Equity and Quality of Education: Paradoxes from Hong Kong and Singapore

The highest performing education systems across OECD countries exhibit both high quality and equity. Among them are Hong Kong and Singapore. Yet both systems report huge income disparities between rich and poor. How can educational equity and quality co-exist within a highly unequal society? Employing Bourdieu’s logic of practice, I argue that cultural habitus and structural contexts account for this phenomenon. Paradoxically, structural reforms to increase equity and quality simultaneously exacerbate injustices and inequity. The cases of Hong Kong and Singapore may well resonate in other parts of the world.