The Gordian knot: Language in education policies in Hong Kong

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Language in education debates in Hong Kong focus on the role and status of English (as the former colonial language and an important means for international communication); Cantonese, the mother tongue of the majority of the population; and Putonghua, the national language of China. I will examine language in education policy from an historical perspective, with particular emphasis on the period after the retrocession of Hong Kong in 1997. The questions I will address include: How have the role and status of each of the three language changed over time? What are the major influences on policy decisions? What do policy changes reveal about educational values and ideologies in Hong Kong? Who wins and who loses out?
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2010



Adamson, B. (2010, October). The Gordian knot: Language in education policies in Hong Kong. Paper presented at the Languages of education: The Chinese context conference, The Hong Kong Institute of Education, China.