Developing a National Identity in Kindergarteners of Different Ethnic Backgrounds: Values and Practices of Parents in Hong Kong


Nation-building is important in national politics, but establishing a national identity can be challenging. It has long been perceived as an alarming issue that Hong Kong people’s sense of Chinese national identity is waning. The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government has vowed to reform education “from the bottom” to cultivate an understanding of Chinese national identity at an early age. Additionally, the HKSAR Government is encouraging non-Chinese-speaking (NCS) families to send their children to kindergartens that use Chinese as the medium of instruction. In this study, which is part of a larger project funded by the Hong Kong Research Grants Council (UGC/FDS16/H17/21), we examined how Hong Kong parents responded to the growing demand of the authority in terms of developing the national identity in kindergarteners of different ethnic backgrounds. It involved in-depth interviews with 40 parents from eight purposively selected kindergartens. Four of them had a significant number of NCS students. As for the remaining four, they predominantly catered to local ethnic Chinese students. Our findings showed that, although most parents agreed that young children needed to develop a sense of identity and understand their heritage and culture, they feared that cultivating it too early might lead to identity confusion. Meanwhile, NCS parents, regardless of their types of kindergartens, believed it was essential for their children to learn about the Chinese culture, values, and language. Implications for home-school operations and educational policies are discussed.

Author Information
Jessie Ming Sin Wong, Hong Kong Metropolitan University, Hong Kong

Paper Information
Conference: SEACE2023
Stream: Challenging & Preserving: Culture

The full paper is not available for this title

Virtual Presentation

Comments & Feedback

Place a comment using your LinkedIn profile


Share on activity feed

Powered by WP LinkPress

Share this Research

Posted by James Alexander Gordon