Replanting the flower in different soil? a critical analysis of education borrowing in Hong Kong

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Journal Article

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Education borrowing, Comparative education, Comparative research, School curriculum, Policy transfer




This paper critically analyses the impact the New Senior Secondary (NSS) has had on Hong Kong through Phillips and Ochs’ four-stage model of policy borrowing in education. It argues that the Hong Kong government overlooked the fundamental contextual differences between the two curricula, and that this incompatibility has led to various challenges in integrating the NSS into the existing education system. This paper also contributes to the methodological literature on comparative education and theorisation of education borrowing by illustrating the importance of context. The monopolistic and generalisation assumptions in the positivist paradigm have misled many governments to reify statistics and uncritically transfer incompatible policies to their home countries; the case of the NSS in Hong Kong is an example of this. Although the interpretivist paradigm helps comparativists better understand local context, it is also important to be aware of the limitations of the analytical model used here. Phillips and Ochs’ model was developed based on observations of education borrowing between England and Germany, and it might not truly represent the situation in non-English speaking Asian countries. Also, the model was not specifically built for a capitalist economy, and, therefore, comparativists also need to be aware of the economic structure of the country they are studying, as this can greatly affect the aim of public education. Further study should incorporate literatures and models from Asian countries in order to make the analysis more relevant.

Source Publication

International Journal of Education

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