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Education Creates the Myth That Those at the Top Deserve Their Power and Privileges and Have Achieved Their Status on Academic Merit, and That Those at the Bottom Have only Themselves to Blame." Discuss.

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Education Creates the Myth That Those at the Top Deserve Their Power and Privileges and Have Achieved Their Status on Academic Merit, and That Those at the Bottom Have only Themselves to Blame." Discuss.

Topic: "Education creates the myth that those at the top deserve their power and privileges and have achieved their status on academic merit, and that those at the bottom have only themselves to blame." Discuss.

Introduction

"We are likely to end up with a more socially differentiated and divisive system of education. In any market there are winners and losers. In this market we may all end up losing out!"(Ball et al., 1994 as quoted in Haralambos.2004 p.692) We may all be the loser in education. However, would there be someone who loses more? Why do we lose? These questions make me be curious to find out the answer. Moreover, Bowles and Gintis told us that the education creates the myth of meritocracy that camouflages the truth that children from wealthy and powerful family tend to obtain high qualification and highly rewards jobs irrespective of their abilities, and those at the bottom can only blame themselves, and not the educational system which has condemned them to failure.(Haralambos.2004) This shocking and interesting myth really inspires me to investigate the educational system in Hong Kong to know whether the myth is present. Education seems to be regarded as a fair and equal right for everyone. However, the truth is far from this ideal. Numbers of researches on the schooling system done by Bowles and Gintis(1976), Ball, Bowe and Gewirtz(1994), ???(2001) and Pierre Bourdieu (1971,1973,1974,1984,1994)..etc show and argue that education is a tool that serves the privileged class, which is the middle class. Students who do not come from such privileged backgrounds are much less prepared or fit for the educational system that they are more likely to be the failure in the system. In this essay, I am going to briefly discuss the different perspectives and studies on education and argue that education is not a system that is fair for everyone.

Content

First and foremost, it is necessary to know the definition of equality in education before discussion. ??? divides the equality of education into four types of definition. And I would focus on the first two definitions: the equality of access to education and the equality of participation in education process (1985 as quoted in ???,2001. P.160) . Since these two kinds of inequality exist most seriously in the educational system of Hong Kong.

Firstly, the definition of equality of access to education is to provide free and obligated education for every child under its labor participation age. It also includes having the equal opportunity to obtain same kind of education, such as attending the same kind of schools or courses, in different stages of life. (???,1985) In case of Hong Kong, Government has enforced the 9-year free and compulsory education to every child starting from primary one. And it seems to be fair that the factors like money, family background and sex would never make children have no chance to study. However, the kindergarten education does not be included. The statistic of Census and Statistics Department shows that there are 25% of children of the right age who do not have kindergarten education in 2000. Moreover, students are needed to have face-to-face interview when applying the access of some kindergarten, especially the famous one. As the famous kindergarten will give the direct enrolment for students, whose brothers or sisters are studying at, or whose father or mother is the professional, such as lawyer or doctor.(????????,1999 as quoted in ???.2001) This kind of benefit brought by their parents or family is one majority kind of cultural capital (Bourdieu,1971). And the theory of Cultural Capital is one of the most convincing theories to explain why the inequality of education exists.

How Cultural Capital theory explain the inequality in primary and secondary school in Hong Kong

According to Bourdieu(1971,1974), the educational system is systematically biased towards the culture of dominant social classes and it devalues the knowledge and skills of the working class. He said major role of education is 'cultural reproduction', that is the reproduction of the dominant class culture. The dominant class legitimizes the belief that their culture is "worthy of being sought and possessed" and "better" through the educational system. And he refers to this possession of the dominant culture as cultural capital. However, cultural capital is not equally accessible to all members of a society but it is the privileged class students who "possess the code of the message". Therefore, the attainment of education in different social groups is directly related to how much the cultural capital they process. Hence, the middle-class students have higher success rates than

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