Fewer secondary schools using Putonghua to teach Chinese classes in Hong Kong

But Putonghua remains the norm in primary schools

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 26 November, 2016, 10:38pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 26 November, 2016, 11:08pm

The number of schools teaching classes in Putonghua has dropped slightly – which indicates a trend for more educators to scrap the practice, a cultural group said ­yesterday.

The drop was mainly recorded in secondary schools,where there are still around 30 per cent using the official mainland language to teach Chinese lessons.

But Putonghua remains the norm in primary schools, which remained unchanged at 73 per cent last year when compared with the previous year.

The third annual report by Cantonese support group, Societas Linguistica Hongkongensis, polled all 964 primary and secondary schools in the city.

“We believe the number of schools using Putonghua will go down in the long run,” said ­Andrew Chan Lok-hang, convener of the group.

Ip Kin-yuen, lawmaker for the education sector, said it was hard to conclude a decreasing trend for the practice if the drop was only 1 per cent. But he criticised the government for pushing the language policy in a rigid way.

“Using Putonghua depends on issues, such as the ability of students and teachers. If the students cannot manage, it will affect their performance in class and discourage them from speaking,” Ip said.

An Education Bureau spokesman said many studies show the effectiveness of the policy but add that since there are different views on the policy, schools are free to decide whether it is suitable for them to implement Putonghua teaching to Chinese classes.