Education Matters, but Who Can Attain It? Attitudes towards Education and Educational Attainment in Estonia

Kadri Täht, Marii Paškov


Education is one of the most important determinants of socio-economic success in modern societies, but educational inequality remains an important societal problem. The aim of this study was to look at public attitudes towards the value of education and views on the opportunities to access education in Estonia. Using data from the Estonian Social Equality and Inequality Study (2010), the findings of the current study suggested that education is highly valued in Estonia, but the public also tends to think that access to education is not equally available to everybody. Furthermore, we found that there is a social-status-based structure in the views of the value of education and access to education. Lower social status groups tend to value education as less important for success in life, and these lower social status groups are also more likely to think that chances to access higher education are not equal for everybody, but that wealth, gender, ethnicity and social status matter. Similarly, inequality of opportunity is also felt more strongly within the ethnic minority group, the non-Estonians, than it is amongst Estonians.


educational inequality; value of education; access to education; social status; Estonia.

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