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Vocational Guidance in Schools as a Factor of Social Stratification: New Practices in the Russian Education System

Research Article

Elena M. Kolesnikova Candidate of Sociology
Institute of Sociology of FCTAS RAS, Moscow, Russia
kolesnikova@mail.ru
ORCID ID=0000-0003-2174-2524
Vocational Guidance in Schools as a Factor of Social Stratification: New Practices in the Russian Education System.
Vestnik instituta sotziologii. 2023. Vol. 14. No. 3. P. 197-214

Дата поступления статьи: 03.11.2022
Topic: Problems of socialisation of Russian learners

For citation:
Kolesnikova E. M. Vocational Guidance in Schools as a Factor of Social Stratification: New Practices in the Russian Education System. Vestnik instituta sotziologii. 2023. Vol. 14. No. 3. P. 197-214
DOI: https://doi.org/10.19181/vis.2023.14.3.9. EDN: JKIEKC




Abstract

The world of work is undergoing changes, necessitating a new approach to guiding school students in their career choices by the government, society, and businesses. In recent years, numerous initiatives have been implemented to expand young people's exposure to various professions. However, there is still no clear nationwide plan for establishing partnerships between schools and representatives of the real economy in terms of vocational guidance. Today's youth require organised career guidance support because relying solely on the experience of parents and previous generations when choosing a profession is no longer sufficient. During the Soviet era, the state played a more significant role in ensuring the welfare and social protection of workers, while industrialisation provided universal career trajectories and clear guidelines on preferred professions and education. Today, individual human capital has become a crucial resource for social mobility and high-paying jobs, and the growth of the service sector and technological progress have elevated the demand for highly skilled labor rather than specific professions in certain economic sectors. The first part of the article focuses on reviewing important questions that need to be addressed when considering this issue. Is there a need for centralised efforts by society and the state to organise vocational guidance activities and assist teenagers in choosing a profession today? What is the transformation of the discourse on school vocational guidance in post-Soviet Russia? In the second part of the article, based on the results of a pilot study on the opinions of young men and women in Moscow, the embodiment of educational priorities in actual practice is analysed. The author concludes that the problem persists in the sense that school vocational guidance experiences are still unequal and strongly tied to pre-professional training, initially built on disparities in opportunities to explore professions, particularly in STEM fields.

Keywords

sociology of progress, sociology of professions, science education, schoolchildren, vocational orientation, professional choice, gender stereotypes

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