The Persistent Legacy of the Fallen Empires. Assessing the Effects of Poland’s Historical Partitions on Contemporary Social Norms Regarding Education
This paper refers to the historical experience of Poland in order to demonstrate the importance of former institutions on present regional differences in the norms regarding education. Previous studies revealed significant discrepancies between the scholastic achievements of students in different regions in Poland, ones that correspond to the partition of the country by its three neighbours (Austria, Prussia, and Russia), lasting from the late 18th century to the close of WWI. In particular, students in the former Austrian partition perform better than their peers in the two other regions. In this study, a self-designed survey of parents is used to operationalize different kinds of norms regarding education. As it turns out, parents from the region formerly under Austrian rule show more trust in educational institutions, more belief in the formative role of schooling, and less conviction in the material returns from education. The results show that contemporary discussions on the geography of educational achievements need to take into account the broad cultural context of education.