Biliteracy and trilingualism in Hong Kong and China

Robert Damian ADAMSON

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers


With the retrocession of Hong Kong to China in 1997, the then Chief Executive of Hong Kong, Tung Chee Hwa, set schools the challenge of fostering biliteracy and trilingualism. Recently, China embarked upon a similarly ambitious policy for some minority groups in the mainland (Feng, 2005). For Hong Kong, biliteracy and trilingualism involved the learning of written Chinese and English, as well as spoken Cantonese (the local dialect), Putonghua (the official language of China) and English (viewed as the major international language). This paper examines the compares the policies in both contexts and finds that them both to be problematic for number of reasons. Finally, it draws upon the lessons learned, plus theories of additive, subtractive and replacive trilingualism to propose more achievable policy goals.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2007


Adamson, B. (2007, January). Biliteracy and trilingualism in Hong Kong and China. Paper presented at the Biennial Comparative Education Society of Asia (CESA) and the Annual Comparative Education Society of Hong Kong (CESHK) Conference: Learning from Each Other in an Asian Century, The University of Hong Kong, China.


  • Educational Policy and Management


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