Selected publications

  • Gruijters, R.J., Elbers, B. & Reddy, V. (2024) “Opportunity Hoarding and Elite Reproduction: School Segregation in Post-Apartheid South Africa.” Social Forces (forthcoming)
  • Gruijters, R.J., Hübner, N. & Raabe, I. (2024) “Socio-Emotional Skills and the Socioeconomic Achievement Gap.” Sociology of Education9(2): 120-147
  • Elbers, B. & Gruijters, R.J. (2023) “Segplot: A New Method for Visualizing Patterns of Multi-Group Segregation.” Research in Social Stratification & Mobility98: 100860
  • Gruijters, R.J., Van Winkle, Z., & Fasang, A.E. (2023) “Life Course Trajectories and Wealth Accumulation in the United States: Comparing Late Baby Boomers and Early Millennials.” American Journal of Sociology129(2): 530-569

For a full list see my Google scholar page.


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Dr Rob Gruijters
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