Equal Opportunities Commission


Promotion of Racial Integration and Prevention of Racial Discrimination in Schools

Promotion of Racial Integration and Prevention of Racial Discrimination in Schools


Education is the key to the future of our children. Not only does education enable individuals to develop their potential, it is also instrumental to attainment in other areas, such as employment. Ensuring equal access to quality education for all members of the community is fundamental to developing human resources to the full, and maintaining the competitiveness of our society. As well, it is essential for achieving equality and harmony in society.

In this regard, schools are at the heart of our children’s education and overall development. Schools should welcome children from diverse backgrounds and enable them to benefit from everything that education can offer, including knowledge, social interaction and good citizenship. However, this objective can only be met if schools, educators, teachers, parents and students work together towards creating an inclusive and racially harmonious learning environment, which is crucial to the delivery of high quality and equitable education.

In recent years, an increasing number of schools have opened their doors to ethnic minority students. Other schools are strongly advised to join their ranks because a culturally inclusive school environment can benefit not only ethnic minority students, but also all other students from diversifying their language exposures, deepening their acceptance towards others and developing their global perspectives. While adherence to the law is essential, schools are encouraged to think beyond the law and embrace the fact that ethnic minorities living in Hong Kong are an integral part of our society. Understanding how the Race Discrimination Ordinance (RDO) is applied in school and promoting racial integration are not limited to those schools admitting ethnic minority students. All students as future pillars of our society should be equipped with these knowledge and attitude.

The aim of this booklet is to educate. With the help of real situations and examples, not only is the law explained, but the principles behind the law in practical context are further clarified. In particular, the objectives of the booklet are the following:

  1. To inform and educate schools, educators, teachers, parents and students about the principles of racial equality;

  2. To inspire all stakeholders to work together on embracing and adhering to these principles;

  3. To explain the application of the RDO in kindergartens, schools and other educational institutions; and

  4. To provide useful suggestions to help educational institutions conform to the RDO, as well as the general principles of racial inclusion and integration.

The RDO, which was passed in 2008, prohibits discrimination on the grounds of race, colour, descent, national origin and ethnic origin. The RDO is applicable, among others, in the areas of education and the provision of goods, facilities and services. Therefore, the RDO is binding on schools, tutorial centres, kindergartens, other educational institutions and child care centres.

By understanding and adhering to the RDO, not only can schools fulfil their legal obligations and create equality and inclusion in school, but they can also prevent discrimination complaints and litigation.

For parents and students, this booklet helps you understand your rights and obligations under the RDO and the channel for redress if you or your children have been discriminated against on the ground of race. For the schools, it serves as a reference for devising policies and measures for the promotion of diversity and inclusion, through which students can develop and thrive in a multicultural environment.

A. Direct Discrimination

Direct discrimination occurs when a person is treated less favourably on the ground of his or her race.  For example, if a school decides to refuse admission of a student because of his/her ethnic origin, this may constitute a violation of the RDO. (Refer to FAQ#1 from Parents/Students)

Section 26 of the RDO states that it is unlawful for the responsible body of an educational establishment to discriminate against a person based on his/her race:

  1. In the terms on which it offers to admit that person to the establishment as a student;
  2. By refusing, or deliberately omitting to accept, an application for that person’s admission to the establishment as a student;
  3. Where the person is a student of the establishment:
    1. In the way it affords the person access to any benefits, facilities or services, or by refusing or deliberately omitting to afford the person access to them; or
    2. By expelling the person from the establishment or subjecting him or her to any other detriment.

Direct discrimination may also occur if students, who have been admitted to a school, receive less favourable treatment based on their race. Less favourable treatment may arise from differences in the type of or access to school support, in the handling of requests or enquiries from students or parents, in participation in school activities/clubs or forums, and in the exercise of disciplinary action. For example, if a student from a particular race receives harsher disciplinary action compared to other students due to his/her race, this may constitute racial discrimination under the RDO.

Although Child Care Centres are not registered as schools, they are considered to be service providers under the RDO. If a child care centre refuses to provide service to a prospective user due to his/her race, this may be a violation of the RDO.

Section 27 of the RDO states that it is unlawful for any person concerned with the provision of goods, facilities or services to discriminate against another person who seeks to obtain or use those goods, facilities or services (with payment or not):

  1. By refusing, or deliberately omitting to provide, the second- mentioned person with any of them;
  2. By refusing or deliberately omitting to provide the second-mentioned person with goods, facilities or services of the like quality, in the like manner and on the like terms as are normal in the first-mentioned person’s case.

Under the RDO, discrimination on the ground of the race of a near relative is also unlawful. A near relative means a person’s spouse, parent or child, grandparent or grandchild, sibling and in-laws.

B. Indirect Discrimination

Indirect discrimination occurs when a uniform requirement or condition, which cannot be justified on non-racial grounds, is applied equally on people of different races but which has an unfair effect on a particular racial group because (i) only a smaller proportion of people from that racial group can meet that requirement compared to the proportion of people of other racial groups, and/or (ii) the condition is to the detriment of the persons of that particular group because they cannot meet it.

a. Language requirement in schools

Under the RDO, language is not covered under the definition of race and schools are not required to change the medium of instruction. However, as language used by people is often associated with their race, treatment based on language may discriminate against certain racial groups.

Indirect discrimination in education may occur when a school imposes a requirement across the board on every student/prospective student, but it has a discriminatory effect on those who come from certain racial groups and the requirement is not justifiable on non-racial grounds. Indirect discrimination relating to language may arise in the following circumstances:

  • Language requirement during admission
    If a school requires, in the absence of any justifiable reason, all school place applicants and their parents to speak Cantonese during interviews as a pre-requisite for applying to the school and people of a certain race are less able to comply with this requirement (Refer to FAQ#2 from Schools/Kindergartens & FAQ#1 from Parents/Students).
  • School notices and communication
    If the school only provides communications in Chinese to ethnic minority parents who do not speak, read or write Chinese, without any justifiable reason (Refer to FAQ#3 from Schools/Kindergartens & FAQ#5 from Parents/Students).

In short, schools need to make sure every student has an equal chance to learn without language barrier.

b. Religion and school rules

Although the RDO does not cover religious discrimination in Hong Kong, drawing a clear line between race and religion is often difficult.  Religious and cultural practices may be linked to racial identity.  In certain religious groups that are closely associated to people of particular racial origin(s), racial identity sometimes includes religious identity.  In such cases, any imposed condition or requirement that affects religious practices may constitute indirect discrimination on the ground of race. It would be appropriate for school uniform rules to respect and take into account the cultural, religious and racial practices of students.  Otherwise, children’s rights relating to racial equality under the law may be affected.  For details, you can refer to the booklet “Racial Equality and School Uniform” published by the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) via the following link: 


(Refer to FAQ#6, 7&8 from Schools/Kindergartens & FAQ#8 from Parents/Students)

Racial harassment is any unwelcome conduct towards another person on the ground of his or her race.

Section 38 of the RDO prohibits harassment in education establishments. It states that it is unlawful for:

  1. A person who is, or is a member of, the responsible body of an educational establishment to harass a person who is seeking to be, or who is, a student of the establishment;
  2. A person who is a member of the staff of an educational establishment to harass a person who is seeking to be, or who is, a student of the establishment ; or
  3. A person who is a student of an educational establishment to harass a person who is seeking to be, or who is, a student of the establishment;
  4. A person who is seeking to be, or who is, a student of an educational establishment to harass a person –
    • Who is, or is a member of, the responsible body for the establishment; or
    • Who is a member of the staff of the establishment.

There are two types of racial harassment.

A. Unwelcome conduct

If any member of the school engages in unwelcome conduct towards another person on the ground of the race of that other person or a near relative of that other person, in circumstances where a reasonable person would have anticipated that the other person would be offended, humiliated or intimidated by that conduct, this may amount to racial harassment.

Racial harassment can be in any form–physical, visual, written, online, verbal or non-verbal–and even a single incident may constitute racial harassment. Examples of such acts may include:

  1. Engaging in name calling, which people of certain racial groups may find offensive or impolite;
  2. Making racial jokes and/or making fun of someone’s accent, appearance or traditional food;
  3. Using an offensive language when communicating with people from certain racial groups.

 (Refer to FAQ#5 from Schools/Kindergartens & FAQ#3&7 from Parents/Students)

B. Hostile environment

If any member of the school, alone or together with other persons, engages in conduct that creates an environment which intimidates another person on the ground of his/her race, this may be considered a hostile environment. For instance, a group of students paints some racially derogatory graffiti or threatening messages on a wall in the school playground on the ground of some students’ race. This could make the students of that particular race feel offended or intimidated even though the graffiti or messages did not directly target a particular student.

Sometimes a student may joke about another student without the intention to harass. However, intention is not a relevant factor when considering liability for the unlawful act of racial harassment. There is liability for harassment even if there is no intention or motive to offend, humiliate or intimidate. Therefore, we suggest that schools, kindergartens and tutorial centres raise the awareness of all students and staff about this provision with a view to creating a racially respectful learning environment.

As service providers, Child Care Centres are also bound by section 39 of the RDO which provides that it is unlawful for staff of child care centres to harass service users, including parents or applicants.

Section 45 of the RDO makes it unlawful for any member of the school, by any public activity, to incite hatred towards, serious contempt for, or severe ridicule of another person(s) on the ground of race. An activity in public includes any form of communication to the public or conduct observable by the public, including on-line posting.

For instance, if a student goes to an Internet forum, publicly deriding a schoolmate of Indian origin and encouraging others to physically obstruct people with darker skin tone from entering the school campus, this may constitute racial vilification by inciting hatred toward people of another racial group. Similarly, displaying posters in public which severely ridicule a certain ethnic origin, regardless of whether it is Chinese or non-Chinese, may also be considered racial vilification.

Discrimination by way of victimisation may occur if a teacher, a school staff member or a student treats another teacher, school staff member or student less favourably by reason that he or she did or intends to:

  1. Bring proceedings under the RDO;
  2. Give information or evidence in connection with proceedings under the RDO;
  3. Allege that someone has contravened the RDO (except where the allegation is false and not made in good faith); or
  4. Otherwise do anything under or by reference to the RDO.
    (Refer to FAQ#7 from Parents/Students)

The following examples may constitute discrimination by way of victimisation.

  1. A teacher refuses to write a reference for a student because he/she has made a complaint against him/her under the RDO.
  2. A student is offered a poor grade in conduct solely because he/she gave evidence as a witness in a case in which his/her teacher had allegedly racially harassed a classmate.

If you feel you are being discriminated against in school establishments or child care centres because of your race, you could raise these issues with the management of the school or centre. School or centre management should respond to and, if possible, resolve the complaint internally.

You may also lodge a complaint with the EOC. The law requires that complaints lodged with the EOC must be in writing and within 12 months from the time of the incident. You can submit your complaint in writing by mail, fax, electronic mail, online or in person. If you have a language need, the EOC can provide you with an interpreter upon request.

In addition, you may initiate legal proceedings within 24 months from the time of the incident under the anti-discrimination ordinances before the District Court.

A. Students/school staff/teachers/student applicants

The student, school staff, teacher, student applicant will be personally liable for his/her own act if he/she violates the anti-discrimination ordinances.

B. School Administrators/Incorporated Management Committee (IMC)

School administrators and/or IMC may be vicariously liable for their employees’ unlawful act of discrimination or harassment even if they have no knowledge of or did not approve the act, unless the school can show that it has taken reasonable steps to prevent its employees from doing so. School employees include teachers, teaching assistants, clerks in general office, janitors, etc. Service providers such as coaches, social workers and tutors may also be considered agents of the school, and school administrators/IMC would carry vicarious liability for any discrimination or harassment by their agents.

Students, parents, school staff and applicants of all racial groups are entitled to be free from harassment on the ground of race. If they have brought to the attention of the school administrators and/or IMC a certain discriminatory act, the school is advised to take practicable steps to stop the act and prevent the development of a racially hostile environment.

The EOC will assess the case and may investigate into the complaint and endeavour to resolve the case by conciliation. If a settlement cannot be reached, the complainant may apply for legal assistance from the EOC. Based on merits of the complaints, legal assistance is considered on a case-by-case basis.

Parties can propose and negotiate the settlement terms. A few examples of what can be included are:

  1. An apology;
  2. Admission to a school;
  3. Monetary settlement;
  4. Undertaking to conduct or arrange staff training; and/or
  5. Undertaking to change an organisation’s policy or procedures.

If you need further information regarding your rights under Hong Kong’s anti-discrimination ordinances, the complaint-handling procedures and/or training and consultation services of the EOC, please contact the EOC at eoc@eoc.org.hk or you can call its hotline at 2511 8211. The EOC office is open from Monday to Friday 8:45am to 5:45pm. Interpretation services can be arranged upon request, subject to the availability of the interpreter.

1. Admission policy


As a school, we have the right to set criteria for selection of students. How can we make sure that these criteria do not contravene the RDO?


When the school sets selection criteria of students, you need to ensure that such criteria does not screen out any applicant based on race or language, such that you may discriminate against applicants belonging to certain races. What the school needs to do is create consistent selection criteria backed by reasonable justifications, and inform all parents about these criteria so that they understand the reasons and rationale if their application is not accepted.


2. Language requirement


Do kindergartens have to change the language of admission interview if we have an applicant who does not speak any Cantonese?


Kindergarten is the first stage of systematic education for any child, and the best time to nurture their language skills. Every child should be given equal opportunities to learn Chinese and English in Hong Kong, irrespective of their mother tongue. Their language skills prior to entering the education system should not be a factor to exclude them from gaining admission into kindergartens.

Although the RDO does not require schools to change the medium of instruction in teaching, there is no such specific exemption in the RDO on the language used in interviews.  Kindergartens may still face indirect discrimination complaints and litigation if they, without justifiable reason, refuse to interview non-Chinese applicants because they cannot speak Cantonese or reject applications from Chinese applicants because they cannot speak English.  Kindergartens are therefore advised to conduct the screening by using other assessment methods, such as observation of the child’s learning motivation, interaction with others, etc. If applicants have difficulty to understand the instructions due to language barrier, schools are encouraged to provide accommodation, such as arranging interpreters or allowing family members to interpret for the applicants, etc.  (Refer to Section 4B(a) Indirect Discrimination - Language requirement during admission)


3. Communication with parents who do not understand Cantonese


We are a Chinese medium-of-instruction school and all our school notices for parents are written in Chinese. How can we communicate with parents if they do not speak or read Chinese?


Schools may explore different ways to help remove barriers faced by non-Chinese speaking parents in being more involved in their child’s education.  You may consider sending bilingual notices (English and Chinese) to the parents. Alternatively, you can ask one of the school staff members to communicate with the parents verbally to explain the notices.  The Education Bureau has enhanced the funding support for schools to strengthen their communication with non-Chinese speaking parents through appointment of ethnic minority assistants or procurement of translation services as appropriate.  Community resources, such as interpretation service funded by the Home Affairs Department (website: http://www.had.gov.hk/rru/english/programmes/programmes_comm_sscem.html), may also be helpful for communication with non-Chinese speaking parents. (Refer to Section 4B(a) Indirect Discrimination - School notices and communication)


4. Disciplinary action


If an ethnic minority student has violated school rules, would we be accused of racism if we discipline him/her?


You can exercise discipline with any student who has violated a school rule according to the disciplinary policy of the school, as long as you do not single out the student just because he/she is from a particular race. As a good practice, campus policy should ensure it does not inadvertently discriminate against students. Under the Guidelines on Student Discipline issued by the Education Bureau, schools should be fair and consistent in handling problematic behaviours of students, while the students’ dignity needs to be safeguarded. The ultimate purpose of the intervention is guiding students towards taking responsibility for their action without the feeling of shame, humiliation and ridicule.


5. Racial harassment


If students belonging to two different ethnic communities make casual fun of each other’s race, what can I do to prevent it from escalating to racial harassment?


The school and teachers should inculcate values of mutual respect and understanding among students. In this case, they should teach students not to use race as basis for making jokes of each other as it shows disrespect. The school is also advised to remind all students that making fun of someone’s race could turn into racial harassment for which they may have to bear legal responsibility.

We suggest the school develop an Equal Opportunities Policy and clear procedures for teachers and staff to handle issues relating to discrimination and harassment, and state out preventive anti-discrimination and harassment measures in school environment. The school could also assign a specific staff member as the responsible person to handle all such matters.  In this way, the school can deal with discrimination or harassment complaints in a consistent manner.  In this respect, the EOC can provide consultancy and training for formulating school policies and guidelines on equal opportunity. (Refer to Section 5A Racial Harassment - Unwelcome conduct)


6. Uniform related to religious practice


Does the school need to modify its uniform policy if it is a certain religious practice of some students to wear a particular kind of clothing or accessory, such as turban or hijab?


Religion is not considered a prohibited ground under the RDO. However, some religions are closely associated to people of a certain race. In this regard, we suggest that the school respects and provides appropriate accommodation for racial, cultural and religious practices of the students. Schools should make sure that their policies do not require students to go against their own religious practices, and will not affect students’ basic rights, including their access to educational and learning opportunities, as far as possible. The basic principles are keeping close communication with students and parents, consulting leaders or members from the religious community whenever possible and exploring options as well as making decisions for accommodation in a transparent way. For details, please read the EOC booklet on this issue: Racial Equality and School Uniform at
(Refer to Section 4B(b) Indirect Discrimination - Religion and school rules)


7. Religious activities


If a student practises a different religion from the school’s denomination and has special requests regarding the practice of his/her religion, e.g. requesting for breaks during school time to conduct prayers, how can the school accommodate these requests?


It would be appropriate for schools to respect and take into account the cultural, religious and racial practices of the students.  Based on the principles stated in Questions 7, schools are advised to consult the students, their parents and leaders or members from the religious community regarding their religious needs before deciding what kind of reasonable accommodation should be provided. (Refer to Section 4B(b) Indirect Discrimination - Religion and school rules)


8. Religious celebrations


It has been the school practice to celebrate Christmas every year. Do we have to change the way we celebrate Christmas at our school if we admit ethnic minority students who may not be Christians?


Schools are free to choose their ways to celebrate Christmas or any other religious holiday.  However, it is advisable to accommodate the needs of students from different religions wherever possible.  During celebrations, we would suggest that schools be aware of the religious restrictions, if any, of students with other religious beliefs and exercise some kind of flexibility, for example, in the arrangement of food, religious activities, etc. We also encourage schools to educate their students about different religious practices and celebrations in order to increase awareness and to promote racial and religious acceptance. (Refer to Section 4B(b) Indirect Discrimination – Religion and school rules)


9. Addressing complaints


What can the school do if we receive a complaint from a student or parent regarding discriminatory behaviour?


As stated in Question 5, we suggest the school develop an Equal Opportunities Policy, with clear procedures for teachers to handle issues relating to equal opportunity, including discrimination and harassment, so that teachers and school management can deal with such complaints in a consistent manner. The school is advised to look into any complaint of discrimination and harassment carefully to see whether the complaint is substantiated and whether any steps can be taken to rectify the situation. In some situations, schools may be able to remedy the situation by making small accommodations, such as changing some practices, raising the awareness of students and school staff through training, etc.


10. Application of the RDO to all races


Does the RDO offer protection from racial discrimination only to the minority communities? Can a Hong Kong Chinese student, teacher or staff claim racial discrimination or harassment?


The RDO applies to everyone in Hong Kong irrespective of their race, colour, descent, national origin and ethnic origin. The RDO offers protection from racial discrimination on the ground of one’s race. So, if a Hong Kong Chinese person is being discriminated against because he or she is Chinese, it would amount to racial discrimination. For example, if a school sports team only allows non-Chinese students to enrol, there may be a case of racial discrimination.

1. Admission


Both my daughter and I are of Filipino origin. We approached a kindergarten to apply for a place. Upon seeing our appearance, the staff in reception asked us whether any of us speaks Cantonese. When we replied that we do not speak Cantonese, we were told to approach another kindergarten. This rejection is really hurtful. What can we do in this circumstance?


Imposing a language requirement in school admissions without justification may be a violation of the RDO. If you encounter such a situation, you may speak to the School Administrator and communicate your issue to them. If you still feel discriminated against by the school due to your race, you may lodge a complaint with the EOC. (Refer to Section 4A Direct Discrimination & Section 4B(a) Indirect Discrimination – Language requirement during admission)


2. School Support


All my family members are Hong Kong Pakistani. The school which my son has been allocated to told me that its resources of learning support for non-Chinese speaking students are very limited and suggested me to consider arranging him to study at another school with more support. Should I follow the advice?


The Education Bureau has enhanced its support to schools for providing intensive learning of Chinese for non-Chinese speaking students. Many schools use additional funding from the Education Bureau to implement a range of support measures, such as pull-out lessons, after-school consolidation, additional teaching staff, etc. You are advised to clarify with the school how it makes use of the Government support and consider your son’s learning needs and related factors, such as immersed environment for learning Chinese, ability of his social adjustment, etc., before making the decision. Nevertheless, if the school rejects or defers registration of your son with this reason, there may be an issue of racial discrimination and you may lodge a complaint to the Education Bureau and/or the EOC.


3. Name calling


My family is Indian by origin. My son returned from school crying and said that his classmate made fun of him by calling him by racially derogatory term. Is this racial harassment and what can I do about it?


If a student made fun of your son and used racially derogatory term that your son found offensive, humiliating and intimidating, this may constitute racial harassment. You are advised to bring this issue to the attention of the teacher/school, so that the teacher/school can educate the concerned student and others about racial harassment and prevent similar situations from happening again. If such name-calling persists, you may lodge a complaint with the EOC. (Refer to Section 5A Racial Harassment – Unwelcome conduct)


4. Social interaction


Both my daughter and I are of Thai origin. My daughter tells me that no one likes to play with her in school and she feels isolated. Is this an issue under the law?


The situation above and similar kinds of behaviours between students may not necessarily raise an issue under the RDO because there is no clear indication of race as a reason for other students not to play with her. However, we suggest that you bring this to the teacher’s attention so that he/she can help your child integrate into the school better.


5. Language


My husband and I are not Chinese and both of us cannot read or write Chinese. My daughter is attending a Chinese medium-of-instruction school. All the school correspondence is in Chinese. It is hard for us to keep in touch with the school and know what is being communicated. I would like to know what I can do about this.


The school should provide a means for you to access to school information.  We suggest you talk to the teacher to see if the school can find a way to inform you about important notices, either in writing or verbally.  The Education Bureau has enhanced the funding support for schools to strengthen their communication with non-Chinese speaking parents through appointment of ethnic minority assistants or procurement of translation services as appropriate.  For short-term assistance, you can also seek assistance from support service centres for ethnic minorities subvented by the Government and operated by NGOs, some of which would provide interpretation and translation services for parents.  The list can be found on the website of the Government’s Race Relations Unit http://www.had.gov.hk/rru/english/programmes/programmes_comm_sscem.html
If the school refuses to offer you any alternative way of getting information, you can contact the EOC to discuss the possibility of lodging a complaint under the RDO.  (Refer to Section 4B(a) Indirect Discrimination – School notices and communication)


6. Complaints about behaviour


My daughter and I belong to an ethnic minority community. Her teacher complains that she has repeatedly violated the school’s rules and suggests that I enrol her into another school. What can I do about this?


You are advised to communicate with the school and explore possible guidance regarding your daughter’s conduct. Professionals such as counsellors, social workers, educational psychologists, etc., may also be involved. In any case, the school should not single out your daughter or ask that you remove her without proper justification. If you feel she is being less favourably treated by her teachers or the school because of her race, you may lodge a complaint with the EOC.


7. Racial Stereotyping


My teacher mentioned that students of my race are more troublesome and less hardworking than students from another race. I feel uncomfortable with this statement. What can I do about this? Is this discrimination?


If your teacher makes a comment about a certain race, in this case yours, which makes you feel offended, humiliated or intimidated, this may constitute racial harassment. We suggest you bring this up with your parents and/or the teacher concerned and explain to him/her how uncomfortable you are with his/her comment. If the comments do not stop and the teacher starts picking on you, you may consider talking to the school management or the principal and consulting the EOC on racial harassment and victimisation.  (Refer to Section 5A Racial Harassment – Unwelcome conduct & Section 7 Discrimination by way of victimisation)


8. Integration into the school


As a parent, what can I do to help my ethnic minority child integrate into a mainstream school?


As a parent, you need to know the rules and regulations of the school and communicate with the school early on, particularly if your child needs some accommodations. For instance, if your child needs to wear a Kara or Hijab, you are advised to raise this with the school at the outset. Other situations such as your child not being able to attend mass or having certain dietary requirements due to religious reasons, should be discussed with the school to explore alternatives


Parents are advised to be proactive in developing a relationship with the school and teachers. For example, parents could join the Parent-Teacher Association or attend the Parents’ Day or any other school activities to visibly demonstrate your commitment towards your child’s education. Furthermore, do not hesitate to ask questions on any specific concerns you may have about your child or the school.

If your child ever mentions any incident or situation that has made him or her uncomfortable, you are advised to bring it to the teacher’s attention so that the situation can be addressed.  (Refer to Section 4B(b) Indirect Discrimination – Religion and school rules)

These are some suggestions to promote a healthy multicultural environment in schools which can create a nurturing environment for all students regardless of race, ethnicity and colour.

For Schools:

  1. Formulate equal opportunities policies in school to reflect the school’s commitment to eliminating discrimination, take proactive measures to prevent discrimination and foster inclusiveness and provide guidelines for handling complaints related to discrimination and harassment in the areas of, but not limited to, sex, disability, family status and race.
  2. Provide training for all staff, teachers, as well as students on cultural awareness, sensitivity and avoiding stereotyping. Encourage staff and teachers to communicate with ethnic minority parents by reminding that simple English is usually sufficient for communication with them.
  3. Promote the usage of interpretation as well as any other kinds of accommodation to ensure access to education, services and information by students and parents.
  4. Organise activities that encourage interaction of students from different racial backgrounds to generate awareness and respect for other cultures and religions. Such activities will empower the students and build bridges between them.
  5. Have integrated classes with Chinese and non-Chinese students studying together as far as possible.
  6. Consciously mix racial groups in class, in sports teams and in school-wide activities so as to promote interactions and exchanges across different racial/cultural groups.
  7. Promote the achievements and contributions of students of different ethnic backgrounds in school’s internal and external materials, e.g. newsletters, posters, etc.
  8. Make sure all school policies are applied uniformly, consistently and across the board. Wherever exceptions need to be made, make sure procedures and rules are applied in a consistent manner.
  9. To the extent possible, remove barriers for ethnic minority parents’ involvement in school bodies and activities, such as issuing bilingual notices for school events, arranging interpretation for parents’ day and/or holding bilingual meetings of parent-teacher association.

For Parents:

  1. Parents and schools should work together to inculcate values of mutual respect for other cultures from an early age, ideally at the kindergarten or primary school stage.
  2. Parents can encourage their children to integrate into the larger society by being role models themselves and taking an active part in the school and community, e.g. attending the parents’ day, joining school events for families and/or participating in the parent-teacher association.
  3. Parents should maintain open communication with their children and school to proactively address the children’s needs for learning and social development.

Education Bureau

  • Support Service for Non-Chinese Speaking Student : 3540 7447
  • Regional Offices
    • New Territories West : 2437 7272
    • New Territories East : 2639 4876
    • Kowloon : 3698 4108
    • Hong Kong : 2863 4646
  • Link: www.edb.gov.hk/ncs

Hong Kong Christian Service - Centre for Harmony and Enhancement of Ethnic Minority Residents (CHEER)

  • Free Telephone Interpretation Service:
    • Bahasa Indonesia, Tagalog and Thai, enquiry no. : 3755 6811
    • Hindi and Nepali, enquiry no. : 3755 6822
    • Punjabi and Urdu enquiry no. : 3755 6833
  • Link: http://www.hkcs.org/gcb/cheer/cheer-e.html#3

Home Affairs Department – Race Relations Unit

Disclaimer :
This booklet is meant to be general advice. It does not have the force of the law and is not meant to be legal advice on any specific situation.
If you need further information regarding your rights under Hong Kong’s anti-discrimination ordinances and the complaint-handling procedures of the EOC, please contact:

Equal Opportunities Commission

16/F., 41 Heung Yip Road,
  Wong Chuk Hang, Hong Kong
(852) 2511-8211
(852) 2511-8142
  (852) 6972566616538(For people with hearing impairment / speech difficulties)