Πέμπτη, 6 Σεπτεμβρίου 2007

The role of the family in the educational and professional choices of the Greek youth

Agni Viki and Efstratios Papanis

The realization of personal ambitions and desires of the young, their preferences and their interests, but also their values, seem to play an important part in their choice of profession. Often though, all these are decisively influenced by the family environment, as can be seen in researches of the 70’s and the 80’s (Melanitis 1966, Lampiri – Dimaki 1974, Nasiakou 1980, Tzani 1983, Mylonas 1981, Baslis 1983, Moustaka & Kasimati 1984, Gideon 1986, Malikiosi – Loizou1987).
The family environment is determined by many factors. Amongst those are: the social-financial position and the parent’s education, the mentality and the ideals, the size of the family, the children’s upbringing model, the parent’s professional model, their ambitions and desires for the children’s’ professional reinstatement, the parent’s philosophy about life, their attitude towards some professions or their prejudice against others, as well as their relationship between each other. All the above create “established” structures and guide the youth to a choice of profession that either directly or indirectly is imposed on him by the parents. Thus it is right when supported that the youth does not necessarily pursue the profession that he would pursue under free conditions of development and information (Sewell & Shah 1968, Pateras 1980, Panda 1988, Fouad 1994, Georgousis 1995).
The influence of the family environment is almost determinant, not only for the choice of a profession, but of the way of life that the individual will pursue, as it influences the emotional and mental development of the children, the motivations and the values that will guide their lives (Kostakos 1981, Kostaki 1988, Kasimati 1991, Liantas 1996). Thus influence is realized both consciously and unconsciously, as the child participates in the life of the family through which it obtains values, motivations and adopts roles and stereotypes. Consequently, the teenager who is called upon to make a choice of a profession carries with him information and habits which most probably were acquired through the family and which will influence his choices (Kondylaki 1981, Breakwell et. al. 1988, Giorgas et al 1991, Kandas & Chantzi 1991)

Super’s (1957) relevant remarks are characteristic who takes the matter further, stressing that the family, as a social, psychological and financial entity, plays an important part in the molding of the personal as well as the professional identity of an individual. The immense possibilities of the family to create a variety of activities, information and role models relating to professions, puts it in a position to significantly mould the professional preferences of an individual. Thus the family cultivates values, attitudes and behavior prototypes which influence the subsequent professional behavior of an individual and reacts on the configuration of his career.

The influence of the family environment is almost always determinant, not only for the choice of profession but also for the way of life the individual will follow, since
It has furthermore been supported that according to its structure and class character, the family (co-) decides the future course of a person at school, at work for the rest of his life.
According to this position, but also generally, the family represents a copy of society. Thus, as a medium of socialization, it conveys not only values but also general life standards to individuals and helps them develop corresponding abilities, despite the “apparent” autonomy in relation to the rest of society (Papaioannou, 1990).

Independently of their social – economic position and their level of education, parents exercise an important influence in their children’s choice of profession. Especially in the Greek reality, the influence of the family concerning the adolescence’s choice of profession is almost always a fact. Either indirectly and discreetly, or directly and imperatively, most Greek parents reveal the ambition that their children go on to university level studies, seeking professional and social reward and prestige (Kassiotakis, 1979, Kataki 1984, Panta 1988. Papas & Psacharopoulos, 1989).

In fact, sometimes the parent’s intervention takes the shape of strong pressure. The youngster is forced into following a profession that is forced upon him. Thus, in reality, those choosing the profession are the parents and not the children themselves. The professional goals that they themselves were unable to achieve are transferred to their children, as they see them as an extension of themselves to realize their unfulfilled professional dreams and plans. In fact, it has often been seen that the Greek family identifies its social climb and success with their children’s professional award (Vamvoukas 1982, Christomanos 1982, Tzani 1983, Frangoudaki 1985, Panta 1988).

In other countries however the family also plays a prominent part in the children’s choice of profession. A research of a specific direction and with restricted samples (mainly girls), in technical – professional schools of Budapest, shows that the students are influenced by others when deciding which profession they are going to study for. They stated specifically, that mostly they have been influenced by their parents, acquaintances, friends and relatives. To the question “why did you choose this profession?” many students gave answers as, “I was directed towards this job”, “it’s what my father wanted”, “my parents chose it for me” (Kakouros 1987).
Accordingly we find the results of an earlier study (1964-1965) by Lampiri – Dimaki (1974) at the University of Athens, where the majority of the students accepted that they did not decide on a higher education on their own, but that the part of their parents and specifically their father was determinant in their decision.
Kintis (1980) remarked that most Greek parents who do not have scientific professions, have the ambition to see their children become scientists. Their cause- motive being that they themselves did not have the opportunity of the riches of education.
In a research by Moustaka and Kasimati (1984) with topic “Ambitions and desires of parents, concerning the professional reinstatement of their children” only 5.33 % of the parents would let their children make decisions concerning their studies and professional reinstatement on their own. The rest did not give them the choice of the wishes they expressed, as they visualized the professional identities they would like their children to have.
This problem does not stop at the pressure cases. Many times parents have unrealistic expectations and demands concerning their children’s choices of studies and professions. Not only are the parents’ ambitions high but many times they do not coincide with the interests, tendencies and abilities of their children (Moustaka & Kasimati 1984, Dimitropoulos 1985. Frangoudaki 1985, Panda 1988. Tettari 1992).
According to Flouri (1980a) Greek parents have a tendency to exaggeration as far as their children’s qualifications and abilities are concerned, to overprotect them and thus create not only an unrealistic but an idealistic self-feeling that hardly corresponds with the true abilities of the teenager.
Filias (1980) supports that the Greek family gears their children towards higher education due to a hostile position towards any blue-collar work that has prevailed, which has resulted in the appearance of unemployment in the scientific field.
In a relevant survey, parents were asked whether their children should consider the unemployment factor when deciding on what profession they will pursue. 92% answered that they do not believe this factor important enough to influence the children in their choice of profession (Kandylaki & Vallianatou 1988). However it should be noted that this research concerns a very limited sample (in numbers and areas) on this subject.
But also in a research of Marjoribanks (1993) amongst ethnic groups in Australia, Greek parents, in a greater percentage than other ethnic groups of the research, advised their children to pursue a university education and expressed higher educational and professional ambitions. Similar results were found by Malikiosi (1974) who studied the preferences of the Greeks and the Americans. Greeks aged 17 – 77, as far as their general professional preferences were concerned, lean towards education and prefer professions as high school teachers and university professors. Americans lean towards professions like nurses, pastors etc, while both groups agreed that politicians and reporters are dynamic professions.
Flouri, Mantzanas, Spyridakis (1981) noticed an important influence of the family in the general decisions of primary school children. In particular, parents played a primary part in the configuration of positions and convictions concerning their children’s professional rehabilitation.
Furthermore, during an extensive research carried out in Cyprus (Christodoulides 1981), to establish the structure of the Cypriot family and the teenager’s position therein, it was ascertained that a) teenagers in matters like studies and choice of profession have the responsibility of the decision both they themselves as well as their parents (cooperation of parents – teenagers), b) approximately 7% of the parents declared that family disputes arose concerning their educational and professional choices and c) 86% of the parents expressed their desire of higher education for their children while the relevant percentage of students towards higher education was confined to 41 %.

The advice and the encouragement, but also the specific professional prototypes of the Greek parents, aim at directing their children to higher and highest education; there is discussion about a kind of “university-mania” of the parents, which is more intense and persistent in those of school students. The parents who do not invest in their children’s admittance into university are very few. Most of them actually invest above their means. They believe that if their children are admitted into university, they themselves rise socially and the whole family’s prestige is elevated (Dimitropoulos 1987 and 1994).
The conviction of the value of education is rooted deeply in our country and is combined with the essential psychological needs of the members of the family. The percentage of youths that admit that they will get their degree to please their parents and then will do what they want is remarkable (Kataki 1984).

Similar discoveries were made in groups of schoolchildren of Asian heritage (Pakistani, Indian, and Chinese) in Scotland and Great Britain. In particular, parents pressured their children to succeed professionally, something that is considered a reward for them, as a fulfillment of their social and ethical duty towards them. If the child is accepted at university, something that is an ambition of a lifetime, it means that the whole family has “succeeded” and that is a basis or a “source” of pride. In fact these pressures of the parents more specifically aim at their children being accepted in “secure” professions (Lightbody et al 1997, research of schoolchildren aged 13-17 and first year university students).
Chinese parents have the same point of view and encourage their children to prefer “secure” and high social level professions.
Similar discoveries were made however with native schoolchildren of Western societies. Erezm Borochov and Mannheis (1989) noticed that the attitude and the specific values that are molded by the young person, are based to a great extent on the ambitions the significant others have, in other words the family, the parents, the contemporaries etc, (K Gergen 1997, 138).
Penick and Jepsen (1992) noticed that the relationship within the family affects the children’s choice of profession. Here too the family seems to be an important factor in determining the youth’s professional identity.
Researches carried out by Argyle and Robinson (1962) and by Swift (1967) support that the parent’s interest in the higher education of their children is mainly due to their desire to see their children acquire everything they didn’t and less due to their appreciation of education itself as a prime commodity (Kontogiannopoulou – Polydoridi 1985).

In several researches discrimination is made of the parent’s influence of the children’s professional decisions. It is reported that the father’s influence concerning the professional preferences of teenagers is greater than the mother’s. In particular: Bell (1975) remarked that to the son the father was the most important role model of professional behavior and influenced his choice of profession.

Also in another case it is stressed that the father generally is the motive for the child’s choice of the profession of a teacher (Dimitriadou 1982).

In the above mentioned views it must be noted that that there are some opposite opinions, that the mother is the one who influences the children more than the father in their choice of profession. More analytically: Teenagers are influenced in their choice of profession by the mother’s desires and there is a strong relationship between these two variables. To a great extent children choose their profession according to their mother’s wishes, which play a more important part in the choice of profession than the father’s (Panda 1988).
Furthermore it seems that the traditional view of the mother’s profession determines a relevant style of traditional views of the interests of her children, something that probably does not exist between the father and the children’s interests. It is said that the mother’s profession may have a more important influence than the father’s and even that mothers generally have more influence over their children than fathers (Barak, Feldman, Noy 1991, in a sample of children, mothers and fathers).
In one of Marjoribanks (1989) research, in a sample of Anglo-Australians and Greeks, it was noted that the mothers’ ambitions and their support is in relevance with the children’s’/ teenagers’ ambitions for professional development, while the fathers’ support has no relation to their ambitions.
Orleans (1970) came to the conclusion that the maternal motivation resulted in the existence of interest in creative professions while the authoritarian form of parental discipline drove the children to seek a professional environment that offered security.
Finally, it is worth noting that some ascertainments regarding the emotional climate of the family in the choice of a profession (Marr 1965). In particular it is reported that individuals who make the right choice of profession early (before the age of 25) have better relationship with their father or guardian than those who have not made a choice.
Schmeck and Nguyen (1996) in the USA studied the way in which the family characteristics influence schoolchildren’s views on education and their preferences in methods of upbringing. It was noted that family environments are separated into 6 types: a) The family that give emphasis on effort and work b) the family that constantly gives directives c) the family that does not give directives but offers assistance d) families that offer assistance in directives e) families that offer motives for university education and f) the authoritarian family that demands general obedience of its orders. The basic conclusion was that the family that emphasizes work and generally effort raises its children in such a way that they are not particularly concerned with formalities and social projection. Families that don’t emphasize directing their children seem to achieve their developing “sufficiency” and self-appreciation as opposed to the families that direct their children who at the same time end up diminishing the feeling of security.

From all the above it is obvious that teenagers, at least in most cases, are influenced in their choice of profession by their close family environment. A variation between the findings of the various researches is that, in some cases, the father seems to play a special role and in others the mother. These findings can be investigated in connection with the part that is played by the level of education of each of the parents; perhaps a more analytical research at this point could define the reason more specifically. Generally however, parents seem to define several of their children’s axiological positions and consequently their professional choices, sometimes directly and other times indirectly.



2.2.2. The parent’s profession and the children’s choice of profession

As can be seen by the above mentioned, in general the children’s choice of profession is influenced to a certain degree by the parents but also generally by the climate of the family and the social position of the parents, Mainly the father’s profession is a important factor of influence in the child’s success at school as well as it’s choice of profession (Perrone 1965, Swift 1967, Lampiri-Dimaki 1974, Gizelis e.a. 1984, Psacharopoulos 1989, Malikiosi – Loizou 1987).
More analytically: It is maintained that the father’s profession first of all influences positively or negatively, the student’s performance at school. In fact, there is a parallel rise in the student’s average grades in various subjects with the rise of the scale of the father’s profession upwards. From an empirical research in an expanded sample of grade school students in the environment of Attica, it has been noted that the exceptional students belong to families in which the father holds a profession of a high level, whereas the less “good” students belong to families where the father is of a profession of low prestige (Perisinakis 1975).
In a research titled “The inequality of the Greek obligatory education: Success at school and social origin”, in children from primary school and junior high school it was noted that the children from higher social-economic levels yield more. Generally it was found that there is a positive relationship between school performance and the father’s profession and the level of the parent’s education (Papakonstantinou 1981).
Specific findings remark that that teacher’s children for instance choose teaching institutes and children whose father is a scientist, tend to choose almost only schools that lead to relevant areas. However in some cases the opposite is observed: Children whose fathers hold a non- scientific job tend to choose higher schools, a tendency that is interpreted as an effort towards upward social movement ( Dimitropoulos et al 1994).
The research of Jenson and Kirchner (1955), performed on a sample of 8000 families in the USA also refers to the relation between the father’s profession and the children’s choices and following was noted: a) in the case of half of the professions researches the children follow in their father’s profession and b) in the cases where they don’t ( this occurred mainly in low prestige professions), the children chose professions in an upward movement.
Discoveries of several researches claim that teenagers go for professions similar to their father’s or express professional preferences higher than the professional level of their father’s(Douglas et al. 1968, Kandas 1986, Argyle 1089. Georgousis. 1995).
C. Werts (1968) In a more expanded research (76.000 young Americans) while studying the son’s choice in regard to the father’s profession, came to the conclusion that in some categories of professions like medicine and scientific and social sciences, the son usually follows in his father’s footsteps professionally.

The above mentioned importance of the gender is supported by findings of other researches which show that the father’s profession has an important influence upon the son’s choice of professions and less upon the daughter’s choice of profession. In general, boys are encouraged to choose professions that are of higher or equal prestige as their father’s (Georgousis 1995, Bourdieu 1966).
Burlin (1976) noted that girls whose fathers were less educated, often chose professions of lower prestige or those that were considered more “female”.
From a research of a sufficient sample of senior high school children it was noted that 76% of the students chose professions equivalent to their fathers, when he holds a white collar profession and 76% chose an opposite profession when he was a blue collar (Bourboulas 1981).
Kintis (1980) reports on the unequal participation of the social groups in higher education. Examining the allocation of the students in branches according to the father’s profession, he noted that “the children of the upper and middle class in relevance, participated more in the so-called “privileged” branches, as medicine and the polytechnic cycle is considered in our country. On the other hand, chi9ldren from the non-privileged classes ( farmers, laborers, personal service employees) participated relevant in less privileged branches, i.e. pedagogic academies, political sciences, economic sciences and teaching schools” (134). Kintis came to the conclusion that the father’s profession plays a significant part in the success of the youngsters’ admittance in universities and is associated with the direction they choose. It is noted that the probabilities of a child’s entering university when the father is a university graduate are almost twice as high than those of a child whose father is a high-school graduate, 3.8 times higher than a primary school graduate and 42.5 times higher than a child’s whose father is illiterate.

These analytical remarks are in agreement with other general relevant reports. Children whose parents are in a manual profession are less probable to go on to studies in higher education (Panda 1988m Kassotakis 1988).
In another research which was confined to first year students of the Polytech of Crete (Drakopoulos 1998) we can see that there is an excessive representation in the student representation of children whose father is a university graduate. Thus the probability of a youngster studying at polytechnic schools is greater if the father is a university graduate than if the father is a primary school graduate.
The relevance of this representation however, in general, refers to the attendance at the exams for higher education, as the percentage of those coming form families where the father holds a high level profession is higher than the percentage of children from lower social classes (Tsimpoukis 1977, Aravanis 1991).

Other specialists point out some extremely fine aspects of the problem and specifically “Children for instance, of scientist parents will rarely choose a different profession than that of a scientist, whereas the child of a laborer, a farmer, may pursue a profession as his family’s or something else of a higher social value and prestige” (Liantas 1996, 32).
A research performed in the vicinity of Athens on senior high-school students revealed that 79% of the senior students had the ambition to succeed at university. However one year after their high-school graduation, only 32% had succeeded in the university examinations, The ambition was stronger amongst the children of executives than the children whose parents were laborers and technicians. The children of higher administrative and managerial executives had almost four times higher success rate at university entrance than the children of laborers and technicians. The laborer’s children managed to succeed mainly in Technical Educational Institutes. Approximately 10% ended up studying in free study centers. Those who decided to study abroad mainly came from parents who were free-lance professionals, businessmen or executives (Psacharopoulos 1989).
Trice (1991) performed a research on the first ambitions of some people (422 children aged 8-11) in comparison with their parents profession. The ambitions and desires that these people had in their childhood were in accordance to the father’s profession by 40%, while only 23% of the ambitions the persons had during puberty were in accordance with the father’s profession. This discovery reveals that the father’s influence on the children’s ambitions diminishes with age. It is interesting to note that amongst those whose first ambitions were in accordance with the father’s profession, 55% continued in this professional category, while amongst those whose first ambitions differed fro, their father’s profession, only 38% remained in the same professional category.
Also from the part mothers’ play there are some remarkable findings that reveal the following: The mother’s professional level and the type of work she performs plays an important part in the choice of profession of teenagers for their future in the work force. The mother’s profession influences the girls professional ambitions more that the boys” (Selkow 1984).
Etaugh (1974) came to the same conclusion finding that girls whose mothers worked had higher ambitions and choose less traditionally “female” professions than girls whose mothers don’t work.
In a research that O’Brian (1996) carried out amongst 17-18 year old students from various racial and national backgrounds, she found that girls who had successful professionally mothers aimed at high prestige professions which corresponded to their abilities, anticipating their future success.
Furthermore it is worth noting a research finding concerning the mother’s role in the success and generally in the professional direction of the children. Children whose mothers do not work show more probabilities of succeeding in entering university than those whose mothers work (Kassotakis 1988).

It is clear that there is an inequality as far as the children’s entering university is concerned which is in relevance with the parents’ and especially the father’s profession. Youngsters whose parents are better off financially and more educated, are represented in a higher percentage in the student population. Youngsters whose fathers hold free scientific jobs have more chances of studying at university than youngsters whose fathers are farmers or laborers. These deductions are obvious from researches the results of which have already been lined out and from other researches ( Kasimati 1980, Frangoudaki 1985, Pyrgiotakis 1986, Kontogiannopoulou – Polydoridi 1995).

From the above mentioned researches, which coincide in their basic points it is obvious that teenagers are influenced in their choice of profession by their parents, especially by their father’s profession. In cases though, where the parents’ profession is one of low social-financial level, children are encouraged to aim for high prestige professions, which will help them achieve a higher social position



2.2.3 Education and the cultural level of the parents


Another factor that has a steady relation with the youth’s decision of the choice of a profession seems to be the educational and cultural level of the parents. Both the cultural level, as well as the social recognition of the parents at their workplace is in a position to influence his choice in the profession he will pursue.
From an overall evaluation of basic research findings, one can come to the following conclusions: the cultural-educational level of the parents defines the extent of choices, the criteria of choices and the level of ambitions of the teenagers. As far as the extent of choices is concerned, it must be pointed out that teenagers whose parents are scientists will rarely choose a different profession than that of a scientist. As opposed to children whose parents are laborers, who will probably pursue a different profession than that of their parents, which will have greater social prestige. That means that they have a wider professional range of reference. In the matter of “choice criteria”, the youth can be encouraged to have motives for a better profession (higher income, acquisition of power in any form, etc) than that of the parents. Finally, concerning the level of ambition and achievement that the youth wishes to obtain, it is noted that he can be encouraged to such an extent that he can surpass his parents (Kalogyrou 1979).

Several researchers’ findings report that the cultural level of the parents and generally “their cultivation”, i.e. their relation with music, theater etc, has an effect on the teenager’s professional career and also on the development of the parents attitude towards their education and generally their upbringing (Lampiri – Dimaki 1974, Kosmidou 1986 and Kontogiannopoulou – Polydoridi 1995).
From the studies of the influence of the cultural level of the parents in the professional preferences of junior high school children, it was found that students whose parents had university education prefer professions with high cultural positions. This finding leads to the conclusion that the cultural foundations of the parents, as well as the cultural atmosphere of the home, play a part in the professional preferences of the teenagers (Moser 1952).
From the findings of the above Greek and foreign researches it is concluded that most of those who are studying at universities and especially for the “upper” professions come from families of a high cultural level. Disagreements appear amongst researchers concerning the different part played by the cultural level of each parent separately. It is worth mentioning some findings-opinions concerning this issue. In particular Human (1956) believes that the mother’s cultural level plays the most important part whereas Moser (1952) believes the father’s cultural level is more important.
In a research by Krippner (1963) it was noted that the professional preferences of the girls are in relation to the mother’s cultural level and profession. “Successful mothers have successful daughters” is stressed by Hoffmann (1973, in Georgousis 1995, 35). Thus it seems that in general what applies is that the ambitions that mothers with low education had for their children were lower than mothers with more education (Panda 1988).
In a research carried out by Mousourou (1984) covering mothers of pre-school age children, it was found that mothers have more ambitions for their sons since 37% of the mothers of the sample wanted their sons to become scientists. In fact, this ambition becomes even more intense when the mother is of low education and becomes less intense as the educational level rises; this relevance is reversed where the daughters are concerned.
In general, in relevance to the mother’s education, other researches also showed that this is a more important factor of influence in the educational – professional choices of the young and in their entrance into universities than the father’s education.
This ascertainment seems not to apply only to the western countries but also to the Eastern – Asian countries, Sarmad (1970) discovered that the educational level of the mother is a very important factor in the academic success and the professional ambitions of girls in senior high school in Iran.

From the above it is obvious that the cultural level of the parents and especially the father but also other factors in direct relation to their cultural level, as can be seen further on, influence the professional direction and determine the level of the children’s’ professional ambitions in almost all cases.



2.2.4. The social – financial level of the family


The social-financial environment that the person comes from seems to be associated with the youth’s decision in the choice of a profession ( Kostakos 1983, Kasimati 1986, Chourdaki 1995).

Various experiential researches revealed that children from financial and social developing families faced the procedure of choosing a profession and succeeding at university with more ease. Furthermore, they come to the conclusion that the financial and social foundation of the family generally influences the professional plans of the young (Falkowski & Falk 1983, Watson & Stead 1994).
It is maintained that the basic element for the entrance of a youngster into university is the educational level of the parents, which to a great extent determines the cultural level of the children, while the financial state of the family plays a smaller part. Children coming from families with different incomes, but with parents of the same educational level, show similar progress at school (Kassotakis 1988).

Many researchers, both Greek and foreign, note that the higher the social-financial level of the family is, the higher the children’s professional ambitions are ( Vigod 1972, Brousalis 1977, Dillard & Perrin 1980, Psacharopoulos & Kazamias 1985, Farmer 1985, Hannah & Kahn 1989, Vitsilakis & Soroniatis 1995). In fact Vigod stresses that one rarely comes across a teenager who strives to hold a profession lower in social prestige than that of his parents.
Other specialists point out that the social class from which the child comes determines the influences he will have as well as the criteria of choice and his decision concerning his profession (Miller 1978, Sakkas 1982, Tanakidis 1983, Frangoudaki 1985, Kontogiannopoulou - Polydoridi 1985, Kalogyrou 1986, Malikiosi - Loizou 1987).
In one of his researches Human (1956) found that the professional ambitions of teenager differ according to their social heritage. In other words, children who belong to higher social classes usually prefer professions that can satisfy their deeper personal interests. On the other hand, people who come from agricultural and laborious classes are interested in professions that can ensure better income and professional security.
In another research (Woodbury 1966, in Kidd et al. 1980) it can be seen that children that come from high social-economic classes prefer professions that have to do with management ( executive positions), while children from the middle class, preferred goals that had to do with their professional stability and their general work performance. Finally children of the lower class preferred professions that provided them with financial gains, security, variety and creativity in their profession. Hannah and Klein (1989) in one of their researches covering students from two senior high schools in Canada came to the conclusion that the girls coming from a high social level choose professions of a high social prestige and ones where usually men are dominant, more often than girls from a lower social level.
Relating family income to students’ aptitude, Kassotakis (1981) noted that as in relation to the cultural level, the higher the family income is, the higher the average performance is. Income however is in direct relationship with the level of education and the parents’ profession. The superiority in performance may be due to the higher cultural level and not due to the higher income. There are cases where the income is high, whereas the cultural level is relatively low. In this case, financial superiority sometimes plays a part in the better performance of the students. Possibly in the cases of wealthy parents, without a high cultural level, their money allows them to offer their children private lessons, books, travel and other means that give them what they could not offer them directly. It was furthermore noted that children coming from families of approximately the same family income, increases as the cultural level or the parents rises. This observation comes into contrast with previous positions of specialists of the Statistic Department, who claim that what alters the performance in the lessons and generally the professional plans of the young is the cultural level of the parents and not the financial ease. From researches mentioned above it can be seen that the cultural level may be a more important factor for the performance at school than the family income, without overlooking the role of the later.

In various researches the superiority of the effect of the one factor (parent’s cultural level) has been noted and in other cases the superiority of the other factor (high family income).
Betz and Fitzgerald (1987) claim that the education of the parents plays a more important part than the financial state where the girls choice of profession is concerned.
Salili !1979) in Iran noted that the social-economical foundation of the family is in relation to the professional ambitions of teenagers. He established that girls who went to “better” schools ( due to their social-economical position) showed higher professional ambitions in comparison with girls from less wealthy families.
Schiamberg and Chong - Hee Chin (1987) examined to what degree teenagers succeeded in their professional plans, despite the fact that they came from low-income families. The results revealed that the foundation of the family and their financial comfort had a great influence on the educational success and the professional goals of the young.

Vamvoukas (1982) in referring to the choice of the teaching profession notes that the lower the social-economical level of the family is, the sooner teenagers choose the profession of a teacher which is considered of a lower prestige. And vice-versa, the higher the social-economical position of the family, the more difficult and later the decision to become a teacher is. These conclusions have significant meaning when taking the relevantly extended expanse of the sample on this subject of this research into consideration.
Pyrgiotakis (1992) came to the same conclusion reporting that Greek teachers come from low social-economical levels, In particular, the profession of a teacher in Greece, works as a bridge of social accession for the lower social classes,, whereas for the children of scientists (doctors, lawyers, engineers) this profession shows a declining social movement as the position it takes in the hierarchical scale would be lower than their parents.

In other countries we also find interesting relevant conclusions. Specifically in Hungary and Yugoslavia the average grades the children of scientists receive tend to surpass the average grade level the children of laborers and farm hands have. It seems that the cultivated environment the family, most of the times, exerts a positive effect on the children’s education and furthermore that the educational systems of the world favor this environment. In general the opinion that has prevailed is that the mental environment influences the success at school more than the financial state (Tombaidis 1982).
Other researchers remark that: A low social position may boost underrated professional choices of teenagers by means of stereotypes, barriers and discriminations (Rojewski & Yang 1997).

It is worth noting that some of the remarks referring to the variations of the effects of the above mentioned factors. Factors like the gender and the nationality seem to diversify the matters even more.

According to Lent and his associates (1994), the social-economic position of the family, as well as the nationality, influence the professional ambitions of senior high school children their professional conduct and their stability in the profession.
Marjoribanks (1994) in Australia examined the relationship between nationality – gender – social class and the preferences of professions of students. The results showed that the above mentioned factors influence the expectations of the students as far as school and the profession the finally will pursue is concerned.
Cook and his associates (1996) in a confined sample of primary and junior high school student also examined the development of professional ambitions and expectations of teenagers in America in relation to their social-economic position. Approximately half of them were Afro-American students, who lived in poor areas and the other half were white European-Americans who lived in privileged areas. The research revealed that the professional ambitions of the teenagers were in relation to both the social class and the nationality. It is noted finally that the social foundation of the teenager reflects the social prestige of the profession he aims at.

The social – economic level of the family also has direct and indirect influence on the professional ambitions of the children of Israel. Thus boys of a high social-economic level are more optimistic about their opportunities and more sure of their abilities than the boys of families of a lower social-economic level. The social origin affects the educational-professional ambitions of students. In fact, the social class seems to influence the professional preferences of girls more than their mental abilities. On the other hand, boys are more influenced by their mental abilities and their performance at school than by their social standing (Danziger 1983).

The importance of the family’s social-economic level became obvious from researches performed with the criteria of the general social and professional prestige of various university studies and the social-economic level of the student’s origin. The percentage of the representation of the various categories of professions in university differs to a great extent. The children of higher social – professional classes is higher compared to the children of laborers and farmers, whose percentage is higher in schools with less social prestige, fewer professional perspectives and usually lower salaries (Papas 1989). Specifically, the vast majority of teachers, a profession of lower prestige than others, come from poor social levels (Tzani 1996).
An important relation between social-professional origin and the school has also been observed. There is an inequality in the chances of access to the various schools of university. In schools as medical, pharmaceutical, architecture and generally all the schools of the polytechnic there are more students that come from the upper social classes, whereas in schools as agronomy, theology, Panteios there are more students from lower social classes (Meimaris & Nikolakopoulos 1978).
It is worth noting the findings that refer to the youth’s studies in relationship with percentages and social levels. In particular , of the upper class over 2/3 of the youths are at university of the middle class ¼ and only 1/12 of the lower class. The German professor of psychology E. Weinert notes the following (Pyrgiotakis 1986, 154): “ Parents from lower social classes rarely ensure university studies for their children, even it they are of a high IQ. On the other hand parents of the upper class ensure their sons and daughters studies at university, even when they are not of especially high IQ.” Although during the past years the IQ is a debatable criterion, the above mentioned data have definitely a special meaning, the relevant notes are a lot.
It is reported that the lower the social origin of the students is, the worse their performance at school ad the less chances of continuing their education on a long term basis, even if their performance at school is relatively good (Kostakos 1983, Papakonstantinou 1981). This also seems to influence the teacher’s opinion, who present the general or technical direction according to his social class and not according to his performance ( Kostakos 1983).

Generally the conviction seems to prevail that better conditions for university education exist for children whose parents have a higher educational level and even more for children whose parents have financial ease and not for those who hold blue collar jobs (Kontogiannopoulou - Polydoridi 1985, Psacharopoulos - Kazamias 1985, Trilianos1988).

It is necessary to mention an opposed opinion to the above, that of Saltiel (1988), who examining the procedure of the choice of profession in the USA discovered the following: The most important factors that affect the choice of profession is the gender and the “significant others”, while the social-economic level has little influence on the the choice as has the profession of the parents. In this research the family environment does not seem particularly important.

In the researches mentioned, a lot of discoveries coincide. In particular: the various social and financial situation of the family definitely influences the professional preferences of the young to a great extent. These influences are in noticeable connection with the cultural level of the parents and the school performance of the children themselves. This seems to be the case not only in our country but in general, with few exceptions or variations.

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