کلاس، محرومیت اجتماعی و آموزش حسابداری در مدارس اسکاتلند: مفاهیم برای بازتولید حرفه و عمل حسابداری
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|10372||2010||20 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Critical Perspectives on Accounting, Volume 21, Issue 1, January 2010, Pages 31–50
This paper investigates the links between class, deprivation and subject choice in the area of business studies, including Accounting and Economics, in Scottish secondary schools. Given the paucity of prior research, this study is necessarily exploratory but its findings will provide a basis for future research in Scotland and elsewhere. First, the literature on the link between deprivation and education is reviewed. Pierre Bourdieu's conceptualisiation of habitus, field and capital are introduced and provide the theoretical framework for the ensuing discussion. Second, the implications for accounting education at both school and university, and for the accountancy profession are examined. Third, the results of interviews, analysis of statistical data provided by the Scottish Government and the Scottish Qualifications Authority and two questionnaire surveys, one of Heads of Departments of Scottish secondary schools and the other of first year accounting students at Scottish universities, are reported in order to explore whether there are any indications of links between class, deprivation and subject choice in the area of business studies in Scottish schools. Finally, the implications of the research findings are discussed and conclusions offered.
In January 2009, the UK Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, established a commission, chaired by Alan Milburn, to investigate social mobility within the professions in the UK. Despite educational changes designed to encourage more pupils to remain in school and study for qualifications, and the widening of participation in further and higher education, concern continued that educational inequalities persisted, with the professions in particular continuing to be dominated by the upper and middle classes (Oliver and Grimston, 2009). In the UK, the majority of people at the top of leading professions/occupations such as the law, medicine, universities, politics, journalism and business have been educated at independent, fee-paying schools (Sutton Trust, 2009a). Schooling is an important factor in future career prospects given that there is clear evidence from Scotland that factors such as social class, parental education and occupation, type and geographical location of school and gender all exert a strong influence on educational attainment at school (Croxford, 2009). Thus there appears to be a relationship between the professions, social class and schooling. Jacobs (2003) explored issues relating to class reproduction in professional recruitment in the UK, with a particular emphasis on Scotland. His paper considered class, distinction and education. He focused on an analysis of application forms for the recruitment of chartered accountancy trainees and hence was able to show the potential for class distinction in the accountancy recruitment process. However, his empirical work did not explore whether class distinction actually occurred. Nonetheless, his paper implies that class distinction is possible and that this emanates from a much earlier stage than university, having its roots in the family and social class. There has been no study exploring the relationship between class and the school system, and its influence on the accountancy profession in Scotland. This paper aims to address this issue in two ways. It investigates the links between class and subject choice in the area of business studies, Accounting and Economics in Scottish secondary schools. Drawing on this, it explores the associated implications for university education in accounting and for the cultural reproduction of the accountancy profession. Given the paucity of prior research on accounting and business education in schools, this paper is necessarily exploratory but its findings will provide a basis for future research in Scotland and elsewhere. In order to achieve its aim, this paper is structured as follows. First, the literature on the link between class and the accountancy profession is reviewed. This is followed by examination of the links between class and the accountancy profession, on the one hand, and the school system on the other. Following Jacobs (2003), Pierre Bourdieu's work which conceptualises habitus, field and capital, will provide a theoretical framework for the ensuing discussion. Second, the implications for accounting education at both school and university, and for the accountancy profession are examined. In this way, insight is gained into aspects of the habitus of pupils and students at a stage before they are recruited to a chartered accountancy traineeship. Third, the results of interviews, analysis of statistical data provided by the Scottish Government and the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) and two questionnaire surveys, one of Heads of Departments of Scottish secondary schools and the other of first year accounting students at Scottish universities, are reported in order to explore whether there are any indications of links between class and subject choice in the area of business studies in Scottish schools. Finally, the implications of the research findings for accounting education and the accountancy profession are discussed and conclusions offered.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
This paper aimed to investigate the links between class, deprivation and subject choice in the area of business education in Scottish secondary schools. While educational opportunity and attainment are functions of many factors (Archer and Francis, 2006) social class is considered to be an important and persistently good explanatory variable (Harris and Ranson, 2005, Lucey and Reay, 2002 and McPherson et al., 1982). The effects of deprivation on schooling are deep and generally accepted. Children from more deprived backgrounds tend to perform less well at school, to leave school at an earlier age, and to be less likely to go to university. These findings from the literature were confirmed by our analysis of statistical data provided by the Scottish Government and the SQA. Applying Bourdieu's concepts of habitus, field and capital to the field of business education in Scottish schools suggests that the reproduction of capital is a function of the interplay between social, economic and cultural capital, with ideas and attitudes being ingrained and difficult to overturn. While the current study does not explore all aspects of habitus and capital, our analysis has shown that pupils in the most deprived schools do tend to be offered different choices of subjects to study, for different reasons. Administration is the most likely subject to be studied, with the opportunity to study Economics being largely denied to such pupils. Although Accounting is offered in schools across all deprivation groups, it is less commonly offered than Administration and Business Management, largely as a result of the increasing popularity of the latter. While comments from respondents provided some positive reasons for this trend, in terms of providing a less specialised and therefore more broadly appealing subject, comments also suggested some unease. Teachers clearly felt that Accounting and Economics were perceived as hard subjects and they noted a trend towards pupils taking subjects that appeared to be easier or which seemed to lead to better grades of pass. This can be variously interpreted depending upon the social composition of schools. For pupils in areas with high levels of deprivation, the concern of teachers is to get pupils to achieve some, even if limited, level of exam success in order to improve life chances. In less deprived schools and the independent sector, the desire to equip pupils for university is a major driver. It was noted that, while pupils across the range of schools were equally likely to be offered the opportunity to study Accounting, there was a noticeable tendency for pupils in the less deprived schools to take the subject at Higher grade, the level on which university offers are based. It was also noted that the rhetoric of management was evident in schools, with subject choices being driven by demand and management strategies, but that less deprived state schools and independent schools appeared to have greater flexibility in subject offerings. There was also some evidence that these schools were more mindful of the views of parents. These findings do not, in isolation, point conclusively to the effect of habitus and capital. However, when taken together, they provide some evidence of differential attitudes and policies influenced by pupils, parents, teachers, school management and local authorities which reflect the habitus and capital of their catchment area. This in turn helps to shape cultural reproduction by restricting or offering choices that have the potential to affect opportunities and reinforce class divides. Future research could explore these aspects of habitus and capital more fully. Further insight into the cultural capital of pupils and students could be examined via interviews or focus groups investigating aspects of their upbringing, values, educational and social activities. This paper has also focused on only one aspect of the making of a professional accountant, namely the relationship between accounting at school and subsequent university study. Thus, nothing can be extrapolated about future career success in the accountancy profession because that depends upon the recruitment of students to chartered accountancy traineeships and the factors that are then crucial to professional examination and career success. It may be, for example, that some of the best school and university students in accounting might choose not to progress to an accountancy career or may not get the opportunity to do so if they fail to be recruited for a chartered accountancy traineeship. Therefore, a different research method such as a longitudinal study from school to a chartered accountancy traineeship and beyond would be needed to explore aspects such as habitus and capital more fully. Despite these limitations, the findings reported in this paper do point to a linkage between the accountancy profession, class and the school system. Around half of Scottish university students of accounting have studied Higher grade Accounting at school and around 40% have studied the more generalist Business Management higher course, though prior study of Economics is not the norm. Therefore, a sizeable number of students first experience accounting or general business subjects at school. This research project did not explore whether students study accounting at university because of prior exposure to the subject at school but clearly attitudes to a subject can be influenced by prior experience. If pupils are denied the opportunity to study accounting due either to perceptions about its difficulty or relevance, or if they perceive that certain subjects are not routinely taken by individuals from a particular socio-cultural background, then this will colour impressions of the discipline, the composition of the profession and the cultural reproduction of accounting practice. The research literature is agreed that pupils from professional backgrounds are more likely to go to university and become professionals themselves. For these pupils, regardless of whether prior study of subjects such as Accounting and Economics has an impact on educational performance at university, the question remains as to whether the content of the school accounting curriculum serves to re-enforce property rights and class interests. For pupils from different socio-cultural groups, the reduction in the opportunity to study subjects at school may not only serve to deny them access to particular career prospects, but also access to a discipline that they may in the end be disciplined by. In short, if Accounting and Economics are likely to be taken by pupils in the more elite schools, with pupils in the remaining schools being more likely to study Administration and Business Management, then expectations begin to be tailored at school. Although the social make-up of the accountancy profession has not been extensively researched, the literature suggests that ICAS is largely comprised of graduates, itself an indicator of social class, whose propensity to secure a training contract may also be influenced by a variety of factors, including schooling, higher education, personal qualities and leisure pursuits that are indicative of middle or upper class leanings. Business education in schools has been shown to play its part in the maintenance of class distinctions within the profession given that Economics is rarely offered in schools in the more deprived areas and Accounting, though offered, is more likely to be studied at the higher levels in the least deprived schools. Given the lack of prior research on the importance or otherwise of accounting education in primary and secondary schools and the social make-up of the profession, we cannot argue that policy in relation to the provision of business and accounting education in Scottish schools has a direct influence on the accounting profession or the reproduction of accounting practice. However, it is one aspect that forms part of the making of a significant number of accountants and the fact that provision in schools is reflective of class biases therefore gives cause for concern. Professional accountancy bodies engage in the setting of professional examinations in order to confer a licence to practice and are now also engaged in ensuring that members continue to display competence to practice via CPD. They also show considerable interest in undergraduate education, via accreditation of university relevant degrees and the commissioning of research by their education and research departments. They have not shown any interest in accounting education at school, however, presumably because most people who study the subject at school will not join the profession. However, for a significant number of members, accounting education at school is the first, albeit non-compulsory, stage of the making of the professional accountant. How many potential members of the profession are lost because of a lack of opportunity to study relevant subjects at school is unknown but the indications are that there are some links between deprivation and subject choice at school which may impact upon impressions of, and recruitment to, the discipline. However, it is not only the accounting profession that has overlooked the way in which the discipline is introduced within the school curriculum. The construction of accounting, as well as broader notions of accountability, within primary and secondary schools has also proven to be a blind spot for critical accounting academics. In conclusion we therefore call for further critical research and engagement into accounting in schools and the policy agendas that are driving subject choice and curriculum content.