Spotlight on language switch

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 14 January, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 14 January, 1998, 12:00am

The switch to mother- tongue teaching will not compromise education standards in the SAR.

That is the opinion of the head of the Committee on Home-School Co-operation, Tik Chi-yuen.

To correct such misconceptions, the committee will hold a seminar on March 14 to explain the benefits of mother-tongue teaching to the public.

Mr Tik told those attending a committee meeting that educationists and policy-makers had been invited to the seminar to explain the rationale behind the switch from English to Chinese.

He said experts had a duty to explain in detail to students and parents the change in policy.

Many SAR residents disagreed with the switch and felt English was better for their children, Mr Tik said.

Many parents were still influenced by their past experiences under British rule when English was considered the more important language.

'We would like to explain to parents why the switch has been made,' Mr Tik said.

'The situation has now changed and what was right then might not be suitable for the present situation.

'Chinese is now the more important language for daily communication.

'In our experience, most children will benefit from using the Chinese language throughout their learning process.' Mr Tik said he was sure parents would agree with the decision once they understood the reasoning.

'Parents need to know how to help their children to make the most of mother-tongue education and how to reinforce their children's standards in the English language, which will now be taught as a second language,' he said.

'Chinese as the teaching medium can be a good choice for their children.' The seminar will be held at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre in Tsim Sha Tsui.

Meanwhile, the committee is holding a carnival at Grand Century Place (next to the Mongkok KCR station) on February 22 to promote co-operation between parents and schools.

Mr Tik said a report detailing various points of view on the mother-tongue issue would be ready for delivery to all schools after the Lunar New Year.