Local Determinants of Educational Inequalities: Example of Poland

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 11:45
Location: Hörsaal 47 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Anna BACZKO DOMBI, Institute of Sociology, University of Warsaw, Poland, Polish Academy of Sciences, Poland
Agata KOMENDANT-BRODOWSKA, University of Warsaw, Poland
Tomasz ZAJAC, Uniwersytet Warszawski, Poland
Education is a way to attain higher social positions. Unequal access to education is both a manifestation of social inequality and one of the reasons for maintaining them. In our paper we present the results of analyses on educational inequalities associated with place of residence, which can be observed in Poland. The presented results are derived from a nationwide panel survey “Determinants of Educational Decisions – Household Panel Study”, conducted in 2013 and 2014 in over 20 thousand households (almost 60 thousand people took part in the study).

We will discuss the diversity of learning opportunities for children aged up to 15 years depending on the type of place of residence. Then we will show how institutional conditions, i.e. the availability of educational institutions, influence the decisions taken at the individual level, e.g. the choice of a type of school or decisions concerning attending or not attending preschool. It turns out that the place of residence affects the range of options considered by the parents very strongly, and in fact, many people, especially in rural areas, do not have any choice at all. In other words, the characteristics of the place of residence not only determine if the parents of small or school-aged children have a choice, but these local factors also limit the range of available options. Other factors, such as financial and cultural capital of the parents, also affect the choices they make concerning their children’s education. In our presentation we want to analyse inequality in access to educational institutions and its effects in terms of specific educational decisions.