Equal Opportunities Commission


E-news Issue 219


EOC Chairperson calls for immediate action to close education gap for ethnic minorities

Mr Ricky CHU Man-kin, Chairperson of the EOC, published an article in Sing Tao Daily, the Hong Kong Economic Journal and Hong Kong Free Press on 2, 4 and 8 October 2019 respectively, following the recent release of Closing the Gap, a report by the Commission’s Working Group on Education for Ethnic Minorities. Over the course of 15 months since January 2018, the Working Group met with ethnic minority (EM) students, parents, teachers, NGOs and employers, among other stakeholders, to identify ways to level the playing field in education for EM students.

Indeed, entrenched language barriers, which stem from struggles with learning the Chinese language, continue to bog down academic and career pursuits for EM students. In fact, data from the Government reveals that one in every five ethnic minority households were living below the poverty line in 2016, and an overwhelming majority of South Asians worked in low-paid elementary positions. Education, supposedly a ticket to gainful employment, has failed to deliver empowerment.

Mr Chu wrote, “We are calling for immediate action in three priority areas, namely: plugging gaps in the current system to provide a complete Chinese-as-a-second-language curriculum for EM students; strengthening training policies to equip teachers with both the skill set and mindset needed to educate second language learners; and reviewing all the existing Chinese examination options and structuring them into a qualification ladder, where various levels of Chinese proficiency could be better reflected and recognised.”

The EOC has submitted the report to the Government in response to the public consultation on the upcoming Policy Address. “We earnestly hope that the Government would adopt our recommendations. After all, the younger generation is the pillar of our society tomorrow. Stepping up our commitment to resolving the challenges facing EM students would help them unleash their potential and all of us build an inclusive society with equal opportunities,” said Mr Chu.