London Metropolitan University Research Institutes

Social antecedents of personal citizenship: examining factors influencing contemporary Polish 16-year-olds’ educational aspirations

Author(s) Lis-Kujawski, A. & Grabowski, A.  
Publisher London: CiCe  
Year 2014  
Editor P. Cunningham & N. Fretwell (eds.) Innovative Practice and Research Trends in Identity, Citizenship and Education  
Age group -  
Even though Poland has been a democratic country for over 20 years, Polish young people do not generally seem to be very involved in aspects of civic participation. Previous research (mainly American and British) has identified education as an important vehicle for shaping personal sense of citizenship. Therefore, in our study, we focused on educational aspirations characterising those young Poles who are at the end of their compulsory education period and about to make one of their first crucial life decisions: what to do next – continue the education or finish it now? We were particularly interested in what social factors affect the level of the 16-year-olds’ educational aspirations. Previous foreign research demonstrates that the most significant factors are: one’s parents’ educational level, family socio-economic status, and gender. Previous Polish studies, however, suggest that the relations between one’s parents’ education as well as family socio-economic status and educational aspirations might be negative. As for girls’ higher aspirations (as compared to boys’), Polish previous data appear to be congruent with the foreign ones. The present study was thus exploratory and aimed to verify how exactly the three factors affect Polish teenagers’ educational aspirations. The participants completed a questionnaire indicating: The level of their educational aspirations and what either parent’s education was. Their socio-economic status was operationalised as their residence place (a city vs. a village in the north-eastern part of Poland, as in that region these two places differ fundamentally where their inhabitants’ affluence level is concerned). The results, somewhat surprisingly, are in line with the American and British rather than the Polish previous data.

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