Since the mid-1980s,a number of East Asian societies have consistently performed well in international tests, and these ‘high performing’ education systems have emerged as models of ‘best practice’. Policy makers in England (as well as some other Western systems) have been keen to reference Hong Kong, Singapore, Shanghai and South Korea when developing and promoting their own reform agendas. Although Hong Kong has been extensively cited and praised by politicians and their advisers in England local dissatisfaction with the education system has prompted a series of major education reforms. This mismatch between the two policy communities in their perceptions of the strong features of Hong Kong education is explored in this paper using documentary analysis and semi-structured interviews with policymakers and other key stakeholders. We analyse the ways in which features of Hong Kong’s education system are reconstructed, used, and manipulated in policymaking in England. We argues that the referencing of Hong Kong is an act of political theatre, reminiscent of a pantomime, a traditional performance built around stereotyped villains and heroes, narratives of good conquering evil, and comical set-pieces that sometimes verge on the farcical.
|Publication status||Published - Jun 2016|