Civil service language policy bars entry of talented foreigners
Candidates for a civil service post at the degree/professional level must demonstrate a proficiency in English and Chinese.
To demonstrate that you are proficient in English, you have to attain level 1 or above in the Use of English paper in the common recruitment examination or have attained Grade D or above in Use of English in the A-level exam or English language in the General Certificate of Education A-level exam.
To demonstrate that you are proficient in Chinese, you have to attain level 1 or above in the Use of Chinese paper in the common recruitment exam or attained Grade D or above in the Chinese language and culture or Chinese language and literature in the Hong Kong A-level exam.
I have two points to make which I would like the Civil Service Bureau to qualify.
In the past, many westerners who were professionals were able to join the civil service. They brought with them valuable experience and different perspectives to the job. Their contribution has enriched the civil service. The introduction of the Chinese language requirement has virtually excluded this batch of talented people. I would ask the bureau if there is a case for arguing that the Chinese language and the standard required for all degree/professional posts should be reviewed.
Secondly, more students at international schools and direct subsidy scheme schools in Hong Kong are taking the International Baccalaureate diploma programme. It is internationally recognised. Is the diploma (English and Chinese) recognised by the bureau as being equivalent to the Use of English and Use of Chinese papers?
If not, what are the reasons? Will an assessment of this policy be carried out in future? If not, why not?
The world is changing and so are education and assessment systems. It is necessary for the bureau to keep up with the pace of change in other parts of the world and to be open-minded. In so doing, the government will be in a better position to recruit the most talented people to the job, which will benefit the civil service and Hong Kong as a whole.
Thomas Lam, Hung Hom