Accepted paper:

Islam and education: the perceived role of religion in the educational attainment of South Asian Muslim immigrant students in Hong Kong

Authors:

Wai-chi Chee (Hong Kong Baptist University)

Paper short abstract:

This research seeks to explore the relation between religion and education in the context of migration where the students are both an ethnic and a religious minority. It specifically examines three important factors: religious participation, religious tenets, and religion-based social networks.

Paper long abstract:

Substantial research has documented that religion plays an important role in educational attainment (E.g., Lehrer 1999). Yet the relation between religion and education remains confusing because conflicting conclusions are offered by different studies. While some studies find that religion is positively related to educational attainment (E.g., Regnerus 2000; Muller and Ellison 2001), others suggest a negative association (E.g., Darnell and Sherkat 1997). My research on the education of South Asian immigrant students in Hong Kong also reveals diverse opinions regarding the relation between Islam and education. Local Chinese educators tend to see that certain practices endorsed by Islam may discourage students from developing their academic potential to the full. However, South Asian teachers and parents think the other way. They claim that Islam encourages education, for both male and female, and that the Quran stipulates that Muslims should learn both religious knowledge and secular knowledge to enhance life on earth. They also emphasize education as an avenue to social mobility. Indeed, religion has an impact on values and priorities which in turn shape how people make decisions about important issues such as education. This research seeks to explore the relation between religion and education in the context of migration where the students are both ethnic and religious minority. It specifically examines three important factors: religious participation, religious tenets, and religion-based social networks, to shed light on how these factors, individually or collectively, shape the academic achievement of South Asian Muslim immigrant students.

panel P138
Religious practices in transition: ethnographical and theoretical studies of religions in multiethnic and/or multicultural situations