Location of Repository

How South Asians achieve education: a comparative study of Bangladeshis, Indians and Pakistanis in Birmingham schools and colleges

By Tahir Abbas

Abstract

The educational achievements of South Asians have been shaped by economic, social and political developments in the post war history of British race relations. Social class background of individual students and the school effect have been shown to be the major determinants of achievement but the precise characteristics of differences at the ethnic minority sub-group level have remained uncharted. In addition, past research has primarily relied on large-scale quantitative methods to develop comparative knowledge of South Asian educational performance.\ud This research is an attempt to understand wider variations of difference in the educational achievement of South Asians. The research is unique as it explores differences between Bangladeshi, Indian and Pakistani groups, additionally distinguished along lines of social class, ethnicity and gender. Six schools, three of which were selective and three comprehensive, and three further education colleges, were used to obtain samples of South Asian pupils and students. The methods used in this study were principally qualitative. Face-to-face in-depth interviews with school pupils, parents and teachers accounted for the main part of the empirical research, which was also supplemented by a survey of college students and a survey of teachers.\ud The research explored the achievements, aspirations and motivations of pupils, students and parents to analyse educational life histories, interpreting and evaluating differences between South Asian groups by social class, ethnicity and gender, as well as religion and culture. Teachers were interviewed and surveyed in order to determine their perceptions of and actions in relation to South Asians in education. Altogether, 137 respondents (89 school pupils, 25 parents and 23 teachers) were interviewed by the researcher and 176 respondents (109 college students and 67 teachers) participated in the two postal surveys (313 altogether). Questions asked were about secondary school entry, 13-plus subject choices, GCSE and A level achievements, and potential higher education entry. It was found that all South Asians that entered `effective' schools performed competently.\ud Furthermore, the factors which led to the positive educational outcomes for Indian (Hindu and Sikh) groups were oppositional to those which led to the educational underachievement of South Asian Muslim groups and, here, rather more Pakistanis than Bangladeshis. The educational success of Indian groups was attributable to educational norms and values relative to social class. The educational experiences of Bangladeshis and Pakistanis were problematic, largely because of factors in their lives outside of school: such as the limited education and occupational levels of parents, parents' inadequate understanding of the education, and insufficient use of English within the home. Teachers interviewed from the sampled schools and colleges were inclined to advocate positive approaches for managing issues relating to South Asians in education.\ud In conclusion, therefore, it is argued that the educational achievements of South Asians in schools and colleges in Birmingham are closely related to social class background and the school effect. Factors associated with religion and culture are more likely to affect South Asian Muslims. The increasingly competitive nature of the education system has led to a divergence between South Asian groups: with Hindu and Sikh Indians (including some East African Asians) firmly established as educational `successes' and Pakistani and Bangladeshi South Asian Muslims, in contrast, routinely considered as educational `failures'

Topics: LA
OAI identifier: oai:wrap.warwick.ac.uk:1130

Suggested articles

Preview

Citations

  1. (1994). (Ed) Desh Pardesh: The South Asian Presence in doi
  2. (1986). (Ed) Key Variables in Social Investigation, doi
  3. (1998). (Eds) Researching Racism in Education: Politics, Theory, and Practice, doi
  4. (1990). (Eds) South Asians Overseas: Migration and Ethnicity, Cambridge: doi
  5. (2000). (Eds) Theories of Race and Racism: A Reader, doi
  6. (1998). A League Apart: Statistics in the Study of Race and Education',
  7. (1999). Asian Children at Home and At School: An Ethnographic Study, doi
  8. (1997). Asian Parents and English Education - 20 Years 210 On: A Study of Two Generations', doi
  9. (1999). Attainment in Secondary School', doi
  10. (1998). Between Cultures: Continuity and Change in the Lives of Young Asians, doi
  11. (1993). Census Topic Reports: Ethnic Groups in
  12. (1970). Colour, Citizenship and doi
  13. (1996). Commission for Racial Equality doi
  14. (1977). Community Relations Commission doi
  15. (1979). Comparing Performances in Multi-Racial Schools: South Asian Pupils At 16-Plus', doi
  16. (1991). Comparisons of "Education Reform" in Britain and the USA: A New Era?
  17. (1993). Constructions of Muslim Identity and the Contesting of Power: The Debate Over Muslim Schools in the United Kingdom',
  18. (1992). Dictionary of Race and Ethnic Relations, Second Edition Reprinted, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.
  19. (1993). Doing Your Research Project, doi
  20. (1997). Eastern Values, Western Milieu: Identities and Aspirations of Adolescent British Muslim Girls,
  21. (1985). Education for All: doi
  22. (1977). Education in Schools: A Consultative Document,
  23. (1989). Education: Hopes, Expectations and Achievements of Muslim Women in West Yorkshire', doi
  24. (1995). Ethnic Cleansing": A Metaphor of Our Time? ', doi
  25. (1997). Ethnic Differences in the Educational Participation of 16-19 Year-Olds',
  26. (1993). Ethnic Origins and Class Destinations', doi
  27. (1991). Ethnicity Constructed and Reconstructed: The Role of Sikh Women doi
  28. (1995). How Nation-States Respond to Immigration and Ethnic Diversity', doi
  29. (1998). I Heard it on the Grapevine": "Hot" Knowledge and School Choice', doi
  30. (1997). I Want More Freedom, But Not Too Much": British Muslim Girls and the Dynamism of Family Values', doi
  31. (1973). Immigrant Workers and Class Structure in doi
  32. (1963). Indian Immigrants in Britain, London: doi
  33. (1984). Interviews, Accounts and Ethnographic Research on Teachers', doi
  34. (1999). Is it a Case of "We Know When We're Not Wanted"? The Parents' Perspective on Parent-Teacher Roles and Relationships', doi
  35. (1999). Language, Literacy and Social Justice: The Experiences of Bangladeshi Women in Birmingham, UK', doi
  36. (1996). Marriage Patterns and Inter-Ethnic Relations', in:
  37. (2000). Minding the Gap: Ethnic, Gender and Social Class Differences in Attainment at 16,1988-95', Race, doi
  38. (1990). Multiculturalism and British Identity in the Wake of the Rushdie Affair', doi
  39. (1976). Multiracial Education - 2. Teacher Opinion on Aspects of School Life. Part 2. Pupils and Teachers', doi
  40. (1996). Naming Difference: Race-Thinking, Common Sense and Sociology',
  41. (1989). Nation Formation and Religious Education: The Concern of Muslims
  42. (1990). Nationalism and the Quest for Authenticity: The Bangladeshis in Tower Hamlets', doi
  43. (1973). Pakistanis in Britain: Transients or Settlers? doi
  44. (1985). Parental Education Strategies: The Case of the Punjabi Sikhs in Britain',
  45. (1990). Parental Education, Social Class and Entry into Higher Education 1976-1986', doi
  46. (1992). Patterns and Trends of International Migration in Western Europe', doi
  47. (1989). Personality, Development and Learning, Fourth Editon, Kent: Hoddor and Stoughton,
  48. (1992). Playing it by the Rules; The Politics of Research in "Race" and Education', doi
  49. (1992). Postmodernism and Islam, doi
  50. (1989). Psychology and Education',
  51. (1993). Psychology and the Teacher, Fifth Edition,
  52. (1986). Race and Ethnicity', doi
  53. (1997). Race Equality and School Improvement: Some Aspects of the Birmingham Experience',
  54. (1995). Race'. Education and Work: The Statistics of Inequality,
  55. (1998). Race", Space and the Further Education Market Place', doi
  56. (1987). Racial Theories, Cambridge: doi
  57. (1998). Racism, Reconstructed Multiculturalism and Antiracist Education', doi
  58. (1998). Re-Establishing Antiracist Education: A Response to Short and Carrington', doi
  59. (2000). Report to the Lead Support Officer: Education and Lifelong Learning Scrutiny Committee, 4 April,
  60. (1989). Research in a Plural Society: Pitfalls and Possibilities',
  61. (1996). Research Note: Ethnic Differences in Applications to United Kingdom Medical Schools Between 1990-1992', doi
  62. (1992). Researchers Are Not Cats - They Can Survive and Succeed by Being Curious',
  63. (2000). School and Further Education Examination Results,
  64. (1998). School Effectiveness Research: Criticisms and Recommendations', doi
  65. (1994). Shades of Discrimination: University Entry Data 1990-1992', in: S. Haselgrove (Ed) The Student Experience, Milton Keynes:
  66. (1996). Social Focus on Ethnic Minorities,
  67. (1986). Sociology, Education and Schools, doi
  68. (1985). South Asian Entrants to British Universities: A Comparative Note', doi
  69. (1988). South Asians as Economic Migrants in Britain', doi
  70. (1986). Statistical Modelling Issues in School Effectiveness Studies', doi
  71. (1998). Teachers - Meeting the Challenge for Change. Green Paper.
  72. (1993). The Age of Migration: International Population Movements in the Modern World, doi
  73. (1978). The Bohras: Identity Maintenance',
  74. (1991). The East African Sikh Diaspora: The British Case', in: S. Vertovec (Ed) Aspects of the South Asian Diaspora,
  75. (1979). The Future of Cultural Minorities, doi
  76. (1995). The Institutionalisation of Islam in The Netherlands and in The UK: The Case of Islamic Schools', doi
  77. (1979). The Myth of Return: Pakistanis in doi
  78. (1974). The Nature of Pakistani Ethnicity
  79. (1983). The Participation of Ethnic Minority Pupils doi
  80. (1989). The Pluralist Dilemma Revisited', doi
  81. (1989). The Politics of Community: The Bangladeshi Community in East London, doi
  82. (1994). Tory Education: Exclusion and the Black Child', doi
  83. (1992). Unasked Questions, Impossible Answers. The Ethical Problems of Researching Race and Education',
  84. (2000). Unemployment Briefing by Ward,
  85. (1981). West Indian Children doi
  86. (1992). Working Choices: South Asian Young Muslim Women and the Labour Market, London: Department of Employment,
  87. (1998). Youth, Gender and Community Change: A Case Study of Young Bangladeshis in Tower Hamlets. Unpublished PhD Thesis.

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.