Princeton University Library Catalog

Hong Kong’s One-Way Permit Scheme: Educational Achievement Gaps between Mainland Chinese Immigrants and Natives

Li, Lucy [Browse]
Senior thesis
Adsera, Alicia [Browse]
Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs [Browse]
Class year:
106 pages
Summary note:
This thesis examines the educational achievement gaps between One-Way Permit (OWP) Scheme immigrant youth and native youth in Hong Kong. The OWP Scheme is the system under which mainland Chinese citizens permanently migrate to Hong Kong. Given the unique circumstances of an immigrant group and host-society that are ethnically the same but socially and economically divided, this thesis provides an overview of the relevant literature and then aims to determine the position of OWP Scheme youth (first-generation Chinese students) relative to second-generation Chinese students, natives in Hong Kong, and other foreign immigrants in terms of educational achievement. Once the descriptive achievement gaps were established, the thesis aimed to measure how gaps were accounted for by select home and school level variables. Lastly, the effect of age of arrival on educational achievement of OWP Scheme youth was determined. This thesis uses data collected in 2012 on Hong Kong from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). OLS regressions with controls, fixed effects by school, and interacted variables are used to determine the answer to the research questions above. It was found that OWP Scheme youth in Hong Kong systematically underperform other nativity groups in subject literacy. However, once home and school characteristics are controlled for, these immigrants are actually predicted to have the highest educational achievement out of all nativity groups, including natives. The results have the following policy implications: the Hong Kong and mainland Chinese governments may reevaluate the OWP Scheme’s application process and shorten the waiting time for children applying for permits so that they can arrive at an earlier age. Age of arrival is determined to affect educational achievement. The earlier children migrate to their host-country (4 to 7 years), the more likely they are to adapt and have higher educational achievement than those children who migrate at later ages. Additionally, the Hong Kong Education Bureau can re-evaluate class size stipulations and the systems of tracking and ability grouping in schools, which are found to have a negative effect on educational achievement. School level characteristics are found to mediate the effect of nativity background on educational achievement the most relative to student and home level characteristics. Thus, policy interventions to close the educational achievement gap between OWP Scheme youth and native youth should focus on mechanisms at the school level.