Hong Kong’s “high performing education system”: An analysis of international and local stakeholder perspectives

Katherine FORESTIER, Robert Damian ADAMSON

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Hong Kong’s high ranking in the OECD’s PISA study and other international assessments has caught the interest of policy-makers internationally who are searching for policy models and classroom practices to learn from. This paper will investigate the nature and validity of the comparative international references made about education in Hong Kong and lessons that might be usefully learned from its experience. It will do this by exploring the outcomes of research that gathered views of stakeholders in Hong Kong, including policy-makers past and present, teachers, principals, academic experts, and parent and employer groups, along with the views of policy-makers, researchers and Chinese community leaders in UK. These perspectives shed light on the reasons – within and beyond the classroom - behind Hong Kong’s success, as well as on the strengths and limitations of schooling that may be misunderstood internationally, in particular in its perceived success in achieving the holy grail of quality and equity in education. Listening to local voices raises questions as to whether strengths in one system as identified by international agencies can be used by policy-makers elsewhere to guide or justify reforms when they are not familiar with the local context and its nuances. The paper draws on work for the research project ‘Hong Kong as a Source for Education Policy in England: Rhetoric and Reality’, funded by The UK Economic and Social Research Council/Research Grants Council, Hong Kong, Joint Research Scheme.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2015



Forestier, K., & Adamson, B. (2015, February). Hong Kong’s “high performing education system”: An analysis of international and local stakeholder perspectives. Paper presented at the Comparative Education Society of Hong Kong (CESHK) Annual Conference 2015: Developing scholarship in comparative education, The University of Hong Kong, China.