How Home Environment Shapes Aspirations for Higher Education More Than Schools Do

Have you ever stopped to wonder what fuels a child’s aspirations for higher education? Is it their school, parents, or personal interests? A new study brings a fresh perspective, suggesting that the elementary school a child attends holds almost no sway over their ambitions to pursue higher education. Instead, aspects like parental aspirations, mother’s academic support, and even having a desk to work on seem to carry far more weight. Intriguing, isn’t it? Let’s delve into this a bit more!

Breaking Down the Influence of Schools on Educational Aspirations

If you’ve always assumed that a child’s school plays a pivotal role in shaping their higher education ambitions, this study might make you think again. It turns out that factors such as school size, class size, the school’s grade point average, or even the property prices in the school’s vicinity have little bearing on a student’s desire to continue to higher education.

So, if it’s not the school environment driving these aspirations, then what is it?

The Real Influencers – Parents and Home Environment

The study, conducted in Croatia, provides some fascinating insights. The researchers questioned over 1,000 elementary school students aged 14-15 about their future educational plans, as well as aspects of their home life and parental support.

The results were eye-opening. Factors related to parents and home life played a significant role in students’ aspirations. So if you’re a parent, know that your aspirations for your child, the academic support you provide, and even the provision of a desk for your child to work on can influence their higher education goals.

Unpacking the Role of Gender and Academic Performance

Here’s another interesting takeaway from the study – gender matters. Girls were more likely than boys to express a desire to pursue higher education. This discovery is an important reminder that gender dynamics can shape educational aspirations, and it’s crucial to support and encourage all children, regardless of their gender, to dream big and reach for their goals.

But there’s one factor that tops them all – academic grades. Yes, you read that right! A student’s performance at school emerged as the strongest predictor of their desire to continue to higher education. Additionally, students who enjoyed their school life were more likely to express interest in higher education.

The Power of Parents and Positive School Experiences

From the findings of this study, a clear picture emerges. School-level factors, contrary to what many might believe, contribute little to a student’s higher education aspirations. Instead, individual factors, particularly those related to home life and academic performance, hold the sway.

So, if you’re a parent, remember that your expectations and the learning environment you create at home can shape your child’s educational path. Your encouragement and academic support can spark their desire to pursue higher education.

If you’re an educator, the importance of a positive school experience cannot be overstated. Helping students enjoy learning and achieve good academic grades could pave the way for them to aspire for higher education.

Applying the Insights

While the study was conducted in Croatia, the researchers believe their findings could resonate with other similar educational systems. It’s an invitation for all of us – parents, educators, and policymakers – to rethink how we nurture the aspirations of our younger generation.

Paving the Way to Higher Education – It Takes a Village

To wrap up, this groundbreaking study drives home the point that when it comes to fostering higher education aspirations, the home environment and individual factors play a far more significant role than school-level variables.

In the grand scheme of things, encouraging a child to dream big and aspire to higher education requires more than just a good school. It takes supportive parents, a conducive home environment, a positive learning experience, and a child’s individual drive to learn and excel. It indeed takes a village to raise a child – and to raise a child’s aspirations.

Josip Šabić, Boris Jokić. Elementary school pupils’ aspirations for higher education: the role of status attainment, blocked opportunities and school context. Educational Studies, 2019; Link