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Ethnic minorities in Hong Kong

Videos in English, Hindi and Nepali help Hong Kong’s ethnic minorities understand city’s education system

  • NGO rolls out explainers in bid to overcome challenges from low level of Chinese language ability in segments of local community
PUBLISHED : Thursday, 01 November, 2018, 7:05pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 01 November, 2018, 10:48pm

An NGO has rolled out video explainers in three languages to help ethnic minorities navigate Hong Kong’s education system.

Unison said many of the city’s ethnic minorities only had a low level of Chinese language ability, leading to obstacles in further studies, employment and access to social services.

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“From our outreach and daily contacts with ethnic minorities, we find that some of them are not familiar with the local education system or school application procedures,” the group said. “Minority parents find it hard to navigate the system due to language barriers and difficulty accessing information.”

To empower the parents to make informed decisions about their children’s education, Unison on Thursday launched the first series of its kind titled “You, Your Child and School”. The series contains six videos in three languages: English, Urdu/Hindi and Nepali.

The series explains to parents the basics of the Hong Kong education system as well as the application procedures for kindergartens and primary schools.

“This is the time when parents do have to look for schools,” executive director Phyllis Cheung Fung-mei said. “We hope this is timely so parents know where to get information.”

We hope this is timely so parents know where to get information
Phyllis Cheung, Unison

The videos show how to choose a suitable school for one’s child and secure a place at a kindergarten and primary school.

“We find that ethnic minority parents do not have any way to find more information about the schools in Hong Kong,” Cheung said.

Parents are further told how to access school profiles, including the support available for ethnic minority students.

They “can see which schools have support for non-Chinese students and what kind of support,” Cheung added, citing the example of whether a school offers after-school tutorials and how students are taught.

The videos are available on Unison’s website (www.unison.org.hk/parentsresources.php) and its YouTube channel (“HKUnison”).

The group has also circulated them via WhatsApp so that parents can view them on their mobile phones. Cheung noted “more than 1,000 people” had received the videos on Thursday morning.

Unison wrote the video scripts “based on what parents want to know”, it added.

Cheung said the Education Bureau had translated its leaflets into seven different languages but that they were not very detailed, usually just giving an overview of the general education system.

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“Some parents told us that the way they translate is not very understandable,” she explained.

“We thought we should use daily conversational language for them to understand so they know what to do.”

Unison next planned to produce videos on securing a place in secondary school as well as explain government policies for ethnic minorities.