By Chun Wing Lee (auth.)
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Extra resources for Labor and Class Identities in Hong Kong: Class Processes in a Neoliberal Global City
Primary school lasted six years, and secondary school lasted five years. After finishing secondary five, students who were able to enter a local university would usually spend two years in matriculation known as secondary six and secondary seven and take the Advanced Level Examination (A-Level). Securing a place in secondary six was difficult because secondary five students had to take the ultracompetitive Hong Kong Certificate Examination (HKCEE). ). In addition, before the expansion of higher education in the early 1990s, there were only two recognized universities in Hong Kong, so going to university was an extremely difficult task.
I and my younger sister think that [we were] quite lucky. Because, nowadays, when we see many of our friends, their parents are more working class, and they had to face some hardships when they were young. We are lucky because we are from such a family background, so when we were young, we had nothing to worry about at all. CHILDHOOD AND EDUCATION 43 Ms. Siu was grateful for the resources her father gave her, but she was not happy with her father’s treatment of her: He [my father] is actually a nice person.
This approach focuses on the manner in which a family’s economic resources lead to different rational choice decision-making processes in terms of educational choices; in addition, as suggested by Goldthorpe (1996, 2000), because their families are relatively worse off in economic terms, it is rational for children who come from disadvantaged backgrounds to make the decision not to pursue higher education. Another approach, favored by Bourdieu (1973; Bourdieu and Passerson, 1990) and the scholars he inspired, places a great deal of emphasis on cultural reproduction.