Government sees help for Hong Kong’s ethnic-minority students as a priority

PUBLISHED : Monday, 12 September, 2016, 5:36pm
UPDATED : Monday, 12 September, 2016, 10:01pm

I refer to Coco So’s letter (“Minorities are not getting the help they need”, September 7).

As Ms So has rightly pointed out, helping our ethnic minority youth (non-Chinese-speaking students) become more proficient in the Chinese language is crucial to their integration into society. This term of the Hong Kong government has accorded such a policy objective priority and implemented several key measures.

From the 2014/15 school year, we introduced the “Chinese Language Curriculum Second Language Learning Framework” in primary and secondary schools. Designed with supporting learning and teaching materials, and additional resources of

HK$200 million a year, the framework aims to help these students learn Chinese as a second language with a view to bridging them to mainstream Chinese-language classes. Some 17,000 students are benefiting from this enhanced support.

Learning a second language should start early. Therefore, in implementing the free quality kindergarten education policy from the 2017/18 school year, the government will provide kindergartens with eight or more non-Chinese-speaking students an additional grant to engage teachers to help these children build a stronger foundation in learning Chinese.

Employment is another key to integration. To provide ethnic minority applicants equal access to job opportunities in government, we have reviewed and adjusted the Chinese language proficiency requirements and recruitment formats of relevant civil service positions.

The Labour Department has strengthened job referral and employment support services for ethnic minority job-seekers, while the Employees Retraining Board offers dedicated training courses to meet their employment needs. The Construction Industry Council has also made special efforts to attract them to work in the sector.

Hong Kong is a city of diversity where people of different races and languages have made their home.

The government will continue to pursue various measures vigorously to promote an inclusive society which provides equal opportunities for all.

Veronica Wong, press secretary to the chief secretary for administration