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postgraduate thesis: Learning to be urban - migrant students at a vocational secondary school in Beijing

TitleLearning to be urban - migrant students at a vocational secondary school in Beijing
Authors
Advisors
Advisor(s):Law, WWCheng, KM
Issue Date2017
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Qi, J. [祁霁]. (2017). Learning to be urban - migrant students at a vocational secondary school in Beijing. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR.
AbstractThe first decade of 21st century witnessed growing academic enthusiasm over education for migrant children in China. Recently, yesterday’s children have become today’s young adults. But little is known about their experiences between the compulsory education system and the labour market. Their life patterns and educational endeavours remain a mystery. This study, employing a qualitative and ethnographic approach and using six months of fieldwork at a vocational high school, is the true life stories of twelve migrant girls seeking a better future in Beijing. It contributes to the empirical investigation into both their everyday life and their prospects for learning to become urban. It is observed that migrant youngsters, spending their formative years in cities, have grown accustomed to the urban environment and the urban tempo. They are less attached to the land, more accustomed to urban lifestyle. Most importantly, they thirst for fulfilment. To find their foothold in cities, they place their hopes in vocational education. However, vocational education has downsides, such as its high fees and mediocre education quality. Due to various concerns, many students worked inside and outside campus, downplaying their studies, leaving them with poorly honed vocational skills. Still, vocational education deserves some recognition. Vocational education, as a soft option, offers them an arena to learn, extra time to mature, and a surrogate family. Most importantly, it brings students closer to the market. It is found that, to migrant students, perhaps education attainment is not as important as experience gathered working at the frontline. Joining the labour market earlier than their peers, they are rewarded with a richer experience, outshining unpractical book knowledge. Meanwhile, they are independent, diligent, resilient and resourceful. Pragmatism, a down-to-earth attitude, and a sharp market instinct are their other assets. They are also tactful, flexible and with impressive interpersonal skills. These strengths, acquired beyond the classroom, give them an upper hand in the future. Today, new dynamics of inclusion are arising in urban areas due to the rapid economic development. New opportunities will create openings for these migrant students to achieve the social, political and economic status previously denied them. Attending vocational schools is a compromise option, but to them, it is still essential. They arrive with few bargaining chips. It might seem regretful to see how hard society is pushing them to mature, depriving them of their innocence, exposing them to such a complicated social environment, and forcing them to act like employees, not teenage girls. However, this might not be so bad in the end, when seen in context. As ones overlooked in the wave of rapid economic development and social change, having a tough personality is a strength. The disjunctures they have gone through have forced them to keep growing stronger and sharpened their market instinct. Being competitive in the market and having a good urban job are ways to rid themselves of the stigmas of “alien,” “inferior” and “vulnerable.” Giving full play to their strengths, and they will have their moment.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy
SubjectChina - Beijing - Vocational education
China - Beijing - Children of migrant laborers - Educaiton
Dept/ProgramEducation
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/250792

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.advisorLaw, WW-
dc.contributor.advisorCheng, KM-
dc.contributor.authorQi, Ji-
dc.contributor.author祁霁-
dc.date.accessioned2018-01-26T01:59:33Z-
dc.date.available2018-01-26T01:59:33Z-
dc.date.issued2017-
dc.identifier.citationQi, J. [祁霁]. (2017). Learning to be urban - migrant students at a vocational secondary school in Beijing. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR.-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/250792-
dc.description.abstractThe first decade of 21st century witnessed growing academic enthusiasm over education for migrant children in China. Recently, yesterday’s children have become today’s young adults. But little is known about their experiences between the compulsory education system and the labour market. Their life patterns and educational endeavours remain a mystery. This study, employing a qualitative and ethnographic approach and using six months of fieldwork at a vocational high school, is the true life stories of twelve migrant girls seeking a better future in Beijing. It contributes to the empirical investigation into both their everyday life and their prospects for learning to become urban. It is observed that migrant youngsters, spending their formative years in cities, have grown accustomed to the urban environment and the urban tempo. They are less attached to the land, more accustomed to urban lifestyle. Most importantly, they thirst for fulfilment. To find their foothold in cities, they place their hopes in vocational education. However, vocational education has downsides, such as its high fees and mediocre education quality. Due to various concerns, many students worked inside and outside campus, downplaying their studies, leaving them with poorly honed vocational skills. Still, vocational education deserves some recognition. Vocational education, as a soft option, offers them an arena to learn, extra time to mature, and a surrogate family. Most importantly, it brings students closer to the market. It is found that, to migrant students, perhaps education attainment is not as important as experience gathered working at the frontline. Joining the labour market earlier than their peers, they are rewarded with a richer experience, outshining unpractical book knowledge. Meanwhile, they are independent, diligent, resilient and resourceful. Pragmatism, a down-to-earth attitude, and a sharp market instinct are their other assets. They are also tactful, flexible and with impressive interpersonal skills. These strengths, acquired beyond the classroom, give them an upper hand in the future. Today, new dynamics of inclusion are arising in urban areas due to the rapid economic development. New opportunities will create openings for these migrant students to achieve the social, political and economic status previously denied them. Attending vocational schools is a compromise option, but to them, it is still essential. They arrive with few bargaining chips. It might seem regretful to see how hard society is pushing them to mature, depriving them of their innocence, exposing them to such a complicated social environment, and forcing them to act like employees, not teenage girls. However, this might not be so bad in the end, when seen in context. As ones overlooked in the wave of rapid economic development and social change, having a tough personality is a strength. The disjunctures they have gone through have forced them to keep growing stronger and sharpened their market instinct. Being competitive in the market and having a good urban job are ways to rid themselves of the stigmas of “alien,” “inferior” and “vulnerable.” Giving full play to their strengths, and they will have their moment. -
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.rightsThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.-
dc.subject.lcshChina - Beijing - Vocational education-
dc.subject.lcshChina - Beijing - Children of migrant laborers - Educaiton-
dc.titleLearning to be urban - migrant students at a vocational secondary school in Beijing-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.description.thesisnameDoctor of Philosophy-
dc.description.thesislevelDoctoral-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineEducation-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-
dc.date.hkucongregation2017-
dc.identifier.mmsid991043979530103414-

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