Bilingual approach promoted

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 03 February, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 03 February, 2007, 12:00am

Academic departments at the Chinese University of Hong Kong have been urged to strengthen bilingual teaching.

To Chun-ho, one of the student representatives on the Committee on Bilingualism, said the committee this week suggested changes to the consultation report on language policy in CUHK, which was released in September.

He said the committee recommended at Wednesday's meeting that departments which usually taught in English should offer courses in Chinese, while English as a medium of instruction should be made available for subjects that were frequently taught in Chinese.

But the final decision would be left to departments, Mr To said.

The September report suggested lectures in 'universal' subjects such as natural sciences and engineering be conducted in English, while those related to Chinese culture, society and history and general education courses, be in Cantonese and Putonghua, with the latter increasing according to need. Hong Kong studies would be in Cantonese.

Sze Ching-wee, head of the students' union, said the crucial issue of whether more courses would be offered in English and Putonghua in the long run had not been tackled.

'We want to know the percentage of programmes to be taught in English and Putonghua,' he said. Also a member of the committee, Mr Sze said he did not know when the final report on language policy would be released.

The university met with strong opposition from students, staff and alumni in 2005 after recommending an increase in courses in English to boost its internationalisation plan, which was seen as a betrayal of its Chinese heritage.