Educational Inequality: The Special Case of Pacific Students
A causal relationship between aspirations and achievement is widely recognised by the sociology of education. Bourdieu, for example, has argued that students “internalise the odds”of their social group and thus reproduce these “objective chances” imposed by the social structure. Contemporary studies, however, particularly of ethnic minorities, indicate the relationship to be more complex. In New Zealand, the achievements of Pacific students, for example, are generally poor despite their high aspirations.
These issues are discussed in the context of empirical data, both quantitative and qualitative, from the Progress at School project, and with reference to recent commentaries on this theme by Bourdieu. Some brief comments on the implications for policy makers are offered.