1994.第21卷第2期及第22卷第1期(Vol. 21 No. 2 & Vol. 22 No. 1).pp. 29–42



Educational Stratification, School Expansion, and Public Policy in Hong Kong

David POST




How does a public policy to expand school enrollment rates alter the joint relationships between family resources, gender, and educational attainment? The 1970s were a period of increased state action in Hong Kong's previously privatized education system. In I971, primary schooling was made free and compulsory for children; in 1978 free and compulsory education was extended to the first three years of secondary school. This article examines the consequences for educational stratification of the deliberate expansion of secondary school participation. Using census samples from 1976, 1981, and 1986, children's school continuations to the lower- and upper- secondary levels are predicted on the basis of their family resources and gender. As measures of the policy to expand education, three alternative indicators are entered in the model. The interactions of these indicators with gender and family background demonstrate their consequences for educational stratification. Hong Kong's expansion of education, the evidence suggests, had a substantial impact on the ability of children to continue to secondary school, regardless of family income. The effects of free schooling were also especially pronounced for girls.