The Societal Effects of Secondary School Curriculum Reforms on Gender Participation in Higher Education: A Comparative and Longitudinal Study of Asia, 1950 - 2010

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 09:15
Location: Hörsaal BIG 2 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Yannie CHEUNG, Global Studies Programme, Faculty of Social Science, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
The paper investigates how changes in secondary school curricular emphases reallocate education opportunities for women and men in higher education with a regional focus on Asia. This paper argues that any reorganization of curricular emphases in secondary schooling enacts a societal effect on gender partitioning in higher education. Empirical findings present a worldwide picture of gender equality with an almost equal rate of gender participation in higher education since 1990s. At the same time, a “new” form of gender inequality is emerging with women’s increasing prevalence in higher education after the time point of equal participation. Recent literature draws a close attention to social consequences of quantitative rise in higher education, such as stratification of gender enrolment in disciplinary areas (Barone 2011; Ramirez and Wotipka 2001). As a world region, Asia is highly responsive to such redrawing of gender partitioning. The study explicates how a world-integration model of educational culture rearranges social partitions of gender in regional higher education. But still, the paper examines to what extent a colloquial-differentiation model of cultural attributes purports gender reorganization in a region with varying levels of economic modernization, differing types of political regime, and diversified groups of religious beliefs and cultural values. The study takes two aspects of cultural attributes into investigation, first, religious traditions and cultural beliefs, such as Confucianism, Islamism, and Buddhism; second, colonial hegemonies and legacies. To evaluate which model provides viable explanations to higher education expansion in Asia, the study employs, first, multiple regression analyses to assess factors relating to higher education expansion in two time panels: 1950-1989, 1990-2010; second, textual analyses to compare formal statements of higher education goals and secondary school curricula across seven polities in Asia (China, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, and Vietnam) over two time periods in 1980s and 2000s.