Maria Alekseevna Abramova, Galina Savitovna Goncharova, Vsevolod Grigorevich Kostyuk Family’s Impact on the Formation of the Strategy of Attaining Higher Education by youth

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Rocznik: 2017


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Tytuł: Family’s Impact on the Formation of the Strategy of Attaining Higher Education by youth

Autorzy: Maria Alekseevna Abramova, Galina Savitovna Goncharova, Vsevolod Grigorevich Kostyuk

PFP: s. 40-56



Efficient development of the country is mainly determined by the accumulated human capital that is being implemented in the country. This capital is considered to be a factor of developing the economy, society and family (Klotchkov 2004, p. 417; Kapeliushnikov, 2012). The present day conditions of the development of science and information society have actualized knowledge, education, health, quality of population life as an important component of maintaining and developing the human capital.

Prospects of social development, assessment of the accumulated social experience and value system, on the one hand, effect youth’s socialization, but on the other hand, the future and prospects of social transformations of the Russia of today essentially depend on the youth and their social activity and their vitality. One of the topical tasks of the country at this stage is maintaining of the human capital and creation of the best conditions for an individual to have necessary conditions for his self-development and self-realization.

Investigations into the relationship of social institutions of family and education have been a traditional set of issues for sociology. Family and system of education (Roshchina, 2012) are of big importance in analyzing socio-cultural differentiation of qualitative and quantitative properties in such fundamental sociological concepts as social mobility (Sorokin, 2005), theory of human capital (Becker, 2003), theory of cultural capital (Bourdieu, Passron, 2007). The role of family and education, of these most important institutions of socialization and enculturation of an individual appears to be in the news in studying the issues of socio-cultural adaptation of youth under conditions of modern transformations (Abramova, Goncharova, Kostyuk, 2011).

The present paper scrutinizes the effect of one most important resources of the family, viz., parents’ level of education and its impact on plans and strategies of their children – school graduates. Educational strategies of the latter are meant to denote a set of issues and tasks for graduates to solve and which are to determine their value orientations and choice motives. They involve problems associated with orientation to go on only with studies or to combine studies and a job: education type – with educational fee or free of charge; educational institution – governmental or commercial; location of the institution; a sort of preparation for to continue education.

Research objectives

  1. Existence of the connection between school graduates’ plans and their family’s type (determined by the level of the parents’ education).
  2. Impact of the respondents’ sex differentiation on choosing a strategy to obtain further education.
  3. Value attitudes and choice motives for school graduates to work out education strategy depending on their family type.

Research methodology

The Russian sociology has been greatly contributed to with its investigations on the connection of the parents’ education level and their children’s educational strategy by the works of V.N. Shubkin (1970), D.L. Konstantinovsky (2008), A.V. Ochkina (2010), I.P. Popova (2013) and others. It is extremely important to assess the affect of material and spiritual resources of the family on life and education trajectories of the youth, on processes of social differentiation and integration, professional and social succession.

It is most often that current investigations (Konstantinovsky, 2008; Ochkina, 2010; Popova, 2013) dwell on the effect of socio-professional status of parents upon the choice of future educational and professional trajectories of their children and therefore upon succession and alteration of this status. We consider status to denote the position the individual takes in the system of professional and social relations in which his education is the initial point for determination of their status.

The socio-professional position of individual is conditioned by a number of causes, with his education being basic. Educational status is unconditionally one of the fundamental factors of impact, though this relation is rather equivocal especially in conditions of Russia today. For instance, the status of the top manager (of an enterprise, organization, etc.) rather often does not depend on his having the diploma of higher education or it is not obligatory for a worker to have secondary or lower education. Theories of human and cultural capital speak on education – in its current paradigm of continued education – as an essential resource of man, as a content component of his socio-professional activities. The social and cultural resources of family – level of education, value hierarchy, ideals, attitudes, bringing-up methods and traditions – are a kind of a source of “initial capital accumulation” by the rising generation.

The analysis of the impact of parents’ educational level as a social and cultural resource upon their children’s educational strategies has been carried out on the basis of the data of the sample inquiry that was conducted by the Department of sociology of the Institute of Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences under D.L. Konstantinovsky’s scientific guidance at schools in the city of Novosibirsk and the Novosibirsk Territory in 2013: 618 graduates of 11 comprehensive secondary schools of Novosibirsk and the Novosibirsk Territory were interviewed: the city of Novosibirsk – 356, other towns of the Territory – 177 and the country side – 85 peoples.

To verify the hypothesis of the connection between the level of parents’ education and the choice of educational strategy by their children the respondents’ families were typologized. In effect, there was construed a definite hierarchy of family types by the level of parents’ education – from lower to higher level. This typologization first of all suggests the account of formal characteristics due to which the concepts “lower and higher” education do not directly reflect the quality of the education the parents have got. However, the families where one of the parents did not have any education or had incomplete education were also accounted:

  1. Incomplete secondary, secondary, primary professional education of both or one of the parents;
  2. Secondary special education of one of the parents;
  3. Secondary special of both parents;
  4. Higher education of one of the parents;
  5. Higher education of one of the parents and secondary specialized education of the other;
  6. Higher education of both parents.

When parents had different educational levels, the level of the parent with higher educational level was taken for the basis of the typology. For instance, a family of type 2: if father (or mother) had secondary specialized education and the second parent had lower educational level. So was situation with respondents from families belonging to level 4 when both parents of the graduate had higher education. The typology in question does not take into account difference in levels of parents’ education, therefore it does not allow to analyze the impact degree separately of mother or father. There seems to be another very interesting task therein.


Graduates’ plans and the impact of the family type upon them (families are typified by the level of parents’ education).

The analysis shows that the choice of educational level under planning for youths and girls is to this or that degree under the impact of their parents’ education (see table 1).

The major part of the young people – both youths and girls – plan to get higher education (92; 93%). Although there is no linear dependence observed between parents’ educational levels and educational levels their children are planning to pursue, yet, as a whole, one can see that with changing the educational level from lower to higher the number of children planning to graduate from a higher educational institution grows. Maximum wishes of graduates (96; 80%) are wishes of those graduates whose parents both have higher education, while the minimum ones (69; 80%) are typical of children, in particular of girls, whose parents have the lowest level of education.

The analysis of personal plans of the respondents to continue their education after finishing school has shown that the graduates as a whole plan either to go on studying (59.7%) or to combine studies with a job (35.8%). However, those who plan to combine studies with work make up 45.8% and they are mostly from the families of type 1 (parents have got education of the lowest level) their percent exceeds the average of all the family types by 10%.

The analysis also makes it clear that in planning strategy to get further education the respondents disclose the difference by sex in considering the number of study years and type of curriculum (baccalaureate, specialization, master’s degree courses).

Male graduates in comparison with female graduates would like to a lesser degree to graduate from the higher education institution, with the diploma of bachelor (by 6.6%; 17.1% against 23.7%), mostly they prefer to get the diploma of specialist

Table 1. Impact of parents’ education on the educational level of education that is being planned, % from graduates intending to go on with their studies or those intending to combine studies with work

(by 9%; 24.1% against 15.1%). Female graduates would like to have the diploma as soon as possible (for the least study years), and male graduates would like the diploma providing for broader specialization. Perhaps, this is connected with desires of girls to have “status” job as a chance to provide them for an appropriate communication surrounding and a decent earnings (none may have them without the diploma). For male graduates it is not only good earnings but also a possibility of a good career rise).

Most graduates planning to attain secondary specialized education in technicum, college, and also in a specialized professional training school, technical lyceum are graduates whose parents have much lower level of education (according to the offered typology). Among male graduates they are children from families of type 1 and 2 (19.1% and 21% correspondingly) and among female graduates they represent families of type 1-3 correspondingly).

The choice of the form of education correlates with parents’ education: 23.1% of girls whose parents have more low education (type 1) plan to take evening or corresponding courses, whereas only 1.8 and 6.4% of girls from families of family types 5 and 6 have similar plans. One cannot see such a clear-cut differentiation among male graduates, they are oriented at the day-time departments (by 2.7%; 94.4% against 91.7%) and more seldom at the evening department (by 3.3%). This form of education chosen by male graduates may mainly be conditioned by a probable calling up for military service and studies at the day-time department gives the possibility of granting deferment.

Male graduates also more often than female graduates are oriented at the free of charge education (44.6% against 29.0%) and it is extremely seldom that they are oriented at education on the paid basis. Probably this strategy is conditioned by the level of financial provision in the parents’ family. The part of male graduates be-longing to three less financially provided family groups – in assessing material position of parents – is by 8.6% more (54.4% against 45.8%).

The analysis of educational institution attractiveness has shown that the major group of graduates (90%) choose educational facilities of the city of Novosibirsk and of the Novosibirsk Territory: male graduates – 86%; female graduates – 93%. Youths wish to go to other cities of Russia, including Moscow and St. Petersburg, more often than girls, though the competition there is as a rule bigger and the admission score is higher.

Value orientations of school graduates and their education – choice strategy

In analyzing the responses to the question: “Why are you planning to go on studies?” the responses “it is important” and “it is very important” were considered. There were suggested 13 values to be assessed by the graduates, most of them put in the first place the values that are indirectly associated with their future work. 95-96% of the respondents answered that it was necessary to go on studies first of all in order “to attain a job that will correspond to my interests and inclinations”. Then 94-95% of the respondents gave an answer “in order to find a job well-paid for”, 93% – “in order to be a competent worker”, 88-91% – “to get a prestigious work”, 84-86% – “in order to readily find a job in our country”. Further on one can see motives less significant for the youth that are sooner of social than professional kind: “to go on with studies to establish necessary interrelations, acquaintances”; “for the sake of living an interesting life of students”, etc.

To see to what extent the level of parents’ education affects their children’s wish to continue their secondary education let us consider the worth/value of education in terms of its social significance in children’s perception (table 2).

The value orientations like “to establish necessary interrelations and acquaintances” are more significant among all indirect values, both for youths and girls, whereas for all of them the least significant motives are “this is a desire of my parents” and “to find a partner, a spouse”. Moreover, it was evident that in the group of the youths establishment of necessary relations and acquaintances during study process was more important for those of them whose parents had got higher levels of education (levels 4-6) in comparison with those who were the same age but their parents had got education of lower level. An analogous inference can be made for youths and girls whose motive was “in order to find work abroad”.

At the same time attaining “crusts” (colloquial for denoting a high education diploma in its case), viz., the diploma of education for girls from families where parents have much lower level of education (level 1-3) has more importance than this is important for those of their age from families where parents have higher levels of education (level 4-6).

The analysis of value orientations in choosing the most desirable (among several institutions mentioned by respondent) educational institution to study at for the youth – “a convenient location”, “it provides good education”, “admittance is not difficult”, “my friend are admitted in it”, “there are necessary interrelations for admittance”, “this is an educational institutions of prestige”, etc. allowed to reveal an obvious dependence of graduates’ value orientations on the type of their family. For the youths: the higher their parents’ level of education is, the more important the prestige of the institution is for them (81.1-85.7% of responses “very important” and “important” for graduates from families of their parents’ educational levels 4-6, with 71,4-78,9% of such graduates’ responses for graduates from families where parents have the lowest level of education (1-3). For the girls from all the types of families the prestige of the chosen institution is even more important than for youths, but there were no evident dependence on parents’ educational level noticed (88.5% of responses – for the first type of families; 82.1% – for the sixth type).

The girls whose parents have got a higher level of education proved to be more affected by the opinion of their parents (“this is what my parents want”) than the girls of their age from families of other types in their choosing a desirable educational institution (29.5-38.7% of responses against 19.2-34.2%)

Table 2. Impact of parents’ education on formation of education values that are socially significant for graduates (responses “important” and “very important” in %)

It is expedient to consider the impact of parents’ educational level on the occupational aspect of their children’s education-choice strategy. The graduates’ value hierarchy of study continuation shows that first places (as it was mentioned above) are taken by value orientations which are directly associated with the sphere of future occupational activities. Table 3 shows what is the most important for young people from families of different types in their choice and assessment of their own occupational activity.

The most significant value in their future occupation activity both for youths and girls appears to be their future income. Moreover, it is even much more significant for girls from families where parents have got lower levels of education. The value “importance for people”, taking the second place in the general hierarchy of assessment of occupations and professions for youth, turned out to be independent on parents’ level of education.

At the same time children (boys in particular) from families where parents have got higher level of education pay great attention to prestige of occupation, to occupation demanding training of very high quality and to its being in demand in the country as well as abroad. For them it is important to choose the occupation that will allow them to be independent, will give the levels of power and control (for youths it is very important).

The lower the level of education of parents, the more important it is for girls from such families to choose occupation that is easy to attain and that is respected in the society.

Thus, families with much higher level of education give reasons for their children to strive for attaining education that will enable them to be engaged in work, which is of high qualification, prestigious, of good demand in the native country and abroad and which will allow to be independent and to have levels of power and control.

The impact of parents’ education on value orientations of youths and girls in their choice of educational and occupational strategies is also confirmed in analyzing their orientation at their life goals (see table 4).

Let us consider only those goals that are directly related to choice of the level of education and profession. Their hierarchy for the youths is as follows: 1) “to be engaged in affairs I love most” (74.4%); 2) “to get a well-paid job” (70.5%); 3) “to have an interesting job” (67.9%); 4) “to attain good education” (61.5%); 5) “to make my career” (57.7%); 6) “to start a business of my own” (41%).

It should be noted that all these goals, viz., engagement in affairs most appealing to one, an interesting job, engagement in business were highlighted by the response “I shall do my best to achieve my goal”. It was most often given by youths from highly educated families (type 4-6).

As to the girls for them the most important goals were: 1) “to get a well-paid job” (74.5%); 2) “to have an interesting job” (72.8%); 3) “to be engaged in affairs most appealing to one” (68.7%); 4) “to attain good education” (67%); 5) “to make my ca-

Table 3. Impact of parents’ education on formation of assessing the profession significance by graduates (responses “very important” and “important” in %)

Table 4. Impact of parents’ education on formation of life goals by graduates (the response “I shall do my best” in %) Sex of graduates

reer” (57.1%). For them their own business was of no importance at all (only 29.9% of responses). The impact of their parents’ education is most clearly traced by such female graduates’ goals as “good education” and “affair most appealing to on”; the female respondents from highly educated families are ready to attain them with great persistence.

In investigating into graduates’ opinions of what factors and to how they impact joining a high educational institution it became evident that “the table of ranks” concerning these factors seems to be almost the same both for male and female graduates. In the first place there is high score by the Unified state examination (92-94% of the responses “very important” and “important”) further on there are “calling, abilities”, “thirst for knowledge”, “self-preparation”, “possibility to pay education fee”(rank 5 for girls, rank 6 for youths; this is the most significant difference, 11.6%). The lowest ranks (11-12%) characterize the factors “it is necessary to live in a big city where there are high educational institutions” (45-47% of responses) and “interrelations, acquaintances” (43-51%). The medium-position is occupied by the factors “the good school”, “a small competition at the HEI”, “awards for Olympiads”, “studies with coach”, “studies at the preparatory courses” (all they are within the range of 55-61% of the responses “very important” and “important”). Nevertheless, parents’ education affects the formation of graduates’ ideas of significance of certain factors of a successful entrance (see table 5).

Both male and female graduates from families of all types admit that for a successful joining the high educational institution one should have calling, abilities and thirst for knowledge. No dependence of those opinions on the type of the family by the educational level of parents was observed.

The idea of the importance of finishing the good school to be a success in entering the HEI is of more importance for children from families of the first-forth type (lower levels of education) and it is of least importance for graduates from families of type 5-6 where parents have higher or secondary specialized education.

As the level of parents’ education grows (from the first to the fifth level), grows the youths’ idea of education significance at preparatory courses (from 52.4 to 67.3% of responses), and it is only for those graduates whose both parents have higher education that this factor has been of minor significance (50% of responses). So is the situation concerning studies with coach, awards at Olympiads. For youths from the families where the parents have higher education it is more important than for youths of their age from families with the lowest education (level 1-2) to live in a big city where there is the high educational institution situated.

It is clear that these are mainly graduates from schools of the city of Novosibirsk whose parents have higher education and have appropriate interrelations, including interrelations at educational institutions. At the same time they have a better under-standing of the USE high score (92-100%) in comparison with 89.5-95.5% of those whose parents have got much lower education.

Table 5. Impact of parents’ education on formation of the idea of successful joining high education institution for graduates (responses “very important” and “important” in %)

Significance of the USE high score as a factor of successful joining high educational institutions for the girls also grows as grows their parents’ level of education (from 84.6 to 96.4% of responses).

As to the impact of parents’ education on sorts of getting children prepared for entering an educational institution one can consider by the findings of the investigation in question (table 6).

Table 6. Impact of parents’ education on choice of preparation for entering educational institution by graduates in %

According to table 6 that there are the most obvious differences by the sort of preparation “studies at the preparatory courses”: both for male and female graduates if their parents have higher education a number of those who take such courses is half as much again than a number of those whose parents have lowest education (among the youths – 32.4 and 20.0% correspondingly; among the girls – 36.8 and 23.1%). Studies with the coach are also used more often by children from families of highly educated parents.


Thus, the investigation under discussion enables one to conclude that the type of a family that was determined by the level of education of the parents can to some degree impact the education – choice strategy of the youth. This impact is more obvious for girls.

The youth whose parents have much higher level of education are mainly orientated at the higher education with the diploma of master than bachelor or that of a specialist. They almost do not plan studies at educational institutions of primary professional training. Secondary specialized education is chiefly chosen by children from families where parents have low level of education.

Girls from families where parents have good higher education almost do not plan to study at evening or tuition by correspondence departments. We can say that the parents’ education appears to be a kind of socially differentiating factor.

It should be noted that personal plans of school graduates of the Novosibirsk Territory show that their understanding of the significance of higher education has been continuously growing for recent two decades (76.7% – in 1994; 81.1% – in 1998; 91% – in 2014), on the contrary, the value of secondary specialized education has been decreasing (17.5% – 1994: 15.2% – 1998; 5.5% – 2014) (Konstantinovsky, 2008, p. 153; New Meanings, 2015).

Our analysis of value orientations attitudes concerning education – choice strategies shows that all school graduates consider attaining further education first of all as a possibility of their further professional development.

Children from families where parents have a high level of education consider that their studies are significant for them for enlarging their social contacts, they assess their future occupation from the standpoint of its prestige in the society, its being in demand both in Russia and abroad, a possibility to become independent and even to attain some power.

As to the youth whose parents have much lower education they consider obtaining the diploma to be a guarantee of employment and a possibility of having in-come. The differences in perceiving the value of attaining education are in effect conditioned by youths’ different personal life attitudes that are formed including parents who have got different levels of education. Children whose parents have got much higher level of education estimate a qualitative education and interesting job as more significant for them. As the level of parents’ education decreases, the children’s value orientation at achieving a financial well-being increases.

The revealed correlation between parents’ education and youth’s education strategy as well as the value of education and profession, that they are forming, allow to ground elaboration of the prognoses of education plans for future generations. It is not a remote future when the present time learning youth will translate their idea of education value for the rising generation of Russian youth.

In this connection the elaboration of not only prognoses on the basis of revealed regularities but also a preliminary analysis of possible variants of the development of Russian society will enable one to develop and bring into action enlightenment programs that will allow not only to raise the value of education but also to impact the quality of professional training and activities of Russian citizens.



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