Equal Opportunities Commission


Press Releases

Press Releases

The EOC Supports the Findings of the Ombudsman Report on Government Support for Non-Chinese Speaking Students


The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) welcomes the direct investigation report by the Office of the Ombudsman on government support for non-Chinese speaking students.
Education for ethnic minorities is one of the key priority areas for the EOC with fair admissions, Chinese language learning support and inclusive school environment being matters of concern. The Ombudsman report echoes many of the findings that EOC has also found and brought to the attention of the Education Bureau repeatedly.  
We strongly support the recommendations made. With respect to those related to support for Chinese language learning in schools, we agree that simply providing funding without effective coordination of other aspects such as school administration, resource development and most importantly, teacher training, is inadequate.  A review of the effectiveness of the Chinese Language Curriculum Second Language Learning Framework is considered essential. (Link to EOC submission to the Legislative Council on this subject: http://www.eoc.org.hk/eoc/upload/2018227142822383164.pdf)
The most worrying finding is the lack of information in English for Kindergarten admissions and/or the difficulty in accessing that information.  The EOC survey on Kindergarten Admission Policies and Attitudes towards non-Chinese Applicants in early 2018 had similar findings with over 70% of kindergarten websites having information mainly or completely in Chinese (http://www.eoc.org.hk/eoc/upload/ResearchReport/201843151222192315.pdf). As suggested, the Education Bureau must strengthen its monitoring to ensure guidelines issued are complied with and have the desired effect. 
The EOC Chairperson, Prof. Alfred CHAN Cheung-ming, said, “With education being an essential building block towards a person’s development, it would be gravely detrimental if our ethnic minority youth are denied opportunities for equal access to quality education.  Kindergarten admissions, Chinese language learning and being in an inclusive school environment are all determinants of education outcomes and therefore must come with independent and informed choice. It is our duty as a free and fair society to ensure this.”
Given the EOC’s concern with regard to education for EMs, particularly Chinese language learning, a Working Group on Education for Ethnic Minorities was set up in January 2018 to look at the issue in detail. With deep appreciation of the critical examination on government support towards education for ethnic minorities in the Ombudsman report, the EOC Working Group’s report will complement this by studying current learning processes and systems, their effectiveness and shortcomings, through feedback collected from key stakeholders. Teachers, language learning experts, parents, students and NGOs were involved in providing information and opinion. The report will be ready for submission later this year.
The EOC calls upon the Education Bureau to seriously consider the recommendations made in the Ombudsman report and take necessary actions promptly to address the community concerns. 
Equal Opportunities Commission 
22 February 2019