Ethnic minority students in a Chinese society: Towards multiculturalism in Hong Kong?

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Ethnic minority students comprise just 2% of Hong Kong's school population. A recently approved Racial Discrimination ordinance has led to a renewed policy interest in these students and their academic progress. In the West, such contexts have led to policies on multiculturalism as a means of embracing the needs of diverse groups within societies. In Hong Kong, however, the prevailing social ethic favours harmony rather than diversity so that the prospects of embracing Western versions of multiculturalism do not seem strong. Nevertheless, some readjustment will be needed if the distinctive needs of ethnic minority students are to be met in a predominantly Chinese society. This paper will address this issue by drawing on a variety of data sources: the current policy debate in Hong Kong relating to ethnic minority students, a recent survey of teachers in schools with responsibilities for ethnic minority students and interviews with ethnic minority parents and students. In so doing, a new policy framework will be developed that might best be described a "multiculturalism with Hong Kong characteristics". This "new multiculturalism" will serve as a basis for meeting the needs of ethnic minority students while also respecting cultural norms that do not support difference affirmative action.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2009



Kennedy, K. J., & Hue, M. T. (2009, June). Ethnic minority students in a Chinese society: Towards multiculturalism in Hong Kong? Paper presented at the Redesigning Pedagogy International Conference: Designing New Learning Contexts for a Globalising World, National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.


  • Asian education & pedagogy
  • Cross-cultural studies