Equity of education for South Asian minorities in Hong Kong has become increasingly salient due to the enactment of the Hong Kong Race Discrimination Ordinance in July 2008 and new educational language policies that have impacted these ethnic minority groups disproportionately. Post-colonial Hong Kong is faced with a highly multilingual and ethnically diverse population. In the 2006 census, the population of Hong Kong was 6,864,346 people, 95% of whom were ethnic Chinese. Of the 5% of non-Chinese, signiﬁcant numbers are South Asians, including 112,453 Filipinos (1.64% of the population), 87,840 Indonesians (1.28%), 20,444 Indians (0.3%), 15,950 Nepalese (0.23%), 11,900 Thais (0.17%), 11,111 Pakistanis (0.16%), and people from other South Asian countries including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, and Sri Lanka. These population ﬁgures indicate that language policy in Hong Kong is moving swiftly from diglossic bilingualism to ‘biliteracy and trilingualism’ (Hu, 2007; Poon, 2004, 2010). In the colonial period of British rule, language policy was diglossic, with English being treated as the‘high’ language, while Cantonese, the widely spoken local language in Hong Kong, was a low-status subordinate language. Up until 1998, the majority of schools in Hong Kong used English as the medium of instruction. One of the major changes after the handover of sovereignty to China in 1997 was the biliterate and trilingual (liangwen sanyu) language policy which aimed to balance the status of English, Cantonese, and Putonghua (the national spoken language in China) (Hu, 2007, p. 85). This policy change is in accordance with the ‘mother tongue’ education policy, which wrongly assumes that Hong Kong students all share the same mother tongue (Cantonese). The shift has inadvertently impacted South Asian ethnic minorities, whose limited mastery of Chinese language (Cantonese as the spoken form and traditional Chinese characters for the written form) prevents them from obtaining academic advancement and upward social mobility (Gao & Shum, 2010). Copyright © 2012 Taylor & Francis.
|Title of host publication||Language planning in primary schools in Asia|
|Editors||Richard B. BALDAUF, JR., Robert B. KAPLAN, Knonko M. KAMWANGAMALU, Pauline BRYANT|
|Place of Publication||London|
|ISBN (Print)||9781138107281, 9780415520843|
|Publication status||Published - 2012|