The Game of Success : Educational Strategies among Greek middle class parents in the education market of parapaedia

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Institutionen för pedagogik, didaktik och utbildningsstudier

Abstract: The selection process in tertiary education in Greece is characterized by a competitive and grade-oriented system that lays the foundations for the extensive use of private educational services. Family inclination towards private expenditure in education raises arguments for the conversion of public education into a private commodity. This thesis examines how a specific middle class group in an urban setting, the city of Larissa, deals with the system of private investments in upper secondary education. In particular, in the light of Bourdieusian concepts, this study attempts to analyse parental choice and strategies that families set in action for achieving educational success and the social advancement of their offspring, investigating also the role of education for middle class parents. 15 semi-structured interviews were carried out, delivering insightful narratives of parents who had experienced the national examination process. Interviews gave prominence to the unquestionable value of educational credentials for a successful educational and professional trajectory. For the accomplishment of quality education, parents deployed their cultural, economic, and social assets, which enabled them to be effective in the educational marketplace. Choice presented a complex task for parents, which presupposed an intensive devotion of time and energy. Accordingly, educational strategies started from the child’s early upbringing, being employed systematically at the upper secondary level of education. In fact, parental strategies appeared to be a “natural” process pertaining to responsible and caring parenthood. Parents took for granted that children should be satisfactorily equipped with valuable educational qualifications, which were seen as a necessity for a successful future, and an upward trajectory.

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