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The wider benefits of not-for-profit education for the disadvantaged in Hong Kong

Yun, Patrick 2014. The wider benefits of not-for-profit education for the disadvantaged in Hong Kong. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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Abstract

This thesis investigates the benefits of not-for-profit education for disadvantaged learners in Hong Kong. The economic success of Hong Kong is seen by many as a miracle of the 156 years’ British colonial governance. Hong Kong’s world-class education system, which combines British meritocratic education traditions and Chinese conventional philosophies on hard work and respect for examination high fliers, has led to rapid and sustained economic development. However, those who do not fit into the mainstream selective education system are damagingly marginalised. Not-for-profit education providers are increasingly being used to try to repair some of this damage, but their effectiveness is not known. Statistical data on, for example, student enrolment, completion and graduation, courses offered and subsidies spent, do not completely and comprehensively reflect the broad number of ways in which these courses may make a difference. Using the conceptual framework developed by the Centre for the Wider Benefits of Learning, this thesis draws on twenty-three in-depth life story interviews with four disadvantaged learner groups – young people who are ‘not in education, employment, or training (NEET)’, ‘economically marginalised’, ‘older adults’, and ‘new immigrants from mainland China’. The analysis of these interviews uses a learner’s capital and capability model and shows that different disadvantaged learners derive different kinds of benefits and capital gains from different not-for-profit education. Youth NEET perceived the highest gains in identity capital and economically marginalised learners reported the highest gains in human capital. Older adult disadvantaged learners perceived the highest gains in social capital and new immigrants from mainland China found human capital gains most important. Different disadvantaged learners also benefitted from different kinds and different levels of unexpected learning benefits which are seen as ‘surplus’ to their learning. Government subsidies and assistance through student loans and charity funding mean that not-for-profit courses are provided at lower cost than private provision. Moreover, since it is not government-provided, participants who have had a bad experience of government-provided compulsory education may feel they have a better chance of success with non-government courses. Not-for-profit education also tends to be able to offer more flexible provision which helps the disadvantaged learners who often have complex family and personal circumstances. The implications of this research suggest that more can be done to optimise the social benefits and utilities of not-for-profit education in Hong Kong. In particular, the newly developed qualifications framework should flexibly include and recognise the contribution of not-for-profit education for the disadvantaged. ‘Individual Learning Accounts’ might also promote citizens’ participation in lifelong and life-wide learning. Lastly, a new governing body, a Lifelong Learning Board, should be introduced to coordinate, administer and develop lifelong learning in Hong Kong.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 10 Oct 2017 16:16
URI: http://orca.cardiff.ac.uk/id/eprint/70903

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