Reforming Education in Contemporary Macao: Issues and Challenges


Yi-Lee Wong
Chi-Fong Chan

Series: Education in a Competitive and Globalizing World
BISAC: SOC042000

Issues such as the high rate of grade retention and the low completion rate of basic education in Macao have drawn a lot of public attention. More at issue is the quality of education in Macao. While blame for academic failure is usually laid on individual students, in this book Yi-Lee Wong and Chi-Fong Chan seek to provide a structural explanation by investigating the operation of the modern education of Macao. Referring extensively to Macao’s colonial past, Wong and Chan highlight how colonialism’s historical legacy shapes the characteristics of the existing education system in Macao; specifically how it has both generated and sustained a system whereby privately run schools are publicly funded. In such a system, private schools can get government funding without being effectively monitored. Such schools are free to carry out school-specific policies (including policies of grade retention and teacher hiring), teach an exclusive school-specific curriculum, and use unique school-specific standards to assess students.

Despite the 1999 handover of Macao from Portugal to China, and regardless of the great efforts made to improve education by Macao’s SAR government since then, the situation remains more or less unchanged. The authors argue that Macao’s colonial history poses huge challenges to educational reform. To make this case, Wong and Chan analyse thorny issues facing the Macao SAR government, concentrating on schools, teachers and students. In their analysis, they draw on a variety of empirical evidence, such as historical material, secondary documents, statistics (including results from Programme for International Student Assessment on OECD countries), and updated empirical findings from surveys; as well as ethnographic studies on contemporary Macao. In the concluding chapter, Wong and Chan use the case of Macao to urge policy makers to rethink the promised societal benefits of the privatization of education suggested in the dominant neo-liberal discourse. (Imprint: Nova)

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Chapter 1 – Introduction (pp. 1-14)

Chapter 2 – The Characteristics of the Education System in Contemporary Macao (pp. 15-24)

Chapter 3 – Macao Today (pp. 25-42)

Chapter 4 – Education in Macao Before 1999 (pp. 43-50)

Chapter 5 – Legal Foundation of Education in Macao (pp. 51-72)

Chapter 6 – Schools (pp. 73-98)

Chapter 7 – Teachers (pp. 99-126)

Chapter 8 – Students (pp. 127-146)

Chapter 9 – Conclusion (pp. 147-154)




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