ERG SES D 03, Higher Education
According to Boudon (1974) and Bourdieu (1977), the growing industrialization and the democratic expansion of education systems in the second half of the 20th century – contrary to researchers’ expectations – did not lead to a significant diminution of educational inequalities in most European countries. In Hungary, a process of change started in the field of education at the beginning of the 1990’s, as a part of which the average level of educational attainment started to increase rapidly, participation in various forms of secondary education became almost universal, and the rate of higher education enrolment has expanded considerably (Ladányi 1998, Szemerszki 2009). In spite of the growing number of university study places, participation in higher education has remained socially selective in Hungary. To some extent, this can be explained with the theory of maximally maintained inequality (Raftery – Hout 1993), according to which, the chances of higher education admission of the children coming from less privileged social groups will only begin to grow, once the enrolment rate of students from higher social strata has statistically reached or approached 100%. However, even in the case of mass (or nearly universal) higher education admission, educational inequalities can still be reproduced in higher levels, for example in the system of higher education, when students gain admission to more or less prestigious universities and study programmes, take different study routes and have different career opportunities as a consequence (effectively maintained inequalities (Lucas 2001). The above-mentioned inequalities are present in most European higher education systems and also in Hungary, which makes examining the characteristics of transition from secondary school to higher education, the growing diversity of student populations and the differentiation of study routes and strategies more and more essential.
Prior research on this topic divided the study routes of higher education students into three clear stages: 1) from graduating from secondary school until entering higher education, 2) from entering higher education until graduating for the first time from higher education, 3) from graduating for the first time until the (possible) re-entering into higher education (Orr - Gwosć - Netz 2011). In this presentation we concentrate on the characteristics of the first stage in Hungarian higher education. We aim to reveal the types of transition from secondary school into higher education and we try to identify the main factors contributing to the reproduction of social inequalities in this stage. Our further goal is to examine the characteristics of a special focus group of students, the so-called delayed transition students, who enter higher education more than two years after graduating from secondary school and often take alternative qualification paths to higher education (Orr - Gwosć - Netz 2011). We aim to investigate to what extent the features of this group differ from that of the students who take a direct route to higher education. The research is to reveal whether the characteristics of the transition period influence students’ further study routes and opportunities. Does the timing of the transition and the type of transition route chosen by the students make any differences regarding their future educational career, and if yes, in which aspects are these differences present?
Garai, Orsolya – Kiss, László (2014): EUROSTUDENT V. Kutatási jelentés, Educatio Nonprofit Kft. http://www.felvi.hu/pub_bin/dload/eurostudent/eurostudent_kutatasi_jelentes2014.pdf (Date of last download: 18th December 2014.) Ladányi, Andor (1998): A felsőoktatás nemzetközi statisztikai összehasonlításban, Research Papers N. 214, Hungarian Institute for Educational Research, Budapest Lucas, S. R. (2001): Effectively Maintained Inequality: Education Transitions, Track Mobility and Social Background Effects, American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 106. No. 6, pp. 1642-1690. OECD (2014), Education at a Glance 2014: OECD Indicators, OECD Publishing. http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/eag-2014-en Orr, Dominic – Gwosć, Christoph, - Netz, Nicolai (2011): Social and Economic Conditions of Student Life in Europe, Synopsis of Indicators, Final Report, EUROSTUDENT IV 2008-2011, Bertelsmann Verlag GmbH & Co. KG, Bielefeld Raftery, A.E. – Hout, M. (1993): Maximally Maintained Inequality: Expansion, Reform and Opportunity in Irish Education, 1921-1975, Sociology of Education, Vol. 66. (January) pp. 41-62. Szemerszki, Marianna (2009): Az Eurostudent felmérés magyarországi kapcsolódásai, NFKK Füzetek 2. AULA Kiadó Budapest. pp. 42-70.
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