ERG SES C 09, Parallel Session C 09
The rationale for this research is doubtless the very selective character of the university education in Belgium. Various studies have shown (CIUF, 2000; De Meulemeester, 2001; Droesbeke, Hecquet and Wattelar, 2001) that, in the French Speaking Community of Belgium, students whose parents have got a university degree are more likely to access to University education. On the contrary, students from less privileged sociocultural background have a very restricted access to university. However, in Belgium, students have a huge level of freedom in their choice of university courses. They don’t have to face any selection at the entry of university. The restricted access of students coming from less privileged sociocultural background to university is not due to financial barriers. A recent comparative study undertaken in 13 industrialized countries reveals that the inscription fees are particularly low in the French Speaking Community (EPI, 2005). The issue of democratization of access to university education must be set in other words and by incorporating other parameters. By “other parameters”, we have to look at the former school career of the pupil. Secondary education in the French Speaking Community has two prominent features: use of different tracks and a strong rate of grade repetition. The school careers are made of successive orientations face to which each pupil must make choices. When they have to take a decision, the families use different strategies. The inequalities of school career must consequently be interpreted as the result of an interaction between social structures, educational structures and family strategies. From this point of view, the inequalities of access to higher education must be understood as the result of the selection process and of the full understanding of all the possibilities of education offered by attending higher education.
More specifically, within the framework of this research, we will study the impact of the motivational dynamics of the students ending secondary education on their choices of university. We use the expectancy-value model of Eccles and Wigfield (2002) and we try to see how these variables influence the choice to go to university or not. We try to answer this question: does the importance attached to the studies, as well as the self-efficacy, influence the choice of students at the end of secondary education? However, as stated above, the school careers and the socio-cultural origin are also influential factors in the comprehension of the choice mechanism. Thus we’ll also take these variables into consideration while trying to understand whether those have an influence on the motivation factors. We also would like to see whether the parents have an impact on the choice made by young people. How the representations of the parents (the importance that they confer on the university and how they estimate their child’s ability the capacity of to achieve university) influence the choice of higher education?
Commission « Politique sociale des étudiants » (2000). Conditions de vie des étudiants de l’enseignement supérieur en Communauté Wallonie-Bruxelles. Chiffres clés et chiffres phares. Belgique : Publications du C.I.U.F. De Meulemeester, L. (Septembre 2001). La démocratisation de l'enseignement universitaire : mythe ou réalité? Analyse de l’évolution de la composition sociale du public de première génération à l’UCL. Mémoire de sociologie, Promoteur : Jean-Emile Charlier, Université de Louvain-La-Neuve. Droesbeke, J.J., Hecquet, I., & Wattelar, C. (2001). La population étudiante. Description, évolution, perspectives. Bruxelles: Editions Ellipses. Educational Policy Institute (2005). Global Higher Education Rankings. Affordability and Accessibility in Comparative Perspective. Washington, Toronto : EPI. Wigfield, A., & Eccles, J. (dirs) (2002). Development of achievement motivation. San Diego : AcademicPress.
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