Half back Chinese teaching, poll finds
Just over half of adults support mother-tongue teaching, despite the same survey finding more than two-thirds believe teaching in English gives students an academic edge.
The pollsters said the slim majority support for mother-tongue education could pose difficulties for the implementation of the policy, which is due to be reviewed this school year.
Of the 805 adult respondents interviewed last week, 50.2 per cent said they supported the mother-tongue teaching policy, while 38.3 per cent said they disagreed. The remaining 11.5 per cent said they had no opinion.
In September 1998, 223 secondary schools were ordered to use Chinese instruction from Form One and Three. The remaining 114 were allowed to continue with instruction in English.
In 2000, the government extended the three-year trial for two more years after it ended last year.
Of those who supported the policy, 62.5 per cent said pupils could learn better in Chinese.
The survey, conducted by the Chinese University's Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies, found 70.2 per cent of respondents agreed graduates from English-medium schools had better prospects than counterparts from Chinese-medium schools.
A total of 53.5 per cent said they would send their children to English-medium schools while just 12.9 per cent opted for Chinese teaching.
Nearly 70 per cent said secondary schools should choose their medium of instruction, while 22.1 per cent disagreed.
Institute research officer Timothy Wong Ka-ying said the survey findings showed that most people supported mother-tongue education in principle but preferred their children be taught in English.
'The fact that there are just 114 English-medium schools will unavoidably reinforce the superiority of these schools,' Dr Wong said. 'But the government may render the policy meaningless if it allows more schools to teach in English in a move to please parents.'