One more interesting study to share “Educational opportunity in Australia 2015 “

I was just browsing news and came across this “Educational opportunity in Australia 2015“. I have downloaded the study and reading it now, it is a 100 plus page work, so it will take me some time to fully digest and understand the information inside of it. However just by going over the executive summaries and key finding, it is already shaping up to be a very interesting read.

The results show the proportions succeeding and missing out at each stage (our best estimates, based on available data). They show about six in 10 or more of all children starting school get through early and middle childhood with the kinds of academic and social skills needed for later success. The same proportions complete school and are fully engaged in education or work by their mid-20s. For this large group of young Australians, school works well and they succeed across all stages. They make the most of the opportunities our education and training system provides. #1

We all know education in general is very beneficial and higher social economical background offers an advantage in this as well. What this study did is not only affirming this and applies some solid numbers and stats to it.

But what we learn from the patterns is that young people who are missing out can recover and gain ground. Being behind at any point need not be a life sentence, even for the disadvantaged, though even here the chances of recovery and of gaining ground are still in favour of students from more advantaged backgrounds. The most advantaged learners are not only less likely to fall below expected standards in the first place but more likely to catch up again if they do.#2

The study contained a treasure trove of information and I will keep posting as I am going through it. A quick browse already got me eager to read more of it, need to sleep less and read more :).



#1 & #2: Educational opportunity in Australia 2015

Continuation of discussion on why some racial groups seems to do better academically than the others

I wrote a blog entry on this about a week ago, Why some racial groups seem to do better than the others academically? I don’t feel I have fully explored this, it is a complex matter. I also have not personally wrote anything substantial in a long time and rather rustic at it right now.

I have read a follow up article on this topic and I think explored this topic further The truth about Asian Americans’ success (it’s not what you think). I think there is a lot truth in this, I also watched some of the Amy Chua’s video discussing her new book which relates to this topic, those are very interesting as well. BTW, I read her Tiger Mother book and it was a good read.

One thing that pointed in the article is that recent immigrants from East Asia tend to be highly educated and creates the phenomenon of what the author calls “Ethic Capital”. Basically what this means is that more highly educated and driven some of the members of a particular group is, more easily for the rest of the group to benefit from this knowledge. This is happening in Sydney as well, similar house which in the same suburb that fall into well know public school can command significant price premium, some example of this being Artarmon Public School, Murray Farm Public School etc.

Amy Chua also list what she called triple package that lend the drive for success for people

  1. Sense of Exceptionality
  2. Insecurity
  3. Impulse control

On the first item, given that very degree of education of east Asian immigrants, it is not a surprise that a lot of them are very successful and exceptional in their native country, certainly relates to the general population that is.

On second item, this is in my view very common in the new immigrant group, given the new environment they have to adapt to and succeed in quickly, it is not a surprise that there is a sense of insecurity. Also Asian countries are all very crowded and tend to highly competitive, whether that be university position, jobs etc. This creates a sense of insecurity and competitive natural.

On the third item, Chinese are very notorious with this, their whole culture evolve somewhat around this which the other East Asian countries have a lot of similarity to it as well.

Lastly I think because a lot of parents are  major beneficiary of education and have good impulse control themselves, they well understood what education can do for their children and try to instil the same qualities into their children as well. Whether some parents are over doing this and cause an entirely different problem is a different topic for another day.

Why some racial groups seem to do better than the others academically?

I have read the article What is the secret to Asian academic success? recently on SMH. What do you guys think, is this true? Article propose that some racial groups do better academically in America compare to the others. I only want to discuss this based on academicals performance not slide into the usual arguments people tend to slide into around this.

The racial groups make up between Australia and America is very different, yet there are a lot of similarities between two as well, particularly as a lot of minorities are recent immigrants. I think it is not a surprise for most to hear that a lot of Asians do well academically at all levels of schools in Australia. The question we need to ask is why that is case what drives them to excel academically. Also to clarify Asian in Australia generally referred as people from East and South East Asia majority of the time. Rest of part of Asian tend to be classified differently.

The article listed out a number of reasons why the author think that is the case, I will let you read those. Following is what I think what lead to Asian value Academical success highly.

  1. Asians in Australia almost always tend to be comparatively recent immigrants, as new immigrants they generally lack the social network that longer term residents enjoyed. Academicals success is the most easily measured and quantified compare to other areas. For many 1.5 and 2nd generation immigrants, the quickest path for upward social mobility is achieved through academic success.
  2. Education is valued highly in East Asia historically. Historically East Asian society is dominated by bureaucrats and the most common path to become one for common people is to pass the imperial examinations. This has create somewhat a culture that put a lot of emphasis with academic success and the pursuit of it.
  3. In my personal experience most of Asian parents in Australia whether due to their personal or cultural background pay great attention to their children’s education, this directly translate to academic success to a large degree. Certainly as in the article that very high percentage of the recent immigrants are highly educated and wish their children achieve the same success that they had.
  4. Competitive culture, I speculate due to the density and large size of population in East Asian, countries like Japan, Korea, China etc have been culturally very competitive. Tuition classes are in my view the most directly manifestation of this competitiveness.
  5. For better or worse many Asian parents wanted to see their children doing the best that they could with their abilities, whether that be academic or in other areas. I suspect this in large is due to the hardship many had endured in their own youth and do not wish their children having to do the same.

Asians do a lot of things that normal westerns may perceive to be extreme or borderline crazy in pursuit of better education/future for their children. One good example is purchase of properties that falls within the catchments of top ranked public schools, so their children could attend. Fortunately I suppose in Sydney that catchment for top public schools tend to fall into traditionally desirable suburbs to live as well.

With personal experience I think this large apply in the first to second generation, more generation the children has been in Australia less apparent this phenomenon is. Within a few generation this effect is much less so and most of Asian children performance in Academic aren’t that different compare to general population anymore.

Anyway enough of my ranting with things at work are crazy busy for me recently and hopefully will get more time to do updates soon.