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E D U C A T I O N
What educational topics are available?
Education is about helping children prepare for later life and is often a means by which children can overcome their current circumstances. Ethnic minority parents may have trouble navigating their way towards a suitable school for their children when many public school interviews are not conducted in English or are discriminatory towards ethnic minorities. Women take up a big burden as they are the primary carers and hand-holders of and for their children.
What are the education resources available on Call Mira?
On Call Mira, you can find advice on classes and university admission and education videos.
Provides help in language examinations
Provides activity classes.
Provides culinary classes free of charge to ethnic minorities and refugees.
Equal Opportunities Commission
The EOC stipulates that:
"In Hong Kong, all eligible local children, including non-Chinese speaking (NCS) children, who are mainly ethnic minorities (EM), are entitled to 12 years of free education, 9 of which is compulsory." (EOC, 2011, p. 2)
This is interesting as it has also been found that although ethnic minorities are given equal rights, a disproportionately small number of EM students form the school population. At the secondary school level, EM students form but 1.1% of the school population. This already small percentage is halved come time for post-secondary education.
Project Gemstone is an initiative by the Hong Kong Police Force that aims to help non-ethnic members of Hong Kong society. This project provides Chinese language classes as well as trips around Hong Kong so that the ethnic minority youths are able to integrate into a society that they might find distancing.
Challenges that ethnic minority youth face with regards to education:
1. EM students are provided with a smaller pool of resources. There is a lack of school places for ethnic minority students.
2. EM students have trouble getting in or staying in schools that have most of their classes conducted in Chinese. In those schools, there are not enough Chinese language learning opportunities that are geared towards a population whose mother tongue is not Chinese and who do not speak Chinese at home.
3. EM students are provided with a perceived lower quality of available educational institutions. Unlike for Chinese students, EM students do not have a plethora of choices. Educational institutions that are suitable for them are in fact limited.
4. Because of the language barrier, EM students have less access to the information about the educational systems. Mothers and teenage-aged students alike face challenges regarding the school placement process which can understandably be confusing and overwhelming.
5. There is little to no interaction between Chinese and ethnic minority students, especially very young ethnic minority children who are in that formative age where learning another language is perhaps the easiest. This lack of interaction might have stemmed from ethnic minority parents' lack of Chinese language ability.
If you are interested in learning more about EM students' educational challenges, this report by Miron Kumar BHOWMIK is an incredibly useful resource.
A useful site for check out is the Education Bureau. This is an official government website created to provide appropriate assistance to all Hong Kongers, including those of ethnic minority origin. During the summers, there is the Summer Bridging Programme that is free for ethnic minority children to integrate into the society around them.
The Education Bureau (introduced to the right) also gives information about both primary and secondary schools, creating school profiles to make looking for a suitable school easier for parents. This is an immensely useful website if you're having problems with finding a school for your child.