Oliver, Paul (1991) Hindu students in a further education college : an ethographic enquiry. Doctoral thesis, Huddersfield Polytechnic.

This is an ethnographic study of a sample of Hindu students in a Further Education
college. The students are all following a course leading to the Certificate of Pre-
Vocational Education. The data consists of transcripts of informal interviews and of
classroom teaching situations; and is analysed from the perspective of an interpretive
paradigm. The purpose of the study is to reveal the methods used by the students in
reaching an understanding of their own social world. The study seeks to construct a
series of world views which reflect the ways in which the students perceive their own
sense of reality. The research attempts to explore the views of students on several areas
including religion and culture, their feelings about the education system, and their
aspirations for employment and a career.

Generally speaking, research studies in the sociology of education tend to focus on the
schools sector, and it is the intention of this research to redress the balance somewhat in
the direction of Further Education. Moreover, studies in multicultural education often
describe their samples in non-specific ways such as "Asian students" or "ethnic
minorities", and place little emphasis upon the social influences of specific religion and
culture. By investigating a particular religious group it is hoped to encourage more
studies which place an emphasis upon the importance of religion in defining the social life
of Asian people.

The study of this sample of Hindu students suggests that there exists a specifically Hindu
perception of the world, and that the maintenance of this is of importance to the
students. The students appeared to have a profound desire to succeed in the educational
system, and to apply that success to particular vocational contexts. An apparently
strong motivation to achieve something of value in life was sustained in part by a sense
of parental support and interest. The students did not appear to be preoccupied with the
racism which they encountered in society. It was also noted that the female students
tended to reject firmly the traditional Hindu gender roles. Generally there was a tendency
for these young people to develop considerably greater proficiency in spoken rather than
written English. The thesis concludes with a reflexive account which seeks to describe
the particular perspectives and approaches of the author in arriving at an understanding
of the data.

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