Szociológiai szemle

2018/4. szám
János Zolnay
The paper is written to foster understanding of the function of primary school pupils’ highcommuting rate in Hungary’s towns and cities and its role in the process of school choice. Based ontwo studies and on data collection covering all primary school pupils in the city of Pécs, I analyzed thepattern, direction and success rate of pupils’ efforts to find higher quality schools than their districtschools. The aim of the study was to unpack the “commuting games” of the primary schools. Resultsindicate that, in contrast to national trends, the commuting rate of low-status and Roma primary schoolpupils is also very high within the city. However, while most of the commuting pupils have managedto enrol in higher quality schools than the ones in the catchment area of their homes, the majority oflow-status and Roma commuters appear to be attending lower quality schools than those close to theirhomes, because prestigious schools informally deter them. My findings challenge the literature whichclaims that the selection mechanisms of public education are predominantly regulated by the mutualchoices of prestigious schools and high-status pupils. Schools and their local or central maintenenceagents are unable to control the processes against the background of a centralized system.
Kulcsszavak angol: educational segregation; selection; pupils’ commuting; spatial and educational inequalities