Forbes Education: MCU’s research on family education

Moscow City University conducted a study on family education (FE) and found that 85% of parents whose children are home-schooled have a higher education, and 22% of them have two or more higher educations or an academic degree.

The same number of parents surveyed – 22% each – are professionally connected with education and science or the service sector, 12% work in the field of culture and art, and 35% are entrepreneurs. Elena Petryaeva, Head of the Centre for Analytical Research and Modelling in Education at MCU Research Institute of Urban Studies and Global Education, PhD in Pedagogy, said:

38 % of respondents spend from 10,000 to 20,000 roubles per month on family education (in public schools – 25 %), 50,000 roubles and more are allocated by 6 % of parents (in public schools – 4 %). These data may indicate that family education is often the choice of families with a higher socio-economic status.

MCU experts emphasise:

Family education is a conscious choice of parents, education outside an educational organisation. Family education is not to be confused with home education, which is a forced measure. It is implemented when a child cannot go to school for medical reasons and is studying full-time or part-time.

Only 10 % of Russian parents are aware of the existence of family education, 32 % have heard something about it, and 57 % learned about it for the first time while participating in the survey. The key reason for switching to family education, 53% of respondents said, was dissatisfaction with the quality of school education. Another 47 % of respondents mentioned bad atmosphere and bullying in class, and 39 % said that moving to a new place of living was an important factor. 53% referred to the peculiarities of the child’s character and personality. For 25%, the specifics of parents’ work played a role.

Among the main advantages of family education respondents mentioned a flexible schedule, learning at one’s own pace (81%), the possibility to provide additional classes more easily (75%), safety (74%), and increased share of free time (70%).

It is worth noting that certification and obtaining an official education document are available. Children can take tests and examinations in different formats and in different organisations – general education or online schools, as well as in private educational centres. In the MCU study, 62 % of parents noted that their children are assessed at school.

A part of families after a certain period of FE decide to return to school. This fact shows that family education is by no means always considered as an alternative for all years of education, but often serves as a temporary solution at a certain stage, the authors of the study explain.

The 2020-2021 pandemic, which forced schools to switch to distance learning, gave an impulse to the development of family education in Russia, and digital technologies have not only expanded it but also qualitatively transformed it. Today, FE is not just “learning with mum at the desk”, but a system of services and tools that allows families to choose the optimal formats and methods of education for their child.

Parents have access to a large number of online educational materials – video lessons, courses, platforms. Family education methods have become more diverse.

The survey has shown that if the experience of “remote” education is evaluated positively by parents, it is more likely to expect a positive attitude toward the idea of family education.

Source: Forbes Education
Photo: MCU