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Human capital and the problem of inequalities in modernizing education

Research Article

Grigory A. Kliucharev, Doctor of Philosophy, Professor, main researcher, ,
mailto: Kliucharev@mail.ru
Human capital and the problem of inequalities in modernizing education.
Vestnik instituta sotziologii. 2011. Vol. 2. No. 2. P. 88-105

This Article is downloaded: 838 times
Topic: Topic of the Issue: The human capital of the Russian modernization

For citation:
Kliucharev G. A. Human capital and the problem of inequalities in modernizing education. Vestnik instituta sotziologii. 2011. Vol. 2. No. 2. P. 88-105


Reproduction and accumulation of human capital is one of the most important components for success of modernization. The education system produces basic modernization resources, including human capital in the form of knowledge, skills, technologies, competencies, etc. At the same time, inequalities are formed in the sphere of education, and the problem of education availability for country citizens becomes one of the most urgent problems of modernization of Russian society. This article shows what determines educational inequalities and how they are formed, what is their positive and negative role in social and economic transformations of modern Russian society. In Russia today, there are two educational systems in parallel: for the educated and well-to-do (mostly urban) residents and for the undereducated and poor (mostly rural) families. Three types of modern educational institutions are distinguished: elite gymnasiums, lyceums and special schools, schools with partially paid services or individual privileges in education, mass general education schools that provide a minimum educational standard. There developed an inequality in access to vocational education, primarily higher education. Its availability is based on a number of factors, among which are the incomes of the parent family, the parents’ human capital, the place of residence’s level of urbanization, the progress and quality of the potential student’s school preparation, the “right connections” available to him/her. Insecurity and poverty are concentrated today not so much in undereducated strata as in small towns and villages, with their stagnant poverty, narrow and depressed labor market, compelling to accept the job and the salary offered, where the developed human capital (even in the case, if it is present) is not in demand yet on a mass scale. The problem of the discrepancy between the education provided and the market needs is analyzed. The conclusion is made that there are two differently directed tendencies: the increase in the volume of human capital obtained within the framework of the basic formal education system and the decrease in the proportion of the population taking to real actions to update it in the course of additional, informal or informational education.


modernization, human capital, education inequalities, quality assurance, access to education.


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