Why are In-grade Retention Rates so High in Macao?


  • Yi-Lee Wong Chinese University of Hong Kong


education system, in-grade retention, Macao, private schools, quality of education, school regulations


This paper seeks to address why in-grade retention rates are so high in Macao by examining the operation of its education system.  To this end, I shall draw on data from a qualitative research project on educational inequality in Macao, referring specifically to criteria for in-grade retention set by different schools, the related practices of schools and teachers, and the schooling experiences of students.  This examination leads me to argue that in-grade retention rates of Macao are so high mainly because its education system is a system of private schools without effective state governance.  This argument, then, urges us to rethink the belief that a privatized schooling system allows competition between schools and thus provides more parental choices; therefore it is efficient and effective in providing quality education.  The case of Macao suggests that competition does not necessarily guarantee more school choices for parents or the provision of quality education.

Author Biography

Yi-Lee Wong, Chinese University of Hong Kong

Yi-Lee Wong is a sociologist with research interests in social inequality, social stratification and mobility, education, and the youth.  Over the last few years, I have been doing research projects on educational inequality in contemporary Hong Kong and Macao.  The project in Hong Kong is about the institution of community college and its students.  Referring to in-depth interview accounts of community-college students in Hong Kong on how they make educational decisions in order to stay on in higher education and how they evaluate their educational careers and achievements, I seek to examine the roles of emotions in the reproduction of educational inequality and the roles of self-evaluations in the legitimation of a system of educational inequality.  There are various concerns of the projects in Macao; for example, one is about school regulations and regulations related to in-grade retention, another is about how high-school students make educational choices, another is about the narratives of evening-school students and dilemma facing them, and another is about the schooling experiences of school-dropouts.  This paper is a piece based on the data of those projects in Macao.  I have been using such rich data to address a number of issues against the context of post-colonial Macao.




How to Cite

Wong, Y.-L. (2013). Why are In-grade Retention Rates so High in Macao?. Current Issues in Education, 16(3). Retrieved from https://cie.asu.edu/ojs/index.php/cieatasu/article/view/1240