Hong Kong Unison believes that improving Chinese language education for ethnic minority students is a key to improving the life chances and social mobility of ethnic minority families in Hong Kong.
Chinese language is a difficult subject for ethnic minority students in Hong Kong because our curriculum is primarily designed for students who speak Chinese as a first language. Since the majority of Hong Kong's government-subsidised schools uses Chinese as the medium of instruction, ethnic minority student's low Chinese ability also tend to drag down their performances in other subjects, thus adversely affecting the life chances of ethnic minority students.
Therefore, Unison is lobbying for the Education Bureau to develop and implement a Chinese-as-a-Second-Language policy in government-subsidised primary and secondary schools. The policy should recognise the needs of students learning Chinese as a second language, and should be accompanied with quality teaching materials, teacher training and appropriate assessments.
In order to realize the EDB's goal of early integration and give ethnic minorities an equal opportunity to compete with their Chinese peers, the Chinese language education policy for ethnic minorities should:
- Be comprehensive and continuous from kindergarten to senior secondary school;
- Accommodate the needs of Hong Kong-born ethnic minorities as well as non-Chinese new immigrants; and
- Recognise the fact that ethnic minorities often do not have a Chinese home environment and are learning Chinese as a second language, and thus have very different Chinese language learning needs from students who speak Chinese as a first language.