Question of the week: Are schools that use English as the medium of instruction better? | South China Morning Post
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  • Jan 27, 2015
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Question of the week: Are schools that use English as the medium of instruction better?

PUBLISHED : Monday, 19 March, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 19 March, 2007, 12:00am
 

Borromeo Li Ka-kit, 17


Shun Lee Catholic Secondary School


Schools using English as the medium of instruction are better in the sense that they provide us with


a comprehensive foundation and a competitive edge.


English is the major language in the world and is widely used in commercial activities and legal matters, therefore it should be given the highest priority.


English medium of instruction (EMI) schools offer students better career opportunities and equip them with more skills for the working world.


At present, students are not getting enough chances to use English. Languages are always best learned in an environment of immersion. Using English in as many subjects as possible would better equip students.


There is a difference between learning English as a second language and adopting it as the medium of instruction.


Students studying in Chinese medium of instruction (CMI) schools do not get enough exposure to English.


This is particularly true for students who from non-English-speaking families. Where will they get the chance to use the language?


Instead of becoming bilingual, some students might end up with only half a language.


We have to ensure that the education system caters to students' future needs. Something clearer should be mapped out on a long-term basis. EMI schools definitely give us an edge.


Marvin Chung Man-ting, 15


Wah Yan College, Hong Kong


No, schools that use English as the medium of instruction are not necessarily better.


First of all, schools are for students to acquire knowledge and learn ways of life. So is there any difference between 'English knowledge' and 'Chinese knowledge'? Knowledge is knowledge. We just need to understand it and apply it to our daily lives.


In addition, using English to teach may lead to misunderstanding and misconceptions among students.


For most students in Hong Kong, Chinese is their mother tongue and misunderstanding of class material would rarely happen in Chinese medium of instruction (CMI) schools. Why insist on having English as the medium of instruction when you can better understand the courses in Chinese?


Instead of being frustrated and spending your time looking up English words in the dictionary, why not use Chinese and be more interested in learning? There are lots of Band 1 CMI schools in Hong Kong and many of the students get excellent results in the HKCEE and A-Levels.


Also, English is no longer the dominating language in the world. Chinese is becoming more popular. Students in English medium of instruction (EMI) schools may neglect Putonghua, which might limit their future careers. In CMI schools, teachers are not restricted to the EMI syllabus and can promote Chinese culture and language.


GET INVOLVED These are our two finalists. And this is the second of three debates to find out who the winner will be. E-mail yp@scmp.com and put who you think will win this round in the subject field. Votes must be cast by Wednesday 2pm.


The ultimate winner will get a Nokia 5200 mobile phone worth HK$1,898.


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