What accounts for the underachievement of South Asians in Hong Kong? The voices of Pakistani and Nepalese parents

Linda TSUNG, Fang GAO

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: The research literature linking children's educational outcomes with levels of parental involvement has in many instances resulted in the location of disadvantage being placed on lack of parental involvement, something that has been the case with South Asian parents in Hong Kong (Au, K., Multicultural issues and literacy achievement, Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Association, 2006; Jeynes, W.H., A meta-analysis – The effects of parental involvement on minority children's academic achievement, Education and Urban Society 35: 202–218, 2003; Hau, K.T., Tracking the adaptation and development of non-Chinese speaking children (NCS) in mainstream schools, Retrieved from http://www.edb.gov.hk/FileManager/EN/Content_7065/exe_summary%20eng.pdf, 2008; Tsung, L., Zhang, Q., and Cruickshank, K., Access to majority language and educational outcomes: South Asian background students in postcolonial Hong Kong, Diaspora, Indigenous and Minority Education 4, 1–16, 2010).
Purpose: This small-scale research study examines the educational involvement of Pakistani and Nepalese parents, and explores the difficulties and challenges South Asians face to succeed in school.
Design and methods: In-depth interviews were conducted with 10 South Asian parents (five Nepalese parents and five Pakistani parents). Interviews were semi-structured and consisted of open-ended questions about parents’ educational aspirations, ability in tutoring children with homework, and arrangement of home-learning activities. Transcribed interviews were subjected to content and thematic analysis.
Results and discussion: The findings indicate that South Asian parents, despite high aspirations for the education of their children, feel that they lack the linguistic and cultural capital valued by the mainstream society in Hong Kong. This prevents effective involvement in the education of the children.
Conclusion: Understanding the perspectives of the parents offers insights into ways in which access to educational outcomes can be denied in school contexts. It is suggested that there needs to be a greater focus on how inclusion/exclusion operates in school contexts in Hong Kong. Copyright© 2012 NFER.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-63
JournalEducational Research
Volume54
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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Citation

Tsung, L., & Gao, F. (2012). What accounts for the underachievement of South Asians in Hong Kong? The voices of Pakistani and Nepalese parents. Educational Research, 54(1), 51-63. doi: 10.1080/00131881.2012.658199

Keywords

  • South Asian
  • Educational involvement
  • Cultural capital
  • Multiculturalism