Family background, academic choices and projects of Brazilian and Chinese college students

Wivian Weller, Lucélia de Moraes Braga Bassalo, Chen Weidong


Despite of the differences between the BRICS countries, there are some similarities like the expansion of higher education in Brazil and China in the last decades. Both countries invested in educational policies and created new programs in science, technology, and innovation to promote the socio-economic development. This expansion was responsible for a change in the socioeconomic profile of students who entered universities in the 2000s. This article analyzes the family background of students considering the education level of their parents and discusses aspects related to the academic path of students and their projects after they attain their bachelor’s degree. The data originated from a survey conducted in 2012 by the China Youth and Children Research Center (CYCRC), the China Youth and Children Research Association (Cycra), the Brazilian Institute for Applied Economic Research (Ipea), and by the Brazilian Society of Sociology (SBS). There is not much literature available on the influence of the educational and family background on academic choices and projects for the future of students, on aspects that are taken into account at the time they choose their degree and respective profession. In this respect, this article aimed at filling this gap and raising issues for future studies and reflections. However, the analyses also showed limits that are characteristic of comparative research if we do not want to incur the risk of producing generalized statements and of strengthening stereotypes of a culture or social environment.

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