Recent years have witnessed a rapid expansion of International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) schools in China’s international schooling sector. This process has been driven by a relaxation in regulations and a perception that the IBDP offers students a validated route to leading higher education institutions globally. However, access to IBDP schools in China remains restricted to a relatively elite subpopulation, defined by high socio economic status and non-Chinese nationality. Within this context, this paper explores how the emergence and growth of IBDP schools in China can be conceptualized from the perspective of “skyboxification”. This refers to a trend where in increasingly market-based societies people from different socio-economic backgrounds live increasingly in physical, cultural, and socioeconomic isolation (Sandel, 2012). To this end, four datasets are employed, namely 1) archival data on IBDP school fees across East Asia, 2) archival data on university destinations of IBDP graduates schooled in China, 3) interview data from five elite IBDP schools in China, and 4) survey data on the capacity of students across five countries to be “open-minded”. Implications of the findings for educational equity and civic life in China alongside the value of “skyboxification” as a conceptual tool for educational researchers are discussed.
|Publication status||Published - Nov 2014|