Citizenship perspectives of Mainland Chinese students in a Canadian international school
Ever since the opening of the Chinese market in the late 20th century, international educational programs started to blossom. British Columbia Offshore Schools (BCOS) started to emerge in the mid-90s with their first opening from Maple Leaf Educational Systems in Dalian. Their student population continued to see growth in many educational companies; however, in recent years, its population started to decline, and the program has been criticized for being culturally based on the curriculum in the West and not taking the perspectives of Chinese culture. This qualitative research study explored the citizenship perspectives of five students in Grades 11 and 12 enrolled in BCOS in Mainland China. The data were collected using semi-structured Zoom interviews. Guided questions were prepared and adjusted during the interview based on participants’ English language comprehension. The results of this research suggest participants believed in Personally-responsible, Participatory, or Patriotic citizenship with Chinese core values guiding their perspectives and the emergence of Justice-oriented citizens. Their inner circle and outer circle impacted their citizenship engagement and perception. Each participant expressed different benefits and challenges to engage in citizenship, including financial resources, family contributions, curriculum implementation, and personal interests. Overall, Chinese BCOS students are keen and eager to engage in citizenship development opportunities, and further support is needed by the student body, school community, and BC Ministry of Education to shape their citizenship.