Document Type



Department of Education Studies

Conference End Date


Conference Title

Education, Ethnicity, and Inequality Symposium: Issues and Insights


This paper provides an in-depth understanding on the ‘out of school’ phenomenon for ethnic minority students in a secondary school in Hong Kong. While the school was comparatively new in admitting ethnic minority students it already experienced one of them completely dropped out of school only after Form One and several others at risk of dropping out. Fieldworks with principal, two teachers, one ethnic minority education support program staff and a brand new complete dropout student of the school over the period of three months offer conceptualizing dynamics of ‘out of school’ phenomenon specific to the context of the school and ethnic minority students’ life in Hong Kong. Not surprisingly the cohort study of the school data helps little in determining the extent of ‘out of school’ phenomenon, yet in-depth interviews provide rich understandings of the phenomenon, the reasons for ethnic minority students being ‘out of school’ and portraying their ‘out of school’ life in general, and the experiences of a Pakistani origin boy Morshed dropped out of the school in particular. While Morshed’s narratives of his previous school days and current ‘out of school’ days give us a vivid picture of his life, a number of themes emerged from the thematic analysis of his account as well as the accounts of leader, teachers and support staff of the school that help explain the reasons for him dropping out after Form One.

Conference Location

Hong Kong Baptist University, Kowloon, Hong Kong SAR


Out of school, dropout, ethnic minority, South Asian, Hong Kong

Publication Date


Place of Publication

Hong Kong SAR