An exploration of equity and quality of education in Hong Kong and Singapore.
The highest performing education systems across OECD countries exhibit both high quality and equity. Among them are Hong Kong and Singapore. Yet both systems report huge income disparities between rich and poor. How can educational equity and quality co-exist within a highly unequal society?
Employing Bourdieu’s logic of practice, I argue that cultural habitus and structural contexts account for this phenomenon. Paradoxically, structural reforms to increase equity and quality simultaneously exacerbate injustices and inequity. The cases of Hong Kong and Singapore may well resonate in other parts of the world.
Maria Manzon teaches in the Department of International Education and Lifelong Learning at the Education University of Hong Kong. Her research focuses on comparative education history, theory and methods, and on parent engagement in Asia, using philosophical and sociological perspectives. Previously, she worked at the National Institute of Education in Singapore as research scientist. She was Chair of the Admissions and New Societies Standing Committee of the World Council of Comparative Education Societies (WCCES). Her 2011 book entitled Comparative Education: The Construction of a Field has been acclaimed for its comprehensive approach and path-breaking conceptualisation.