The role of Islam in influencing the perception on tertiary education of senior secondary Pakistani and Non-Pakistani Muslim girls in Hong Kong

Tayyaba BIBI

Research output: Other contributionHonours Project


The women literacy rate in the Muslim world is lowest globally and Pakistan is at the bottom of that list. In the Population By-census of 2011, upper secondary was the highest level of educational attainment of majority of the Pakistanis aged 15 and above. This paper investigates how senior secondary Pakistani and Non-Pakistani Muslim girls perceive ‘knowledge’; to what extent the religion of Islam influences their perception on tertiary education; and it identifies other factors influencing the participants’ decision of pursuing tertiary education. The QUAL-Quan model was adopted for data collection in this research. The target participants were senior secondary (S. 5 – 6) Pakistani and Non-Pakistani Muslim girls residing in Hong Kong. A qualitative study was conducted from 8 participants in the first phase to identify concepts and hypotheses, which were tested in the second phase by quantitative data collected from 20 participants. The results indicate that the Pakistani and Non-Pakistani Muslim girls perceive ‘knowledge’ differently with the former categorizing knowledge into worldly and religious knowledge, and see the pursuit of tertiary education as unnecessary or even non-religious, while the latter perceive knowledge holistically and state the pursuit of knowledge in general is crucial. This differentiated interpretation of knowledge is crucial to understand the influence Islam has on their perception on tertiary education. The results have also shown that apart from the Chinese language other factors that influence the participants’ decision of pursuing tertiary education, include cultural and financial factors. These results suggest that the local educational bodies and the Islamic educational centers (Madrassas) need to work together to grow awareness on the significance of female education; Madrassas also need to review their curriculum and pedagogies to minimize literal interpretation of the Quran; and the government should increase the budget of the education sector, especially for Ethnic Minority girls.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - May 2017


Hong Kong
educational institution
national minority


  • Honours Project (HP)
  • Bachelor of Education (Honours) (English Language) - Secondary (Five-year Full-time)
  • Programme code: A5B059
  • Course code: PFS4030