Kefan Xue (Vicky)


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Kefan Xue (Vicky)

DPhil candidate, Oxford School of Global and Area Studies



I am a DPhil candidate in Area Studies (China) at the University of Oxford. Before starting my DPhil, I graduated as the departmental 1st academic performance student from the University of Warwick, majoring in a BA in Education Studies. During my undergraduate years, I volunteered in many marginalised areas in China, Indonesia and African countries. These experiences facilitated my research interests in childhood, family and gender inequalities.

I began my MPhil in Educational Research at the University of Cambridge in 2019, where I gained advanced methodological training and practice. My MPhil degree comprised an exploratory study focused on rural left-behind children with caring responsibilities (i.e., the young carers). Building on this foundation, my DPhil project will continue exploring the experiences and needs of being a young carer in China. While contributing to the scarce literature on this topic, I hope this study could provide factual data and implications for researchers, professionals and policymakers to transform the lives of this 'hidden' vulnerable group and their families.

DPhil topic

An exploratory and participatory multi-case study on young carers in China: exploring the lives and needs of young carers and their families, by taking a southeast city as an example

Many children and young people provide care to parents and/or other family members who have illnesses or disabilities. These young carers are present in every country. Profound studies globally have shown that caring responsibilities hugely impact young carers’ livelihoods and developments. In contrast, young carers in China have yet to be recognised, with scant statistics or academic research on this topic in particular. It means that this group of children currently goes unnoticed by society, and thus little support is being provided to them. Nevertheless, it can be inferred that the population of young carers in China is large, on account of the country’s massive population base, the deep-rooted filial piety culture and a large number of disabled people and left-behind children. Therefore, it is significant to recognise, identify and support this ‘hidden’ vulnerable group in China.