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    Non-Chinese Children in Chinese Schools in Brunei

    Full Title : Parental Motivations in Sending Non-Chinese Children to Study at Chinese Schools in Brunei Darussalam

    Status : Competitive Research Grant (CRG)

    Funding Amount : BND 7,550

    Start Date : 2021

    Completion Date : 2023

    Principal Investigator : Hannah Ho Ming Yit

    Co-investigators : Noor Azam OKMB Haji-Othman and Chang Yau Hoon (CARe, UBD)

    Brief Outline

    In Southeast Asia, there has been an upward trend to send non-Chinese children to study at Chinese schools. In Brunei, there is a substantive number of non-Chinese attending private Chinese schools. In some of these schools, this number surpasses the number of Chinese students. This study investigates motivations of non-Chinese parents in sending their non-Chinese children to Chinese schools in Brunei. Given that Chinese schools fundamentally aim to promote cultural / linguistic values to successive generations of young Chinese, the question arises as to why non-Chinese parents enrol their non-Chinese children into these schools. A study examining parents’ perceptions of the benefits in sending their children to these schools—known for high levels of discipline and academic excellence too—is timely given the presence and economic rise of China in Southeast Asia and the rest of the world.

    Brief Objectives

    This research project aims to study the motivations of parents in sending their children to study at Chinese schools. Research questions include:

    1. Why do parents enrol their non-Chinese children into Chinese schools?
    2. To what extent do these parents’ perceptions of Chinese schools impact their decision to send their children to study at these schools?
    3. What kinds of challenges do these parents face as their children attend these schools?
    4. What are the differences between expectations and reality encountered by parents?
    5. Is Mandarin fluency a factor in motivating non-Chinese parents, and why or why not?
    6. To what degree does the economic rise of China influence / affect / shape parents’ motivations?
    7. How does sending non-Chinese to attend Chinese schools benefit the nation and region?

    Significance of the Research

    National benefits include:

    1. Social and academic contributions towards a better understanding of perceived economic and cultural relevance of Chinese language, values, and traits amongst the non-Chinese in Brunei.
    2. This project will also shed light on the relevance of Chinese language in an era of rising China, which may contribute to a deeper cross-cultural understanding that can strategically benefit Brunei-China bilateral trade relations, especially in the context of China’s Belt and Road initiative.