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postgraduate thesis: Low-income South Asian parents' concept of 'making it' in Hong Kong

TitleLow-income South Asian parents' concept of 'making it' in Hong Kong
Authors
Advisors
Advisor(s):Postiglione, GA
Issue Date2012
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Sharma, A.. (2012). Low-income South Asian parents' concept of 'making it' in Hong Kong. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b4979937
AbstractThis thesis addresses academic underachievement by ethnic minorities, a persistent sociological problem, in the context of low-income South Asian students in Hong Kong. South Asians have deep roots in the history of Hong Kong; however lower income groups among them find few opportunities for upward social mobility. Students from this community attend ‘designated’ local public schools, which do not seem to offer them a challenging academic environment. Hence, these students generally show poorer levels of academic performance and higher levels of dropout rates compared to the majority Chinese students. Most of them also do not go to university and seem to make poor career choices. Existing research on this issue has explored the impact of factors such as limited school choices, segregation in designated schools, poor quality of education, Chinese language requirement, and stereotypes associated with the South Asian community, suggesting that the disadvantaged position of South Asian students is a consequence of their ‘non-Chinese status’ as it denies them the privileges enjoyed by the mainstream population. However, prior research has generally overlooked the role of South Asian parents in their children’s academic life. This thesis addresses this ‘research gap’ by exploring low-income South Asian parents’ understanding of the educational opportunities available in Hong Kong and their attitudes towards children’s education and future. A qualitative study within the social constructionist paradigm is used, to examine the ways in which low-income South Asian parents understand and respond to the education system in Hong Kong. Grounded theory approach is used to collect and interpret the data obtained from seventy one interviews with South Asian students, their parents, teachers and social workers. Using ‘constant comparative’ and ‘inductive’ methods, three sensitizing concepts are identified - ‘parental involvement’, ‘ethnic identity’ and ‘folk theory of making it’; and these are used as the theoretical foundation for the data analysis process. In addition, four conceptual categories are developed - ‘educational perspectives’, ‘limited support’, ‘beyond control’, and ‘ensuring future success’, which define the process of adaptation of the South Asian parents to the education system in Hong Kong. Data shows that the low socioeconomic status and strong ethnic identity of South Asian parents has a major impact on their educational expectations for their children and their adaptation pattern reflects ‘resistance’ against marginalization in the local education system. This study highlights the ‘instrumental’ view of education wherein South Asian parents do not conform to standard achivement ideology of Hong Kong society. Instead, they seem to withdraw from high academic expectations and upward social mobility, which further widens the existing social and economic gap between them and other groups, especially the majority Chinese group. In this process, their ethnic identity is reinforced with a focus on strong ties with their home countries; hence, most of them consider themselves only as ‘economic stakeholders’ in Hong Kong society. These findings emphasize the immediate need for the provision of quality education for ethnic minority groups and concerned attitude from the educators and citizenship education
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy
SubjectSouth Asian students - Education - China - Hong Kong.
Parents - China - Hong Kong - Attitudes.
Dept/ProgramEducation
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/181504

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.advisorPostiglione, GA-
dc.contributor.authorSharma, Alka.-
dc.date.accessioned2013-03-03T03:20:23Z-
dc.date.available2013-03-03T03:20:23Z-
dc.date.issued2012-
dc.identifier.citationSharma, A.. (2012). Low-income South Asian parents' concept of 'making it' in Hong Kong. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b4979937-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/181504-
dc.description.abstractThis thesis addresses academic underachievement by ethnic minorities, a persistent sociological problem, in the context of low-income South Asian students in Hong Kong. South Asians have deep roots in the history of Hong Kong; however lower income groups among them find few opportunities for upward social mobility. Students from this community attend ‘designated’ local public schools, which do not seem to offer them a challenging academic environment. Hence, these students generally show poorer levels of academic performance and higher levels of dropout rates compared to the majority Chinese students. Most of them also do not go to university and seem to make poor career choices. Existing research on this issue has explored the impact of factors such as limited school choices, segregation in designated schools, poor quality of education, Chinese language requirement, and stereotypes associated with the South Asian community, suggesting that the disadvantaged position of South Asian students is a consequence of their ‘non-Chinese status’ as it denies them the privileges enjoyed by the mainstream population. However, prior research has generally overlooked the role of South Asian parents in their children’s academic life. This thesis addresses this ‘research gap’ by exploring low-income South Asian parents’ understanding of the educational opportunities available in Hong Kong and their attitudes towards children’s education and future. A qualitative study within the social constructionist paradigm is used, to examine the ways in which low-income South Asian parents understand and respond to the education system in Hong Kong. Grounded theory approach is used to collect and interpret the data obtained from seventy one interviews with South Asian students, their parents, teachers and social workers. Using ‘constant comparative’ and ‘inductive’ methods, three sensitizing concepts are identified - ‘parental involvement’, ‘ethnic identity’ and ‘folk theory of making it’; and these are used as the theoretical foundation for the data analysis process. In addition, four conceptual categories are developed - ‘educational perspectives’, ‘limited support’, ‘beyond control’, and ‘ensuring future success’, which define the process of adaptation of the South Asian parents to the education system in Hong Kong. Data shows that the low socioeconomic status and strong ethnic identity of South Asian parents has a major impact on their educational expectations for their children and their adaptation pattern reflects ‘resistance’ against marginalization in the local education system. This study highlights the ‘instrumental’ view of education wherein South Asian parents do not conform to standard achivement ideology of Hong Kong society. Instead, they seem to withdraw from high academic expectations and upward social mobility, which further widens the existing social and economic gap between them and other groups, especially the majority Chinese group. In this process, their ethnic identity is reinforced with a focus on strong ties with their home countries; hence, most of them consider themselves only as ‘economic stakeholders’ in Hong Kong society. These findings emphasize the immediate need for the provision of quality education for ethnic minority groups and concerned attitude from the educators and citizenship education-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License-
dc.source.urihttp://hub.hku.hk/bib/B4979937X-
dc.subject.lcshSouth Asian students - Education - China - Hong Kong.-
dc.subject.lcshParents - China - Hong Kong - Attitudes.-
dc.titleLow-income South Asian parents' concept of 'making it' in Hong Kong-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.identifier.hkulb4979937-
dc.description.thesisnameDoctor of Philosophy-
dc.description.thesislevelDoctoral-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineEducation-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-
dc.identifier.doi10.5353/th_b4979937-
dc.date.hkucongregation2013-

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