Xin Fan: “School choice fever: Parents’ perceptions and practices in rural China”

In Students by General Account

My doctoral research investigates Chinese rural parents’ school choices through a cross-case study that draws on the theoretical tools of Pierre Bourdieu and Stephen Ball. The research aims to reveal both the structural constraints and the possibilities of individual agency to give a complete picture of rural parents’ decision-making.

Previously, I completed my BA degree in Japanese from Nanjing University and was selected as Outstanding Graduate of Nanjing University in 2019. During my undergraduate study, I spent a year at the University of Tokyo as an exchange student. I hold a Master’s degree in law from Beijing Foriegn Studies University and a MA degree in Education and International Development from the University College London with Distinction. My master’s study at UCL was fully funded by the China Scholarship Council.

In my master’s thesis, I analysed China’s rural school consolidation policy using the theoretical lens of ‘policy-as-text and policyas-discourse’ developed by Stephen Ball. I applied critical discourse analysis based on Norman Fairclough’s Three-dimensional CDA Framework in analysing the policy documents and interview data. The study concluded that the urban-oriented value behind the design and implementation of rural school consolidation policy excluded the village schools from the educational support and funding system, which strengthened rural parents and teachers’ preference for urban schools and caused a loss of students in rural schools. The study formed the basis for my ongoing PhD research.