International schooling and social stratification: Moving beyond national class structures

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers

Abstract

Worldwide, there has been a proliferation of international schools, defined as schools offering international curricula in a non-native language (most often English). International schooling is also changing as the greatest demand has come from a 'local' base of (upper-)middle-class families. This paper examines why affluent local families choose international schools, the educational advantages accumulated, and the implications for social stratification. As a framework, we apply positional conflict theory (e.g., Brown, 2000) to consider three rules of educational exclusion and inclusion: 'Market', Membership', and 'Meritocratic'. The context was the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. We conducted a multi-site case study of five international schools that serve local students, including 105 interviews with principals, teachers, parents, and students. The findings demonstrate how international schooling first remains exclusionary and second is distinctive in forming global identities and pathways. For 'Market' rules, access to international schooling is constrained by admission practices, high fees, and location. For 'Membership' rules, international schooling experiences focus on cultivating globalised identities, including aspirations, sensibilities, and worldviews. For 'Meritocratic' rules, international schooling provides a privileged position for global higher education. We argue that international schooling may (re)produce a Global Middle Class of cosmopolitan, credentialed, and mobile young people. However, they may face exclusion from their host societies in the context of geo-political tensions and emphasis on national identity. Overall, we discuss how the proliferation of international schools may create new forms of social class advantage for global futures separate from national class structures. Copyright © 2023 World Education Research Association.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2023
EventERAS International Conference and WERA Focal Meeting 2023 - National Institute of Education, Singapore
Duration: 22 Nov 202324 Nov 2023
https://weraonline.org/past-focal-meetings/

Conference

ConferenceERAS International Conference and WERA Focal Meeting 2023
Country/TerritorySingapore
Period22/11/2324/11/23
Internet address

Citation

Wright, E., & Tang, A. L. L. (2023, November 22–24). International schooling and social stratification: Moving beyond national class structures [Paper presentation]. ERAS International Conference and WERA Focal Meeting 2023, Singapore.

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