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The educational expectations of South African youth

Archived Abstract of Former PSC Researcher

Beutel, Ann, and Kermyt G. Anderson. 2007. "The educational expectations of South African youth." Sociological Focus, 40(4): 348-369.

Educational expectations, and in particular the relationship between race/ethnicity and educational expectations, have been understudied in less developed countries. We use data from the Cape Area Panel Study (CAPS) to examine the educational expectations of black (African), coloured (mixed race), and white (European ancestry) youth in Cape Town, South Africa. The educational expectations of all three racial groups are high, although coloured youth are less likely than black and white youth to expect to complete postsecondary or postgraduate schooling. Supporting research on educational expectations in the U. S. and other more developed countries, our findings indicate that socioeconomic status and academic performance matter for educational expectations in South Africa, although their importance varies by racial group. In contrast to U.S. studies that have found effects of family composition for whites only, we found virtually no effects of family composition on the educational expectations of whites or non-whites. Taken together, our findings suggest possible similarities and differences across social contexts in the processes shaping the educational expectations of youth from disadvantaged groups.

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