The kindergarten education stage is a crucial period for ethnic minority school children to build a sound foundation in their Chinese language abilities. The children's Chinese proficiency also affects whether their parents place them into mainstream or designated primary schools. The Education Bureau pays lip service to encouraging ethnic minority school children integrate into the mainstream education system. Regrettably, the Government currently does not provide concrete support to ethnic minority kindergarteners and their schools.
To support ethnic minority school children studying in mainstream Chinese kindergartens, Hong Kong Unison and the Hong Kong Institute of Education (HKIEd) co-organised the “Chinese Language Enhancement Project for Non-Chinese Speaking Kindergarten Students.” The project was sponsored by Air Cargo Charitable Golf Day 2007 in 2008/2009, the SCMP Operation Santa Claus 2008 in 2009/2010, and is sponsored by the Lee Hysan Foundation in 2010-2012.
Unison works with Dr. Che Ying Kwan of the Department of Chinese at HKIEd to organise and train students at HKIEd. Dr. Kwan's team outreaches to participating kindergartens and provide additional Chinese classes and language support to ethnic minority kindergarteners.
This project has helped ethnic minority school children build up confidence and interest in learning Chinese language, and has improved their abilities in listening, speaking, writing and reading. Due to resources constraints, the 2011/2012 school year is the last for this project. Unison hopes that the Government will take up similar programs to systematically provide support to all ethnic minority schoolchildren and their kindergartens.