A Sociological Perspective on Hong Kong Adolescents' Higher Education Expectation

Pui Chi Chrysa KEUNG
The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
chrysa.keung@cuhk.edu.hk

Sui Chu Esther HO
The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
estherho@cuhk.edu.hk

Abstract

Given the global expansion of higher education, educational expectations of Hong Kong adolescents are on average lower compared with other Asian countries such as Korea and Singapore. The findings from HKPISA2012 revealed that adolescents from grass-roots level expecting to obtain university degree were less than their counterparts from upper class families. It indicated traditional class-based differences in adolescents' expectations towards higher education. The present study is to investigate these differences in class origin from a sociological perspective, which takes into account of adolescents' ascribed status such as gender, immigrant status, family structure and family socio-economic status (SES). The quantitative data was derived from a recent longitudinal study of adolescents in Hong Kong by asking their educational expectations and ascribed characteristics. In the study, a logistic regression model was conducted to examine, to what extent adolescents' ascribed characteristics predict their expectations of pursuing university degree. Two key findings have been identified. Firstly, family SES is the strongest predictor of adolescents expecting to obtain university degree, which indicates that the impact of class origin remains significant. The second, high achieving adolescents are constrained by family SES on their higher education expectations. The empirical evidence showed the persistent structural effect still exists among less privileged adolescents. This paper poses a concern about the effect of structural regularities on education opportunity, in which high achieving adolescents from disadvantaged families may exclude themselves from higher education choice process.

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