Pakistan Association’s Education Fair
Remarks by Mr LAM Woon-kwong, Chairperson, Equal Opportunities Commission
Mr. Qamar Minhas, President; Distinguished guests; honourable members of the Pakistan Association; friends,
Thank you for inviting me here today. I was so glad to hear what the Chairman of the Education Committee has just said: Hong Kong has had a long history of having you in the city, benefiting from the Pakistani community’s hard work, contribution, and you being a part of us.
But we do see that in this fast, progressing world, every one of us in Hong Kong has got to compete and seek progress. And education, like the Chairman has just said, is the key to our future competition. And in this inclusive city, we want everyone, whether you are Chinese or non-Chinese, to be able to compete equally and fairly.
But the big problem, the hurdle that faces the non-Chinese speaking students these days, is the difficulty of getting a quality education without being able to learn Chinese well. This is not an easy issue, we know, but we think that inclusion in education does not necessarily mean that all of you non-Chinese students have to follow the same curriculum or compete on the same public exam assessment. Even as a Chinese, I can say that Chinese is a very difficult language, but that should not hold you back from the opportunity to get into our universities, for example.
I share, as the Chairperson of the EOC, the full vision of the Pakistan Association and their Education Committee that we hope to see, in time, that hundreds and thousands of you will be among us in our university students’ population. To do that, we must be able to remove the hurdle for you. We are not saying that you shouldn’t or you don’t need to learn Chinese. As part of this community, as part of the big China opens up, I think it will be desirable and useful for most of us to learn the Chinese language. But what we have been suggesting to the Education Bureau in the Government is that we must not have just one standard. We should set a curriculum and an alternative standard for those who really find it difficult to get on the same language level as the local Chinese do. But at the same time you can still learn a useful part of the language to be applicable in the job and vocation market and to get into universities.
So that is what we have been advocating. We need your help. We need your support to back that initiative, too. And we would join hands with you, work closely with you, to put this vision of getting hundreds and thousands of your students into our universities, to get this dream, to get this vision to come true in the foreseeable future.
With that, I hope today will be a successful event. I hope this dream and this vision will come true in time. And I hope you will all enjoy this afternoon’s programme. Thank you very much.