Crafting miniature students in the early years: Schooling for desirable childhoods in East Asia.

I Fang Lee, Nicola Yelland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


This paper explores the concept of miniature students to interrogate the ways in which early childhood care and education systems in East Asian countries are being constructed. Experiences drawn from working in the Hong Kong education system and observations of teaching and researching in Hong Kong have enabled an analysis about the ways in which young children are conceptualized, normalized, and governed from the beginning of preschool. The purpose of the analysis presented is not to create an alternative grand narrative of childhood or studenthood, but rather to explicate the ways in which young children are being shaped into miniature students from the beginning of their (in)formal educational experiences. A post-structuralist lens is used to explore the ways in which this concept has become manifested within the context of a privatized system, regulated by government and supported by new forms of funding to increase participation. Going beyond the geopolitical space of Asia, the making of miniature students can also be observed in many other countries in which governments focus on ‘rigorous’ assessment schemes or systems that are considered to result in improved high stakes test scores. The making of miniature students is perpetuated by a drive by governments toward narrow education outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-56
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Early Childhood
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2017


  • Childhood
  • Early childhood education
  • East Asian education systems
  • Global childhoods
  • Post-structuralist analysis


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