Educational Experiences, Family Relationships and Sense of Belonging: Cross-border Primary School Children Commuters

Project: Research project

Project Details


In recent years, there has been a high increase in school children commuting from Shenzhen to Hong Kong (HK) for schooling. These children with the right of abode in HK are residing in the Mainland but studying in HK. In the past, due to the quota restrictions of the one-way permit scheme (OWP), cross-border school children have mainly come from families dispersed across the border where the capacity for family members to care for them has been restricted. Recently, there has been more diversity in the family configuration and socio-economic background of cross-border students, including reunited families of OWP applicants in the mainland, HK born children to mainland Chinese parents, and the once HK resident families who have moved to Shenzhen because of costs of living or job opportunities. Cross-border school children come from a diversity of family configurations; however this complexity and the impact of border crossing on schooling and familial experience are under researched. While choices are deliberately made by parents, children in reality are the ones who become the main bearers of these decisions. Not only do they have to travel alone across the border, some also have to endure the absence of parent(s) which directly impacts on the parent-child relationships. Moreover, these children may also encounter social exclusion at school because of their cultural differences. All these factors impact significantly on their educational experiences, negotiation of home and belonging, and familial relationships. While cross-border children encounter vastly different issues from their parents, their experiences, especially those of primary school children, have largely been under-researched in the existing studies. We argue that cross-border school children need to be examined separately as a distinct group in order to fully comprehend the complexity and diversity of their experience. This study will examine the many realities and challenges faced by cross-border school children as they live their lives across the border of HK and Mainland China. The research will involve undertaking a questionnaire survey with 350 primary school children, individual in-depth interviews with children and their parents, and organizational in-depth interviews of key stakeholders.

Funding Source: HKSAR Govt - Others^
Effective start/end date01/01/1231/12/13


  • education
  • identity
  • children
  • family
  • cross-border


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