An Analysis of Views on the Purpose of Education Held by Hong Kong Parents Who Chose to Send Their Children to New Zealand Schools
Au, Hiu Ching
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In Hong Kong, many parents are dissatisfied with the current Hong Kong mainstream education (Leung, 2013; Ng, 2012). Every year, many Hong Kong parents send their children to study in overseas schools (Leung, 2013). This research explores the purpose of education from the views of Hong Kong parents who chose to take their children to school in New Zealand. It offers explanations for why Hong Kong parents seek schools outside the mainstream, and take their children to study abroad. Data were gathered from five pairs of parents who came to New Zealand for fewer than three years to take their children to New Zealand schools. Data were analysed using a thematic analysis method. The findings indicated that some Hong Kong parents take their children to study in New Zealand because they want their children to receive a different mode of education (such as activity-based learning, no examinations, homework, or pressure, small class teaching without ability grouping [i.e. streaming], and teaching by Western teachers). They want their children to play and have a real childhood and develop as a whole person. That is, parents want their children to develop a wide range of skills and be well-rounded individuals, rather than just being focused on academic study. The findings demonstrated that even though the Hong Kong Government has attempted to reform the curriculum and assessment structure in Hong Kong, some Hong Kong parents still believe that the education system focuses on examinations and rote learning.