ISSN 2307-4264 (Print) ISSN 2712-9268 (Online)

Inequality in educational opportunities in the digital dimension

Background. The article examines the impact of distance education on the accessibility of educational services. The question of whether digitalisation increases the chances of obtaining a quality education or, conversely, exacerbates the problem of educational inequality in Russia is considered. Objective. To study the prevalence and height of economic and territorial barriers restricting access to education in the “new” digital realities, as well as the main factors determining the depth of educational inequality. Methods. The study was carried out from the standpoint of institutional and activity-based approaches to education based on sociological surveys conducted by the staff of the Institute of Sociology, Russian Academy of Sciences. In addition, an exploratory analysis of longitudinal study data on the economic situation and health of the population was carried out. Results. It was concluded that the economic barrier remains high and has an increasing effect of the accessibility of education considering the dynamics of the population income. In addition, the difference between the potentials of online infrastructure in large cities and rural areas does not contribute to overcoming the territorial barrier. Analysis of statistical data has shown that digitalisation of education (with appropriate and sustainable infrastructure) allows overcoming territorial and economic barriers, as well as reducing inequality of educational chances. However, this process is significantly influenced by the social and cultural capital of the family, serious specific barriers and the presence of human capital. Practical significance. The results of the study help to adjust the existing programmes of digitalisation of education (as well as to avoid mistakes when developing new ones), to increase the digital literacy of the population.

For citation:

Popova, E. S. (2022). Inequality in educational opportunities in the digital dimension. Vocational Education and Labour Market, 1, 55–67. https://doi.org/10.52944/PORT.2022.48.1.004