Empirical studies on university choice and access among under-represented racial/ethnic minorities have utilised the concept of school-based social capital (SBSC)–defined by Stanton-Salazar as key resources and support provided by institutional agents (i.e. teachers, counsellors and other staff). They primarily relied upon minority students’ perceptions. Few of them canvassed both staff and student understandings and experiences of SBSC and thus have not yet captured the nature of SBSC and its influence from both the supply and demand sides. This study interviewed 18 secondary school teachers and nine minority students of South/Southeast Asian ethnicity enrolled in a publicly-funded school of Hong Kong. Its findings shed light on the highly-valued school-based support and resources staff and students viewed as helpful in the university choice process. The findings also disclosed the challenges minority students expressed about being exposed to SBSC while living in the school community, characterised by an ethos of “treating everybody the same”. This in turn rationalised staff understanding of diversity and equity-based support as a transitional approach to mainstreaming/assimilating minority students. As a result, some staff members either withheld critical information on university admission requirements or were less responsive towards the needs of the most disadvantaged minority students, despite a presumable promise to envision university for all. This study calls for structural and institutional transformation so that both individual and collective efforts can empower the least advantaged and promote their university choice and access. Copyright © 2023 Educational Review.
CitationGao, F. (2023). Examining the role of institutional agents and school-based social capital in minority university choice and access. Educational Review. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1080/00131911.2023.2243394
- School-based social capital (SBSC)
- Institutional agents
- University choice and access
- Ethnic minority