Rita Fan urges good language training

PUBLISHED : Monday, 10 October, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 10 October, 2011, 12:00am

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Hong Kong has failed to provide adequate resources to help children of ethnic minorities to learn Chinese, former Legislative Council president Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai said yesterday.

'I hope the government can increase Chinese-language learning for minority students, not just in formal education,' said Fan, a member of the National People's Congress Standing Committee, and a potential candidate for chief executive.

'Not every minority student wants to learn Chinese, because it is a difficult thing to learn. But if they do, we should be able to provide them with the opportunity.' She promised to write to the government to raise the issue with officials.

Fan took part in a seminar organised by Hong Kong Unison, which campaigns for the rights of minorities. Some 30 young people and their parents from ethnic-minority groups attended the event in Tai Kok Tsui. Many spoke of the difficulties in trying to learn Chinese because of a lack of school and financial support.

'Hong Kong society expects you to have a far higher standard of Chinese,' said Sango Khosa, 23, a university law student.

Henna Sajjadm, 14, born in Hong Kong of Pakistani descent, is in Form Two at Delia Memorial School in Mei Foo, where all major subjects are taught in English. 'Chinese is so hard. You have to pronounce each word individually,' she said.

The Equal Opportunities Commission recently criticised government inaction in helping minorities integrate into society and achieve the Chinese-language standards necessary to succeed in education.

Unison executive director Fermi Wong Wai-fun said: 'Ethnic minorities in Hong Kong, especially those from the working class, are invisible to most politicians and community leaders. Our needs and struggles are always neglected.'

The government has said it is considering ways to make ethnic-minority students' learning more effective.