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Face Sheet:

Study Topic:

Hong Kong Education System and Its Impacts on Social Integration and Mobility of South Asian Ethnic Minorities

Mr. Yaw Bawm Department of Applied Social Science The Hong Kong Polytechnic University August 28, 2008

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Acknowledgement

This study paper would not have been finished without the supports of advisor, Mr. Hui Kam-shing. He tirelessly helped me with valuable guidance, comments and corrections. In addition, thanks to the staffs namely – Mr. Cheng Yiu Tung, Mr. Tak Prasad Gurung, Mr. Lo Kai Chung and Ms. Meri Lalchan from H.K.S.K.H. Lady MacLehose Centre for their time and insightful views on the issue. Furthermore, thank is also due to all the interviewees who willingly and candidly talked and shared their experiences in their studies as well as daily living experience in Hong Kong. Finally, the people who spent some time for the questionnaire are also remembered.

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Table of Contents Chapter One: Introduction ………………………………………………………….. 1 Background ………………………………………………………………….. 1.1 Ethnic Minorities in Hong Kong ………………………………………………….. 1.1.1 Defining of Ethnic ………………………………………………………………. 1.1.2 Population ……………………………………………………………………… 1.2 Discrimination Ordinances ………………………………………………………… Chapter Two: Objectives and Significance of the study ……………………………. 2.1 Objectives of study: ………………………………………………………………... 2.2 Significance of study: ………………………………………………………………. 2.3 Analytical framework of the study ………………………………………………….. Chapter Three: Literature Review …………………………………………………… 3.1 Functions of Education …………………………………………………………… 3.2 Social integration and social mobility: …………………………………………… 3.2.1 Social Integration: ………………………………………………………………… 3.2.2 Social Mobility: ……………………………………………………………………. Chapter Four: Education in Practice ……………………………………… 4.1 Present Education Structure in Hong Kong: ……………………………………….. 4.2 Learning Environment in schools ………………………………………………….. Chapter Five: Difficulties of the Ethnic Minority Groups in Hong Kong ………….. 5.1 Structural Discriminations: …………………………………………………………. 5.2 Undesirable attitude toward outsiders: ………………………………………………. 5.3 Discrimination in Employment: ……………………………………………………. Chapter Six: Analysis and Discussion ……………………………………………….. 6.1 Language Barrier and Social Integration …………………………………………….. 6.2 Language Barrier and Further Studies ………………………………………………. 6.3 Language Barrier and Employment …………………………………………………. 6.4 School Arrangement and Social Integration …………………………………………. 6.5 Racial Discrimination and Social Integration ………………………………………... 6.6 Hong Kong Education Policy and Social Mobility ………………………………….. 6.7 Summary of Impact of Education on Ethnic Minorities ………………………... Chapter Seven: Conclusion and Recommendation ………………………………... 7.1 Conclusion ……………………………………………………………………. 7.2 Suggestions …………………………………………………………………….. Appendix – 1: Interviewees ………………………………………………………….. A – Form-5 Graduates ………………………………………………………………… B – Form-6-7 Graduates ………………………………………………………………. C – High Diploma & Associate Degree Students ……………………………………… D – Social Workers & Ordinary People ……………………………………………….. E. Degree Students ……………………………………………………………………. Appendix – 2: Questionnaire ………………………………………………………. References …………………………………………………………………………… .

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CHAPTER ONE: 1. Background

INTRODUCTION

Hong Kong is claimed to be a world city with multi-cultures and races. Yet studies show that the ethnic minorities are facing various difficulties such as racism, language barrier and structural discriminations in many areas such as in employment, education and access to social welfare. Annie Lin (December 2007) found that 70.3% of employed ethnic minorities experience discrimination in their workplace and 31.8% of them face discrimination during job search1. “The deprivation of educational needs is also confirmed by another study which shows that 15% of ethnic minority children had to wait for more than a year to secure a school place. The long waiting list has left some ethnic minorities with no alternative but to operate their own schools without the support of government resources. These privately run schools are, consequently, unsupervised and of usually poor standard.” 2 Hong Kong Christian Institute also stated that “they are prime targets of harassment by the police who subject them to ID checks at will, and they also face rudeness and discriminatory attitudes in their dealings with government departments.”3 Hong Kong government is often criticized as not paying enough attention to the livelihood of its ethnic minorities. This paper is mainly to investigate the situation of ethnic Pakistani and Nepali minorities in Hong Kong. As education is widely accepted as the key tool to improve one’s socio-economic wellbeing and facilitate social integration, this study is to find out whether Hong Kong education system is functioning as such. If not, it is to analyze the reasons and attempt to suggest appropriate measures or alternatives to improve the situation. 1.1 Ethnic Minorities in Hong Kong 1.1.1 Defining of Ethnic It is believed that there is no universally agreed definition on the term “ethnic”. Tajfel (1981, p-255) defined that it is component of social identity. “That part of an individual's self-concept which derives from his knowledge of his membership of a social group (or groups) together with the value and emotional significance attached to that membership”. In wikipedia.org, “An ethnic group is a group of human beings whose members identify with each other, usually on the basis of preferential endogamy and/or a presumed or real common ancestry. Ethnic identity is further marked by the recognition from others of a group's distinctiveness and by common cultural, linguistic, religious, behavioral or biological traits.” In this paper, ‘ethnic’ is narrowly defined as groups of people who are linguistically, culturally and racially different from the mainstream in a given society. More specifically, in Hong Kong, except local ethnic Chinese, the rests are addressed as ‘ethnic minority groups’. 1.1.2 Population The population of Hong Kong is approximately 7 million. Five percent of the total population is made up of ethnic minorities according to (table: 105) 2006 Population By-census Office, Census & Statistics Department report released in December 2007. Minority groups are comprised of Asian (other than Chinese) – Filipino 1.6%, Indonesian 1.3%, White 0.5%, Indian 0.3%, Nepali 0.2%, Japanese 0.2%, Thai 0.2%, Pakistani 0.2% and other Asian 0.2% and Others 0.3%. As the statistic shows, South East and South Asian are the majority of the Hong Kong’s ethnic minority groups.
Annie Lin, “Racial Discrimination at work in Hong Kong”, December 2004, www.amrc.org.hk/node/842/print (accessed: 26th August 2008) 2 Hong Kong Christian Institute, “Discrimination against New Immigrants from China and Ethnic Minorities” Newsletter Issue 158, November, 2001. http://fungchiwood.com/new-immigrants.htm (accessed: August 26, 2008) 3 Ibid,.
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Hong Kong practically has two types of minority. First, new immigrants from mainland China – despite they are Chinese, often labeled as ‘new arrivals’. But they are not counted in the 5% minority groups. The second type of minority groups which will be focused are both linguistically and ethnically minority. This study focuses on ethnic minorities of South Asian with low socio-economic background, while ethnic minority groups of other counties such as Japan and Korean are mostly affluent people without the problems faced by the South Asian minorities. Since this study is on ethnic – Pakistani, Nepali and Indian, it is appropriate to elaborate more. According to the Census Report, among 342,198 total ethnic population in Hong Kong4, 6.0% are Indians, 4.7% are Nepaleses, and 3.2% are Pakistanis. From the respondents interviewed in this study, the main reason of how and why they became permanent residents of Hong Kong is that their ancestors are serving in British colonial government as soldiers, police, civil servants and security guards. Now, most of them are already the third generation. 1.2 Discrimination Ordinances Hong Kong is one of the cities in the World which respects basic Human Rights. The SAR government enacted discrimination ordinances - Sex Discrimination Ordinance, Disability Discrimination Ordinance, Family Status Discrimination Ordinance and recently the Race Discrimination Bill to enhance individuals’ wellbeing and to eliminate discrimination in the territory. As the territory is claimed to be an international city, these ordinances at least portray that Hong Kong is a friendly place for people from diverse backgrounds. Nonetheless, several studies found that upward social mobility is still very difficult for ethnic minorities. Studies by Loper (2004), Hong Kong Unison Limited and joint-study of PolyU and H.K.S.K.H. Lady MacLehose Centre state that ethnic minority groups are still facing direct and indirect discriminations. More detail elaboration about the discrimination of the ethnic minority groups will be discussed in the later section. CHAPTER TWO: OBJECTIVES AND SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

2.1 Objectives of study: • To investigate the challenges and obstacles faced by the South Asian minority groups in Hong Kong. • To analyze the function of education policy in Hong Kong in enhancing social integration and social mobility of the South Asian minority groups. • To suggest appropriate measures and policies about the education policy in Hong Kong that can better improve the livelihood of the South Asian minority groups in Hong Kong. • To study the roles of NGOs in lending helping hands to the needy minority groups. 2.2 Significance of study: Several studies have indicated the language barrier, cultural and racial issues between local Chinese people and non-Chinese minorities hinder the integration of ethnic minorities into the society. Critics often voice out the Hong Kong government is lagging behind in addressing the issues. This paper attempts to study the impact of Hong Kong education policy on its minority students and the challenges they are confronting. It is hoped that better understanding of the issue will help in formulation of more effective education policy that not only improve the livelihood of the minorities but also enhance social integration and stability. As result, the society would be harmonious and Hong Kong’s reputation as a metropolis will be enhanced. The

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HK Census and Statistics Department, 2007, p-17.

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importance and benefits of social stability in Hong Kong will be better appreciated if to look at the damages in other parts of the world caused by racial conflicts. In recent years, the eruption of riots5 between immigrant communities, local community and police forces in Paris were a good example for social conflict. The clashes left several dead, more than one police station were set fired, many vehicles were destroyed. The events are often referred to due to lack of comprehensive social integration policy. As stated by Affan Seljuq, (1997)6 “Racism and ethnic violence is on the increase threatening the stability and integrity of French society. It is a matter of great concern that almost 50% of the immigrants are unemployed. Living in an affluent society, they became more depressed and disillusioned with their standard of life, and were vulnerable to antisocial tendencies and psychological complexes that could ultimately lead to far reaching consequences.” It seems very unlikely now the clash between these ethnic minority groups and local community in Paris will happen in Hong Kong because the minority population in Hong Kong is insignificant. However, as this study shows that ethnic minorities have average birthrate of 4 children per woman, population grows fast. As the population grows while the current situation remains unresolved, social instability is possible. 2.3 Analytical framework of the study The main theme of this study is to try to find out whether the current Hong Kong education policy is serving as a tool for social integration and enabling upward social mobilization for less fortunate people, especially ethnic minorities in the territory. Particularly, the following areas of the ethnic minorities will be studied: - Level of self-confidence after their graduation - Level of satisfaction from study - Level of motivation to continue further study - Level of feeling being integrated into local community - Open question: their wants and needs if they are given the opportunity to request (eg. from their opinion, what government & NGOs can do for them) The case-study approach is the core method of this study. Individual cases of over 12 Form-5 students, three High Diploma students and two Associate Degree students are studied through interviews with them. In addition, as a supplement to the study, two local Chinese social workers, one mosque leader and two degree graduates are interviewed. Furthermore, data from 30 questionnaires is analyzed as an addition data other than through the individual interviews. CHAPTER THREE: 3.1 Functions of Education Education is widely believed as it has various political, social and economic functions in society. According to Bernstein (1971, p-47) “The basic Education knowledge consists of curriculum, pedagogy and evaluation. The curriculum defines what counts as valid knowledge; pedagogy defines what counts as valid transmission of knowledge and evaluation defines what counts as a valid realization of this knowledge on the part of the taught.” It is believed that defining what valid educational knowledge will vary from country to country depending upon the nature of political culture and socio-economic development in each country. Defining valid educational knowledge usually serves the best interests of ruling class in society in the name of public interest. Corson (1998, p-11) also asserted that most of the time, people in power are “trying to
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LITERATURE REVIEW

Sebastian Usher, “French press searches for solutions”, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4407456.stm www.gmu.edu/academic/ijps/vol2_2/seljuq.htm (accessed: 20th August 2008)

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work out in advance, from their own interests as dominant individuals what arrangements would be chosen by other people whose interests may not be readily understood by anyone who is not from the relevant class, gender, race or culture.” In fact, in the author’s home country, Myanmar (Burma), the military government does not include any texts of human rights and democracy even in high school curriculum. It is because the government considers these as invalid and illegitimate educational knowledge. The government is afraid of that if more people know and understand the value of human rights and democracy, they will revolve against them. Thus, they excuse themselves as they are safeguarding public interest – stability and unity. Firstly, from political view, Bernstein stated that education is a reflection of ‘the distribution of power and the principles of social control’ can be observed when a society selects, classifies, distributes, transmits and evaluates the educational knowledge that considered to be public. For example, decision makers would select the contents of curriculum so that all the students will learn the same knowledge, social norms and value and will have similar thought. Consequently, through the mass education, everyone will have something in common and it may enhance social stability. Next, language becomes important since it also has political implication, for instance, unity by common language. Language, syllabus, subjects knowledge are deliberately chosen to cultivate citizenship in a specific society, social cohesion and to integrate people of different cultural, religious and linguistic backgrounds in society. In another word, education is to create social stability, which is in the best interest of the authority. Especially, language is a very important mechanism in transmission of knowledge. What language to be used as for medium of instruction and official language, this certainly carries political meanings. Potts (2003, p190) opined that language used in schools has specific purpose – political unity. In Tibet, Chinese authority allowed Tibetan to be the medium of instruction in 1980s but replaced it with Chinese in 1990s. It is because the Chinese authority fears that encouraging Tibetan-medium schools will heighten Tibetan nationalist feelings and demands for more autonomy from China. Hong Kong government was also pushing bilingual legislation long before 1997. After handover, the HKSAR government immediately included Chinese as official language in courts together with English. Later, it was extended to be the language of medium of instruction in most schools. This really signifies that language is also viewed as national identity and pride. Secondly, education in sociological view, Dye (2008, p-125) opined that education was to create social cohesion by teaching or providing values, aspiration and a sense of identity to less fortunate members of society, to resolve and even to prevent racial conflict by inspiring people respect for diversity. Dye viewed education as to create social harmony by teaching children to get along well with others and to adjust to group living, to enhance social wellbeing such as by teaching students to be good driver in order to reduce traffic accidents and providing medical treatment and giving health training and physical education to fight disease and poor health. Furthermore, education is to eliminate social illness such as drug abuses and sex abuses by educating students about these and teaching moral education. More importantly, education is also to enable every individual to achieve their goals in life. In other word, it is to make upward social mobility possible for every student. According to Haveman and Smeeding (2006, p-129), “Higher education is expected to promote the goal of social mobility and to make it possible for anyone with ability and motivation to succeed.” For instance, a poor student can be prosperous through hard work and effort. The authors stated that President George W. Bush is one of the many who considers education as a primary force for economic and social mobility in the United States. The study also showed that higher education attainment earns greater income. (Ibid. p-126) “Median income in 2000 for Americans with a bachelor’s degree or higher was more than double that for high school graduates.” Nowadays, it becomes 7

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common sense that if one is to be eligible for promotion to senior executive level in a company, he or she must at least possess a Master of Business Administration (MBA). This strengthens the view that education can function as a tool for upward social mobilization. Finally, education is also widely accepted as the major key to make labour force more productive, skillful, healthy and competitive. To eliminate unemployment rate by teaching various job skills; to lift people from poverty by teaching to enhance their full potential. Scholars conclude that the most recommended ‘solution’ to the problems today in society lies at very basic foundation - better schooling. In brief, in this era of globalization, education institutions are also perceived as not just the place for educating people but also as the socializing agents. Students from different ethnic, religious and cultural backgrounds get together, establish friendships and learn to respect diversities through interactions at least in ideal intention. Therefore, this paper is to attempt in investigating whether education policy in Hong Kong is enabling all of its members, particularly the ethnic minorities who are non-Chinese to maximize their potential and enhance their social mobility, and can enhance social cohesion and social stability as suggested in theory.

3.2 Social integration and social mobility:
3.2.1 Social Integration: The United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) states that ‘Social Integration’ can be conceptualized in three different ways. According to UNRISD (1994, p-3) “It is an inclusionary goal, implying equal opportunities and rights for all human beings. For some, it is an inclusionary goal, implying equal opportunities and rights for all human beings. In this case, becoming more integrated implies improving life chances. To others, however, increasing integration has a negative connotation, conjuring up the image of an unwanted imposition of uniformity. And, to still others, the term does not necessarily imply either a positive or a negative state. It is simply a way of describing the established patterns of human relations in any given society.” The UNRISD elaborates further that certain problems often arise if ‘social integration’ is used in the first sense as defined above. The summary of the potential problems are as follow. It is “intellectually easy and often politically expedient” to presume that serious problems of poverty and injustice in society can be alleviated by including people that formerly excluded from certain activities or benefits. However, in many cases, the “existing pattern of development may be economically and ecologically unsustainable or politically repressive.” Thus, the UNRISD suggests that it is always essential to ask “inclusion in what and on what terms?” “Social integration” can be sought without taking sufficient consideration for the necessity of cultural diversity. When it happens, there can be negative impact of imposition of uniformity for some groups especially minorities. The UNRISD states that even though “the most impoverished and apparently disorganized communities have their-own forms of social organization”. Thus, formulating social policies without insightful understanding of the real world of the disadvantaged is a dangerous inclusionary rhetoric. Lastly, “there is a risk that narrow concentration on the normative goal of social integration will make disintegration undesirable by definition. In some cases, however, the disintegration of existing systems of social relations can be essential before progress toward a more just and equitable society can be made. The demise of slavery provides a case in point.” 8

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In this paper, social integration is perceived as a process of making ethnic minorities/deprived groups to integrate into Hong Kong mainstream society and shaping the attitude of the mainstreams to embrace multi-ethnicities. It is also a process of making fair and just opportunities for all members of the society and making resources and services available for all members of the society.

3.2.2 Social Mobility: Answers.com defines ‘social mobility’ as “the process by which people move between different social layers such as social classes or economic groups. High social mobility requires that there is a relatively open access to valued positions. Low social mobility exists where the valued positions are transmitted mainly through a system of inheritance.” Stephen J. Sills, PhD (Assistant Professor, Sociology Department, University of North Carolina Greensboro) stated that “In a stratified society, social mobility refers to the increase or decrease of the class or status of individuals or groups”7 According to Sills (2008)8, an open class system for social structure that provides opportunities for changing one’s relative position in the society is a necessary condition. The US is often cited as an open society or meritocratic society where individual with ability and talent can change his or her social status. In contrast, India is frequently referred to as a typical example of closed society where one’s social status is determined by birth. Because of caste system, social mobility is impossible in one’s lifetime. If one is born to be low caste family, one will always be low caste regardless of her or his lifetime accomplishments and vice versa. Despite some few changes (such as affirmative actions) made which allow low caste and poor people accessible to higher education, the tradition of low caste and untouchable class is still common in India. Edelweiss (2008, p-4) summarized the characteristics of the two societies. Open Society 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. Freedom Democracy Equality Rule of Law Human Rights Social Justice Social Responsibility Recognition of human fallibility 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Close Society Tribal Taboos: Shut out all foreign influences Autocracy Anti-universalism or particularism: Do not mix with inferiors Anti-humanitarianism: Shut out all equalitarian, democratic, individualistic ideologies Autarchy: Be independent of trade Mastery: Dominate and Enslave neighbors

CHAPTER FOUR:

EDUCATION IN PRACTICE

4.1 Present Education Structure in Hong Kong:
The current Hong Kong education structure can be divided into three parts, with early childcare education like kindergarten is excluded, namely the Primary, Secondary and University education: Six years in Primary school – P1 to P6; seven years in Secondary School – Form-1 to Form-7; and then three years in university but some programmes require longer.

This paper is not yet published. But according to the author it is a chapter of book, “Social Mobility” which is accepted by Thousand Oaks, CA,: Sage Publication, 2008. (Article available at www.scribd.com/doc/2279744/Social-Mobility-Final) 8 Ibid.

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There are two public examinations – one in Form-5 (Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination or HKCCE) and the other in Form-7 (HKALE Hong Kong Advanced Level Examination, known as A-level or AC). Form-7 students can continue to university study if their A-level examination’s grades are qualified. Under the current system, it is generally three years in university but it may be varied base upon the field of study. However, in the new senior secondary and higher education academic structure, it will be six years in secondary school and four years in university9. It also states that there will be only one public examination for the Form-6 students for the entrance requirements of the university. At present, Hong Kong offers nine years of free education – from Primary one to secondary Form-3 and there will be twelve years of free education from September 200910. In order to go to university, language competency is one the compulsory requirements. All local students must pass two language tests – either Chinese and English or English and other language such as French in their matriculation examination, i.e., A-level examination. Therefore, most of the non-Chinese speaking students choose to study English and French aiming at entering into the university. The number of students among non-Chinese speaking students in university is extremely low. According to 2006 statistic11, the number of ethnic minority students who are studying for ‘Post-secondary - Degree course’ was: 30 Nepalese, 179 Indians, 93 combinations of (Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Sri-Lankan). Under the new secondary and higher academic structure reform, Hong Kong’s eight universities collectively announced the entry requirements - four cores (Chinese Language, English Language, Mathematics and Liberal Studies) and plus one elective subject. Some programmes in some universities require two elective subjects. 4.2 Learning Environment in schools Schools are conceptualized as socializing agents. A lot of interactions and engagements among students from all backgrounds are expected. Dye (2008, p-143) opined that “Students must be engaged with diverse peers if we expect learning and development to occur and the existence of a racially and ethnically diverse body is a necessary condition for such engagement”. One of the intended objectives of the Hong Kong Education is to “provide a balanced and diverse school education that meet the different needs of our students; and help them build up knowledge, values and skills for further studies and personal growth” (Hong Kong Education Bureau, 2008). However, the situation in reality can be quite different. In public opinion, Hong Kong has three ‘Bands’ of schools with Band-1 being the highest, accepting the most academically gifted students. It is said that the schools where great majority of ethnic minority students studying are Band-3. Very few local Chinese students study in these schools. So, the schools are almost racially segregated. As matter of fact, local Chinese students and ethnic minority students are separated by classes and taught separately according to the interviewees. Perhaps, students will learn academic skills but chance of learning to respect diversities and values will obviously be limited since the interaction between local Chinese and non-Chinese students in classes is severely limited. Almost all the interviewees said that they make friends with local Chinese students but seldom go out with them beyond classroom and out of the campus. The interviewees are asked to describe their interactions
HK Education Bureau, Unified Announcement of University Entrance Requirements under the new “334” Academic Structure, Feb, 2008. 10 Xinhuanet quoted Chief Executive Donald Tsang, 2007-10-11. 11 Census & Statistic Dept. (2nd March 2006), Hong Kong Resident Population (Studying Full Time In HK) by Ethnicity and Educational Attainment (Highest Level Attended), Table B113, HKSAR.
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with local Chinese students. They reply that the level of interaction is just say ‘HI’ when they meet. For most of the interviewees, their relationship with the local students do not go beyond ‘just saying HI’. CHAPTER FIVE: DIFFICULTIES OF THE ETHNIC MINORITY GROUPS IN HONG KONG

The challenges confronting ethnic minorities are numerous. According to the interviews with the minority students and individuals and previous studies done by Loper (2004), the challenges can be summarized as follows: 5.1 Structural Discriminations: The structural discriminations can be summarized as follow. Firstly, a Pakistani female graduate correctly observes that Hong Kong’s social environment itself is not multi-culture friendly. She compares Hong Kong supermarkets with ones in Canada. In Canada, various foods: Asian foods, Western foods, Muslim foods, etc., are available in supermarkets. In contrast, supermarkets in Hong Kong, mostly Chinese foods are available and Muslim friendly foods are completely unavailable. In fact, according to author’s personal experience, the Metropoli food market next to Polytechnic University do not provide any Muslim food. Moreover, the second floor of the plaza which is also full of restaurants and there is no Muslim restaurant in such a big mall. Furthermore, Kiran’s story reinforces the situation. Kiran, (Form-5 graduate) is a Muslim girl who lives in Wong Tai Sin. She said that she has to go to Tsim Sha Tsui or Mongkok to buy foods because there is no Muslim friendly shop in her place. Considering the fact that a round trip traveling fee of HK$12 between Wong Tai Sin and Mongkok and time, it just gives additional burden to her family every time going shopping. However, the counter argument of why the Muslim food is not readily available is due to economic reasoning. Muslim population in Hong Kong is so small which implies the demand for Muslim food is so insignificant, therefore, businesspeople have no incentives for selling it. Then, Shah Tanveer, a Mosque leader in Kwai Cheung, shares his frustrating experience at hospital with author during interview. One day, when he went to a hospital for his eyes. He was not only feeling uncomfortable but also his vision was blurry. Next week, he has to preach in mosque which needs a lot of preparation. But the doctor said to him to wait for three months. (However, it is said that queuing time is the same for all except famous figure.) Since he was feeling uncomfortable, he chose to go to private hospital. It cost him over HK$800. Since he only earns slightly over HK$6,000 per month, it was a big cost for him, he said. In fact, other interviewees also told the author their experience at hospital. Common experience is about language barrier. They said that medical staffs sometimes shift their priority and attention if they don’t speak local language. Finally, on 17th July 2008, the author accompanied two Nepali students who just finished Form-5 to labor department in Quary Bay. It was found that the institution was simply not designed for non-Chinese speakers. In front, there is a big TV screen showing a list of job announcement. Among them, only three items were in English. Additionally, he randomly looked at about 15 small booklets of job advertisements on shelves. All of them were in Chinese. This was one of the kinds of difficulties that the ethnic minority groups who are non-Chinese speakers have to face. 5.2 Undesirable attitude toward outsiders: During accompanying with the two students to labour department, the author was waiting outside during their interviews. The queuing number was 15 and 16. The author observed the interviews time. It took about 5 to 10 minutes for each Chinese people prior to them. But it only took about 2 minutes each for Limbu and Vikash. After the interview, both students said that they didn’t think that they would be employed. 11

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The mosque leader also shares his uncomfortable experience in bus. One day, he was sitting on a seat, it was also quite crowded. A woman at about 60, came in and he offered his seat to her. But she rejected his offer and gave him strange look. He felt quite bad. He remarked that it is the attitude that should be changed. Moreover, it seems that majority of Hong Kong people have undesirable attitude toward outsiders. After the first year at PolyU, the author began to realize that it is not so easy to mingle with local students. At first, the author thought perhaps it was because he was a lot older than all his classmates and he does not speak their language. But then, the author observed the interactions between local students and mainland Chinese students. The author knew quite a lot of mainland students, many of them are from Guangdong, Shenzhen provinces. They speak fluent Cantonese and they are young. But the author still rarely sees local students and mainland students going out for lunch together. They seldom gather together in student hall. Sometime, the mainland Chinese students and the local students get together just because they have to do school projects or home works together. It is not only the author’s own observation but the friends from mainland Chinese also express their similar feeling in this regards. TANG (2002, P-144) found that ethnic minorities in Hong Kong are “marginalized”. He stated that “marginality is the scenario of both structural and cultural alienation. Students experiencing significant linguistic and cultural differences in Hong Kong, and yet receiving insufficient social support and recognition from peers, school and family by and large fail to adapt to the new environment and find themselves alienated.” On 10th August 2008, the author had a lunch gathering with his Hong Kong friends at a Karaoke restaurant in Mongkok. Three of them are female friends and one is male. They are all graduates except one female friend who is in her final year. As it happened that they asked the author what he was doing for his summer break and he told them he was doing a small study on the impact of Hong Kong education system on ethnic minority students. The author shared his finding with them that Hong Kong people are generally racist and have negative attitudes toward outsiders. To the author’s surprise, all his friends agreed. 5.3 Discrimination in Employment: Almost half of the students that the author has talked to were not born in Hong Kong. Some of them came to Hong Kong just three or four years ago. Most of them have already finished primary school in Nepal and started their secondary education in Hong Kong. They study in schools where medium of instruction is English. None of them have functional level of reading and writing Chinese skill. Some of them even cannot speak Chinese to functional level. As a result, they have hard time in pursuing job in labour market. However, despite having the ability to speak, write and read Chinese, the students express that there is racism issue. They said that it was still not easy to find job because of their race. According to the paper submitted by HK SKH Lady MacLehose Centre to Legislative Council in July 2007, due to low academic attainment with age between 25-34 among Pakistani and Nepali, their participation in labor market is also distinctively low. According to the statistic12, the labor participation of ethnic Pakistani is even lower than of Nepali: Nepali labour participation rate is 83% and of Pakistani is 64%. The Centre also noted that South Asians who possess tertiary pre-degrees from their home countries may not be recognized in Hong Kong by both government and private sectors. This makes the situation even worse. Indeed, this is a great concern because almost all the South Asians study at ‘Band-3’ schools which are perceived as poor quality in public perception. This may also affect employment opportunities of the minorities. CHAPTER SIX: ANALYSIS AND DISCUSSION

It is no doubt that the Hong Kong education system has great impact on ethnic minority students. However, the study shows that under the current Hong Kong education policy, what the minority groups
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Census & Statistic Dept. (2001), Thematic Report – Ethnic Minority, 2001 Population Census, Table 6.1, P.52. HKSAR.

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benefit from the education system is mainly basic skills such as reading, writing, basic technical skills through vocational trainings. It is very difficult for the minorities to get access to higher education. Hong Kong education system has not yet functioned as a tool to enhance social integration and social mobility is mainly due to language barrier, school arrangement and racial discrimination. 6.1 Language Barrier and Social Integration Firstly, Hong Kong education policy is not encouraging social integration as it is theoretically perceived because of language barrier. It is a major obstruction for ethnic minorities to get acquainted with local people and culture. Obviously, ethnic minorities regularly do not watch local Chinese TV programmes and Chinese movies and listen to Chinese music. Their interaction with local people is minimal. Interestingly, the level of appreciation of local culture such as enjoying local entertainments (movies, music, theatres) among the interviewees with and without Chinese language ability is significantly different. In questionnaire, interviewees were asked to respond either ‘agree’ or ‘disagree’ to the statement, “I regularly watch Chinese TV/movies and listen to Chinese music”. Among the interviewees without the language ability, 56% of them disagree with the statement. In contrast, all the interviewees with the language ability agree with the statement. Furthermore, 56% of the interviewees without the language ability said that they have problem to interact with local people. Whereas, only 33% of the interviewees with the language ability stated that they have such difficulty. Both groups of the interviewees however expressed that they do not feel being integrated into Hong Kong society. Besides, great majority of the interviewees also said that they do not have the feeling of integration. According to the author’s own observation on interaction among local employees and ethnic minority employees at H.K.S.K.H. Lady MacLehose Centre, there is virtually no interaction between the two groups. Noticeable interaction only occurs when they need to talk about work related issues. 6.2 Language Barrier and Further Studies Minority students have double barriers when it comes to language issue because neither English nor Chinese are their mother tongue. It is believed that this is part of reasons why the minority students do very poorly in HKCEE public examination. Overwhelming majority of the interviewees did not get enough scores to be promoted to Form-6 after they graduated from Form-5. This year13, 106,770 students took the HKCEE exam. 55,260 students are eligible to be promoted to secondary six or Form-6. But it is reported that there are only 32,000 places are available which means only students with high scores will get a seat. Thus, unlucky 23,260 students are left with two choices; either go to work or go to Institute of Vacation Education schools or some community colleges (they are private) to study pre-High Diploma or pre-Associate Degree. In private colleges, for instance at Hong Kong Community College, it takes one year for pre-HighDip or pre-Associate Degree and costs over HK$40,000. Moreover, the programmes are only in Chinese. Furthermore, according to the interviewees, there are only two vocational education schools that offer these programmes in English. This automatically stops many ethnic minority students pursuing further studies. Additionally, choice of programmes is also limited in these schools. For instance, only Business, Computer Science, Finance, Hospitality programmes are taught in English whereas wider choices are available in Chinese

13

The Standard (local free English daily newspaper), front page, 4th August 2008, Vol, 1. No.235.

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programmes. But they are public schools funded by the government, thus, it only costs about HK$12,000 per year. After completion of High Diploma or Associate Degree, they can enter the university if they manage to get very high grades in their HighDip or Associate Degree. It is bitterly competitive since very limited quotas are made available especially for students who enter the university via this channel. Consequently, this prevents many ethnic minorities from becoming university graduates. University education becomes almost impossible for them to receive. Interviewees were asked if they knew anyone or their friends who were studying at local universities, their answer was they knew none. 6.3 Language Barrier and Employment Since all local students are required to pass two language tests in order to enroll at local universities, virtually all the ethnic minority students study English and French instead of English and Chinese because they know that they cannot pass Chinese. The result is that they end up being handicapped in language ability since French is virtually useless in the territory. This is a major drawback for them in pursuing jobs. Language barrier is not only an obstruction for social integration but also is a stumbling block for ethnic minority students for their further studies in the territory to achieve their social mobility. 6.4 School Arrangement and Social Integration Secondly, school arrangement is another hindrance for social integration. Schools are conceptualized as socializing agents. A lot of interactions and engagements among students from all backgrounds are expected. Dye (2008, p-143) opined that “Students must be engaged with diverse peers if we expect learning and development to occur and the existence of a racially and ethnically diverse body is a necessary condition for such engagement”. However, the situation in reality can be quite different. In public opinion, Hong Kong has three ‘Bands’ of schools with Band-1 being the highest, accepting the most academically gifted students. It is said that the schools where great majority of ethnic minority students studying are Band-3. Very few local Chinese students study in these schools. So, the schools are almost racially segregated. As a matter of fact, local Chinese students and ethnic minority students are separated by classes and taught separately. Perhaps, students will learn academic skills but chance of learning to respect diversities and values will obviously be limited since the interaction between local Chinese and non-Chinese students in classes is severely limited. Almost all the interviewees said that they make friends with local Chinese students but seldom go out with them beyond classroom and out of the campus. The interviewees are asked to describe their interactions with local Chinese students. They reply that the level of interaction is just say ‘HI’ when they meet. For most of the interviewees, their relationship with the local students does not go beyond ‘just saying HI’. 6.5 Racial Discrimination and Social Integration The study shows that racial discrimination may also have been an obstruction for social integration. Great majority of the interviewees said, they felt that they are not welcome when they talked to local people. They felt that as they did not have something in common with locals which they could talk over. Additionally, ethnic minorities often face isolation from local people. Shah Tanveer’s experience is a typical example. One day on a crowded bus, when a woman around 60 got in, he offered his seat. But she did not show any sign of gratitude and refused his offer. He felt so uneasy. Another similar story, last year, Rana 14

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Faisal and his sister visited a local social service centre. His sister wanted to volunteer there and applied to do so. But after one week, she stopped going to the centre. He asked why. She told him that she did not receive warm welcome from people there as she expected. She felt lonely. Consequently, such kind of cold relationship could discourage people for further interaction. According to seminar paper “Seminar on Ethnic Minority Livelihood in Hong Kong – Studying Australia’s Experience Moving towards a multicultural Hong Kong” by The Hong Kong Council of Social Service (HKCSS, 28 March 2006), that neither the ethnic minorities nor local Chinese have been able to adapt each other’s cultures. Such kind of racial and cultural gap is something that Hong Kong education policy has yet to bridge. 6.6 Hong Kong Education Policy and Social Mobility It is hard to see the present Hong Kong education policy as a functioning tool for promoting social mobility particularly for ethnic minorities. As described above, because of language barrier, ethnic minority students have only limited choice in both schools and programmes. It is hard for them to get access to higher education. The number of students among non-Chinese speaking students in university is extremely low. According to 2006 statistic14, the number of ethnic minority students who were studying for ‘Post-secondary Degree course’ was: 30 Nepalese, 179 Indians, 93 combinations of (Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Sri-Lankan). 6.7 SUMMARY OF IMPACT OF EDUCATION ON ETHNIC MINORITIES The questionnaire sample size is in fact, very small – only 27 in total because the study is based up qualitative interviews. Questionnaire presented a series of statements and asked the participants to respond whether they agree or disagree with the statements. It is to explore how the ethnic minority students feel about their study and living experience in Hong Kong. The degree of satisfaction from study, level of self-confidence, motivation of future study, the level of their appreciation of local culture, and whether they feel that they are integrated into Hong Kong society. The Scale/Level-1 being strongly disagree; Level-2 disagree; Level-3 agree; and Level4 strongly agree. The questionnaire is purposefully designed without neutral position because author wants participants to take side. So, how this small questionnaire is calculated? The numbers or frequencies of respondents on each statement are multiplied with the corresponding scale (level 1 – 4). Then, the result from all the four levels is summed and is divided by the total number of the participants to get average number. (Please refer to questionnaire in Appendix - 3.) As the table 01 shows, the motivation for study is the highest whereas appreciation of local culture and feeling of integration are the lowest in the table which are below the average. Even though students have very
Census & Statistic Dept. (2nd March 2006), Hong Kong Resident Population (Studying Full Time In HK) by Ethnicity and Educational Attainment (Highest Level Attended), Table B113, HKSAR.
14

Table, 01

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strong motivation for study, in reality as stated above, their ratio in university is extremely low. In logical sense, the number of ethnic minority students in local universities should correspond to the motivation. However, this is not the case. This suggests that there is some kind of injustice in Hong Kong education system/policy. The questionnaire is analyzed in comparison between the two groups of participants – participants without or little Chinese language I regularly watch Chinese TV/movies and listen to Chinese music. skill and participants with good I know the names of some of the Hong Kong celebrities. 100% 61% Chinese language skill. Both groups of participants express that they are I can name at least one of the legislative council members. 78% 61% satisfied with their HKCEE exam I have participated in public demonstrations at least once in 67% 67% result, have self-confidence and have past 12 months. high motivation for future studies. However, when it comes to the level of their appreciation of local culture (Table-02) and their feeling of integration into Hong Kong society (Table-03), the result is quite different between the two groups.
Table - 02. 'Appreciation of local culture', agree/disagree with following statements With Language Skill 100% Without Language Skill 44% Table, 03, Integration into Hong Kong society, agree/disagree with the following statements.

Participants with good Chinese language ability tend to appreciate local Chinese culture I have good friends of local people. more, have easier time in I have regular social activities with local people. 56% 56% communicating with local people than the one without language skill. I have no problem to communicate with local people. 67% 44% But it is shown that they have the I feel that I have integrated into Hong Kong society. 56% 56% same or similar level of feeling of integration into Hong Kong society and socializing with their local peers. (Please see, Appendix 4 & 5)
With Language Skill 78% Without Language Skill 78%

CHAPTER SEVEN: 7.1 Conclusion

CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION

As stated above, function of education is not just to teach people how to read and write but also is to enable all the individuals to achieve their goal in life. In addition, it functions as a tool to enhance social integration and social mobility. However, this ideal is not reflected in the reality. The ethnic minority groups in particular, most of the Pakistani and Nepali are already third generation. Yet as the interviews concluded, they do not have a feeling of being integrated into Hong Kong society. Tertiary university education seems far away for them. The ideal of ‘education functions as a tool to enhance social mobility’ does not seem to apply to these ethnic minorities. Their presence in local universities is virtually invisible; in contrast, participation in low paid job market is distinctively obvious. To Summarize, the interviews concluded that the major problem ethnic minorities face is the language barrier. Because of this, they face discrimination in labour market; have limited choice of schools and programmes. It also hinders social interaction with local people. Ethnic minority parents do not know how Hong Kong education system works such Joint University Programmes Admissions System (JUPAS) and Secondary School Places Allocation (SSPA) System. These factors become part of the reasons that make harder for them to get access to higher tertiary education. Since possession of a first degree is practically a prerequisite for entering job market, they have comparatively harder time for their social mobility because they have double barriers in pursuing higher education.

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7.2

Suggestions

Therefore, various interest groups (eg. Hong Kong Christian Service, HKSKH LadyMacLehose Centre, Unison Hong Kong, Christian Actions) and researchers (eg. Kelley Loper and CUHK Professors: Kwongleung Tang, Hung Wong, and Dr. Chau-kiu Cheung) have suggested the policy makers a wide range of measures to improve the situation. Some of the common recommendations are as follows. Firstly, despite language issue is recognized as the key problem for ethnic minorities in Hong Kong education system, it is also conceptualized as a tool for social integration by having one common language. Therefore, it is recommended that tailor-make Chinese curriculum for ethnic minority students should be made in order to make easier and encourage them to learn Chinese. Secondly, they stated that ethnic minority parents know little about Hong Kong education system and school selection and allocation procedures and process. Thus, the government should educate them such as through pamphlets with their own languages, holding forums in their mother tongue, etc. Since quite a few of local NGOs have already been providing a few services for ethnic minorities, they can play a big role in this regard; however, they should be supported with additional financial resources for the tasks. Thirdly, they suggested that teachers should be provided with additional professional trainings to be more effective teachers. Rana Faisal (on of the interviewees) also thinks that understanding between teachers and students is very superficial because of cultural diversities. He believes that teachers do not have substantial experience in teaching in multi-cultural environment. Thus, they should be provided necessary professional training. Fourthly, it is to provide additional financial resources to schools which admit minority students so that they can make necessary arrangement for minority students. It is hoped that admission of ethnic minority students to mainstream schools will enhance social interaction between the two groups. Again, NGOs can play crucial role for the social integration. For example, during the study period, H.K.S.K.H LadyMaclehose Centre has organized few social gatherings with ethnic minority youths. This certainly can enhance social integration. The government should allocate resource particularly for this. In addition to above recommendations, affirmative measure could be another option to enhance social mobility for ethnic minorities through higher education. For example, the government can require all the local universities to allocate certain number of seats for minority students for certain period of time or to relax the requirements such as language exemption. Such kind of affirmative actions have been practiced in many countries such as in US and India. Of course, it is also controversial. Last but not the least, the author believes that government alone cannot solve the problems; ethnic minorities have to do their parts such as learning local language. As questionnaire explains, ethnic minority students do not watch local TV programmes or listen to Chinese music. This may be an impediment to language acquisition and as well as getting acquainted with local culture and people. As Rana Faisal (Pakistani interviewee) suggests, Ethnic minorities should work harder in order to conquer the language problem. In order to advocate the minorities to learn local language and culture, both the government and NGOs should recruit or employ ethnic minorities for social integration because they may be more effective than Chinese social workers in communicating with the minorities. It may be more convincing since they have same culture, faith and speak same language.

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A – Form-5 Graduates

APPENDIX - 1: INTERVIEWEES

Kiran15 is a Muslim girl born in Hong Kong and lives in Wong Tai Sin. She has one elder sister, two younger brothers. She speaks Cantonese quite well. She said, she has no Chinese friend and has never gone out with local Chinese people. She just finished Form-5. Asked if she is satisfied with her result in HKCCE public exam, she feels, she could have done better. She was asked whether she often watches movies or listens to Chinese music and knows any local celebrities. She said that she knows no local celebrities but watch local Chinese movies few times a week. She has never participated in any public demonstration. She has no knowledge on local public agencies such as Equal Opportunity Commission, Women Commission and knows no legislative council member. This implies that her interactions with local culture are in fact very limited. But she said that she does not have any feeling of being isolated from society. Daily living experience – since there is no Muslim restaurant or shop in Wong Tai Sin, she has to go to Mongkok or Tsim Sha Tsui for shopping foods. She complains ‘very inconvenient and extra travel costs’. Finally, asked what request she would make to government and NGOs if opportunity given, she said she does not have anything in mind for the moment.

A.1

A.2

Abhijit Sunwar16 is another Nepali student who just finished Form-5. He does not speak Chinese. He has talent of painting. Asked whether he is satisfied with his HKCEE exam result, he said even though he is not qualified to be promoted to Form-6, he is content with the result because he did not put much effort. He is planning to go to a vocational education school just like everybody else. He has participated in various public demonstrations. Asked him whether he feels he is integrated into local society, responded – “just feel normal to me”.

A.3

Meri Lalchan17 is another Form-5 graduate, who was born in Nepal but she has lived in Hong Kong for more than eleven years now. She can speak multi languages – Nepali (mother tongue), English, Chinese, Urdu and Hindi. She is also from a big family – has fours siblings. She said, she has no problem in communicating/interacting with local people. She does not feel isolation. She makes friends with people but again, she rarely has social time with them. She thinks that she is an active participant in civil activities such as demonstrations.

A.4

Shaman18 is a Pakistani girl, born in Pakistan. She has three sisters and one brother. She has lived in Hong Kong for 8 years. She studies in Delia Memorial School. She recently finished Form-5. While overwhelming majority of ethnic minority students study French, she chooses to study Chinese. As result, she can speak, read, and write Chinese well. She claims – she has great self-confidence and in her Chinese language ability. She said that overall, she is satisfied with her HKCEE result yet admits that she could have done better. Asked about her integration into Hong Kong society, she does not feel isolation. She has few local Chinese friends but admits that she has never gone out with them.

As to every other interviewee, she is asked whether she watches local Chinese movies, listens to Chinese music, and knows any local celebrities. Among the interviewees, she is the one who knows the local
15 16

Interviewed at The Centre, 14th August 2008 Interviewed at the Centre, 15th August 2008 17 Interviewed at the Centre, 15th August 2008 18 Ibid,.

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celebrities and can tell their names the most. She also appears to enjoy local entertainments such as shows, music, TVs etc. When she is asked her knowledge on local politicians, she only knows Donald Tsang (Chief Executive). She does know any other legislative council member. It is common among the interviewees that even though they said they know such as celebrities, local politicians, they cannot tell their names. Also asked if she often engages in civil activities such as public demonstrations, she has never participated in public demonstration. She believes that government should make ethnic minority students to study right from early time because in current structure, students learn Chinese only from Primary-6. She thinks that it would be better if students study Chinese from Primary-1. Tak Prasad Gurung19 is a Nepali student and came to Hong Kong in 2001. He finished class-7 in Nepal which is equivalent to Form-1 in Hong Kong. He started from Primary-1 and has finished Form-5 in 2007. Just like many others, he studied French instead of Chinese because he believed that he would not be able to pass it. He speaks several languages: Nepali, English, Urdu and Hindi. Since English is the only practically used in Hong Kong, he also faces language disadvantage compare to local people. He is working full time as Administrative Assistant at H.K.S.K.H LadyMaclehose Centre. He will study from October, at HKIT (Hong Kong Institute of Information Technology). He said he feels good being in Hong Kong compare to being in Nepal. He does not have feeling of isolation. But he admits the existence of communication difficulty due to language barrier. Sometimes, he does feel being marginalized and ignored especially, when experiences that Chinese people avoid him for instance in bus, MTR. In addition, he once experienced real discrimination at Princess Margaret Hospital when his mother was taken to emergency room after an accident in trash truck when its cover-scope accidently close. Ambulance took her at 6:00PM but she was only admitted in the next morning at 3:00AM despite terrible pain. He believes, if they were Chinese, they would receive immediate treatment. He is also one of the few interviewees who are aware of general public institutions, such as Equal Opportunity Commission, Labour Department, etc. He is also well aware of how to access Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) whereas many do not even know such things exist. His family is also from a big family with four children including himself.

A.5

A.6

Limbu Ganendra: On 17th July 2008, author accompanied him and Gurung Vikash to labour department in Quary Bay for their job interviews. Limbu Ganendra, 19 was born in Hong Kong. He seems more mature in terms of the ways he talks and acts than a lot of other students interviewed. He studied at Delia Memorial School (one of the four schools where medium of instruction is English and most South Asian students study). He just finished Form-5 and waiting for the result. He chose to study Chinese while most of his friends chose French. He said that he read and write Chinese quite well and speak very well. But he is dropping out because he does not want to study anymore. He said that after Form 5, it is too expensive. He mentioned it will cost over HK$2,000 per month for tuition fee. He has five siblings; perhaps, this is also part of the reasons. Asked whether he goes out with his local Chinese friends beyond school campus, he seldom does.

A.7

Gurung Vikash, 20 came to Hong Kong five years ago. He was born in Nepal. He said he is good at football and table tennis. When he was in Nepal, he joined school team and played in many competitions even in different townships.
19

18th August 2008, at the Centre

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He started from Form-1 in Hong Kong. He just finished Form five and waiting for the result. He studies together with Limbu. He chose French instead of Chinese. He said his French is good. He said will continue study. He also joins school football and table tennis team and played several inter-school competitions. But he quitted because he feels being marginalized in the team. Asked about his social life, just like other students, he does not mingle a lot with local Chinese friends. Gurung Mamita20 was born in Nepal. She has been living in Hong Kong for five years. She has one younger sister. She declines to disclose her parents’ employment. But it is reported that virtually all of the ethnic minority people are working in cleaning services, security guarding services and manual labour works – which are low paid works. She speaks Cantonese but not well. Since local students have to pass two language examinations in order to enroll university, she studied French in her secondary school. Asked whether she realized that French is virtually useless in Hong Kong, replied, she has never thought about it. She just finished Form-5 and registered to an Institute of Vocational Education school. Asked, if she has ever experienced any kinds of discriminatory treatments, she said she has not. She feels she is integrated into Hong Kong society. But she mentions, police once came to her house and checked their IDs. Once while she was with her other Nepali friends, they were asked by a group of local men to exchange their sex for HK$1,000. I asked how she felt about it. She felt very embarrassed. Asked whether, she is aware of sexual harassment legal ordinances, Equal Opportunity Commission and discrimination ordinances, she does not know anything about these. She also rarely goes out with local people, listens to local music and TV. But she sometimes watches Chinese movies. Asked, whether she can name some of the local celebrities; mentioned ‘Twins’. She said she does not know celebrities’ names.

A.8

A.9

Nanda Gurung21, 19, was born in Nepal and came to Hong Kong in 2002. He started from Primary-5 at Delia Memorial School (Hip Wo) and finished Form-5 recently. He speaks Cantonese well but his writing and reading is not as good as his speaking. He is to study foundation course of Hospitality at Institute of Vacation Education. Asked him the cost, he said it costs HK$16,000 per year. He complains limited choices available in English whereas wide range of programmes available in Chinese. He is also one the few interviewees who have no feeling of being isolated from local people and have more knowledge on local cultures. He often watches local TV programmes, listens to Chinese music and knows quite a lot of local celebrities. Besides, he knows NGO like ‘Hong Kong and Nepali Community Humanity Society’. In previous interviews, some expressed their experience of being stopped by police and checked ID, asked him whether he too had such experience. He said, once because he looks like new arrival from mainland China. He was ‘scared’. When asked whether he makes friends with local peers and go out with them, he rarely goes with them despite he plays with them in campus, he said.

A.10

Babal was born in Pakistan. He came to Hong Kong just over a year ago. He just finished Form-5. He does not speak Chinese. Asked whether he makes friends with local peers and goes with them beyond school campus, he never goes out with them despite admits that he makes has few friends. When asked his daily experience in school, he said that he feels being discriminated. He elaborates, in classroom, when local students change their seat, class monitor say nothing. But when he changes his, the monitor orders him not to do so.
20 21

Interviewed at Kowloon Park, on 9th August 2008. Telephone interviewed, 14th August 2008.

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The teacher also does not seem to care the situation. Moreover, the teacher reported to his parents saying that he has missed six classes but in fact only two classes. He inquired the teacher why he reported to his parents, the teacher replied because he did not sign in computer system. He said that because the computer was malfunction and thus he could not sign in. B – Form-6-7 Graduates

B.1

One student chose not to mention his identity and his school name because there are only three nonChinese students there. I interviewed him on 9th August 2008 in a restaurant in Jordon.

He was born in Hong Kong and is a Muslim. Since he was born before 1997, he has British citizenship because his parents applied for British National Oversea (BNO). He has six siblings including himself. Only his two youngest siblings do not have British passport. He just finished Form-6 and will be promoted to Form-7 in coming academic year. In fact, he believes study is not as most important as loyalty and knowhow. If he had enough capital, he won’t study. Asked challenges in his daily life, he mentions a number of discriminatory treatments. Firstly, he wanted to take liberal art subject because he is good at it. But he is technically barred to take it because teachers made them (three non-Chinese students) impossible to take it. Despite medium of instruction supposes to be English, teachers are reluctant to teach in English. Since there are only three non-Chinese students, teachers have to teach liberal art in English if they take it. Additionally, subjects – ‘Principle of accounting’ and ‘business’ are also taught in Chinese. I asked him how he follows since he does not read or write and speak well, he said, teacher re-explain in English them after class. He finds it uneasy and as waste of time because he has to remain in school after school time. Secondly, he faces a number of times being stopped and questioned by police without any reasons. He believes that this because of his color of skin and race. Thirdly, he often receives dirty look from local people when he is in his traditional costume. He honestly admits that he does not like local people because even though he tries very hard to be respectful to and friendly with everyone, he does not receive reciprocity. Fourthly, it is not easy to find a decent job. He asserts that he can only find job which requires manual labor, promotional and delivery jobs. They are very low paid jobs. Fifthly, asked what government and NGOs should and can do to improve the situation. In his opinion, NGOs should visit schools to see the reality and find better alternatives for non-Chinese students. Besides, they should offer Chinese courses for non-Chinese people. Government should create fair opportunities for all, ban discriminatory treatments against ethnic minorities and formulate policy to change public attitude toward minority groups. Finally, I asked him whether he feels being integrated into Hong Kong society. He does not feel being integrated at all. He only has one good local Chinese friend and rarely goes out with local people. Since he can live in Hong Kong, Britain and Pakistan, I asked him which one he prefers. Ironically, he still wants to live in Hong Kong because he is more familiar with it.

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C – High Diploma & Associate Degree Students Limbu Urmilla22 is Nepali girl, born in Nepal. She has lived in Hong Kong more than ten years. She finished her first year of Higher Diploma study at a school, one of the branches of Institute of Vocational Education, better known as IVE. She has four siblings, one sister and three brothers. She is the only exceptional interviewee who admits that Chinese students are better. She explains – Chinese students also speak English which give them language advantage since English and Chinese are virtually the basic requirement for every industry and entrance to academic institutions in the territory. Ethnic minorities do have at least three language ability – mother tongues (Urdu, Nepali, Hindi), English and French. But except English, the rests are almost useless in Hong Kong. It appears that her interactions with local people are very limited. She claims she make friends with local students but has never gone out with them. She rarely listens to Chinese music and watch local TV. But she said she sometimes watches Chinese movies. She does not feel she is a part of local culture. Ghamal Anita23 is also Nepali girl who were born in Nepal. She has lived in Hong Kong for more than ten years now. She studies together with Limbu Urmilla. She has two sisters and one brother. She also thinks that she enjoys her study in Hong Kong. She does not speak Chinese at all because she also took French her secondary school. She finished Form-5 but is one of the overwhelming majority (ethnic minorities) who failed to achieve minimum grade in HKCEE exam to be promoted to Form-6. Thus, she is preparing to go to a vocational school. She said that she makes friends with local Chinese students but rarely mingle with them. She has never participated in any kind of public demonstration. She does not know local celebrities, seldom watch local TV programmes. D – Social Workers & Ordinary People

C.1

C.2

D.1

LO Kai Chung24 (Services For Ethnic Minorities Team Leader, H.K.S.K.H. Lady Maclehose Centre) has been working for about three years and has better understanding on ethnic minorities’ concerns and situation.

Asked him whether local people know much about the minority groups in Hong Kong, he said only few people are aware of the situation because of much of the issues about these minorities especially Pakistani and Nepali are often not in the media spotlight. He also did not know much about this until he volunteered as Teaching Assistant at a local organization. There he met a lot of minority children and witnessed the enthusiasm of them to study. When asked about local people’s attitude/perception toward these ethnic minorities, it is often negative. They associate them as dirty, smelly, introverted and weak in punctuality. Minority children are often seen as ill disciplined. Studies show that there are more social services available for new arrivals from mainland China than for ethnic minorities. Asked why, he explained because the problem of new arrivals is perceived as bigger than of these South Asians. For example, domestic violence often occurs among Hong Kong man-mainland Chinese woman couples. He said there are also discriminations against them despite they are also Chinese.

22 23

Interviewed at The Centre, 15th August 2008 Interviewed at The Centre, 15th August 2008 24 Interviewed at The Centre, 13th August 2008

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D.2

Shah Tanveer25 is the mosque leader in Kwai Cheung. He was born in Pakistan but has been living in Hong Kong for over 17 years. He has family with two children. I asked him about his living experience. Despite such a long time, he still does not feel that he is integrated into Hong Kong society.

He often faces discriminatory treatment from local people. He illustrated – one day on a crowded bus, when a woman around 60 got in, he offered his seat. But she did not show any sign of gratitude and refused his offer. He felt so uneasy. One day, when he went to a hospital for his eyes. He was not only feeling uncomfortable but also his vision was blurry. Next week, he has to preach in mosque which needs a lot of preparation. But the doctor said to him to wait for three months. Since he was feeling uncomfortable, he chose to go to private hospital. It cost him over HK$800. Since he only earns slightly over HK$6,000 per month, it was a big cost for him. He also mentioned, it is very difficult to find a job for a Muslim if he has beard even if he speaks fluent Cantonese. Wasal Khan26 is another Pakistani employed by H.K.S.K.H. Lady Maclehose Centre. He is around his early 30, born in Hong Kong. He can read and write Chinese and studied in Hong Kong. He also complains local people’s racism. For instance, in job interviews, local people often do not hire ethnic minorities. He believes people should not be judged base on their racial and religious background. He thinks that there may be social problems if these people are continuously ignored. E. Degree Students Rana Faisal27 is a Pakistani who was born in Pakistan finished secondary education in the birth place. He applied to all local universities but was rejected. So, he went to UK and got degree from there. He is working in a company. He will continue his study for MA degree at City University from coming September. He also believes that language is the main problem for ethnic minorities. He observes that teachers do not have enough teaching experience for multi cultural schools. Because of lack of understanding students’ backgrounds, there is little or no connection between teachers and students. This makes harder for getting message across. He thinks that minority students lag behind their local peers because of the language barrier and inexperienced teaching but not because students have low intellectual capability. In addition, he said that even students are eligible for promoting to next levels (eg. Primary-1 through Form-7), their parents cannot give necessary guidance because they do not know how school mechanism works. Thus, he believes that minority parents need to be informed. He also thinks that ethnic minorities should put much effort in language study, and building social network if they want to be successful.

D.3

E.1

25
26 27

Interviewed at mosque in Kwai Cheung on 13th June 2008.
Interviewed at the Centre, 20th July 2008. Interviewed at Kowloon Park, 22nd August 2008.

23

Appendix – 2: Questionnaire (before filled)
Note! This survey aims to explore your feeling, experience of studying and living in Hong Kong. All information is strictly confidential and will be destroyed after finishing the research. Name: Your ethnic nationality background: (Nepali, Pakistani, Indian, Panjabi), If other, specify: Chinese Language (Please tick '√ ' as appropriate.) Speak fluently Read & Write, fluently Speak but not well

Attachment II

Not at all

A

Level of Self-Confidence

Strongly disagree 1

Disagre e 2 □ □ □ □ □

Agree 3 □ □ □ □ □

Stron gly Agre e 4 □ □ □ □ □

I feel I have great self-confidence even though I am just a Form-5 graduate. I think my working ability is the same as others with the same age. I feel I am inferior to others or the local people with the same age. I will have greater self-confidence if I can have higher education level. I will have greater self-confidence if I can get a job with good pospect. B Satisfaction from study

□ □ □ □ □

1 I have tried my best in the study. I have learned a lot in the study. I can make friends during the study. Overall I am very satisfied with my study. C Motivation for further study 1 I hope that I can learn more for further study. I think that I can have better prospect if I can have further study. I think my ability is fit for further study. I have strong motivation for further study. D Integration into Hong Kong society 1 □ □ □ □ □ □ □ □

2 □ □ □ □

3 □ □ □ □

4 □ □ □ □

2 □ □ □ □

3 □ □ □ □

4 □ □ □ □

2

3

4

24

Attachment II

I have good friends of local people. I have regular social activities with local people. I have no problem to communicate with local people. I feel that I have integrated into Hong Kong society. E Appreciation of local culture

□ □ □ □

□ □ □ □

□ □ □ □

□ □ □ □

1 I regularly watch Chinese TV/movies and listen to Chinese music. I know the names of some of the Hong Kong celebrities. I can name at least one of the legislative council members. I have participated in public demonstrations at least once in past 12 months. □ □ □ □

2 □ □ □ □

3 □ □ □ □

4 □ □ □ □

F

Open Question: If you were given a chance to request any kind of assistance from government/NGOs, what requests would you make to improve your situation?

25

Appendix – 3 Questionnaire (after filled)
Note! This survey aims to explore your feeling, experience of studying and living in Hong Kong. All information is strictly confidential and will be destroyed after finishing the research.

Attachment II

Name: Your ethnic nationality background: (Nepali, Pakistani, Indian, Panjabi), If other, Please specify: Read & Speak Speak Not At Chinese Language (Please tick '√ ' as appropriate.) Write but not Fluently All well Fluently Have language ability either speaking or both read and write Total samples 27 Strongly Strongly Level of Self-Confidence Disagree Agree disagree Agree Average 1 2 3 4 I feel I have great self-confidence even though I am just a Form-5 graduate. 1 3 19 4 2.96 I think my working ability is the same as others with the same age. 0 5 18 4 2.96 I feel I am inferior to others or the local people with the same age. 5 21 1 0 3.15 I will have greater self-confidence if I can have higher education level. 0 0 6 21 3.78 I will have greater self-confidence if I can get a job with good pospect. 0 0 11 16 3.59

Average as whole
Satisfaction from study I have tried my best in the study. I have learned a lot in the study. I can make friends during the study. Overall I am very satisfied with my study. Motivation for further study I hope that I can learn more for further study. I think that I can have better prospect if I can have further study. I think my ability is fit for further study. I have strong motivation for further study. Integration into Hong Kong society I have good friends of local people. I have regular social activities with local people. I have no problem to communicate with local people. I feel that I have integrated into Hong Kong society. 1 0 3 1 0 2 6 9 12 11 3 16 12 13 14 4 5 3 1 2 1 0 0 0 0 2 0 1 1 0 3 9 6 10 13 4 18 20 16 14 1 1 0 0 0 2 2 1 7 4 3 9 13 14 17 4 15 13 6 6

3.29

3.41 3.44 2.96 3.07 3.22

Average as whole

Average as whole

3.67 3.70 3.56 3.52 3.61

2.96 2.56 2.52 2.67 2.68

Average as whole
Appreciation of local culture I regularly watch Chinese TV/movies and listen to Chinese music. I know the names of some of the Hong Kong celebrities. I can name at least one of the legislative council members. I have participated in public demonstrations at least once in past 12 months. 1 3 1 2 3 2 7 6 7 6 3 15 18 16 10 4 2 2 2 8

2.59 2.78 2.67 2.85 2.72

Average as whole

26

Attachment II

Appendix – 4 Questionnaire filled by participants who have Chinese language ability

Have the language ability either speaking or both read and write Level of Self-Confidence Strongly disagree 1 0 0 1 0 0

Total Respondents Disagree 2 1 1 8 0 0 Agree 3 8 7 0 1 6

9 Strongly Average Agree Score 4 0 2.89 1 3.00 0 3.11 8 3.89 3 3.33 3.24

I feel I have great self-confidence even though I am just a Form-5 graduate. I think my working ability is the same as others with the same age. I feel I am inferior to others or the local people with the same age. I will have greater self-confidence if I can have higher education level. I will have greater self-confidence if I can get a job with good pospect.

Average as whole
Satisfaction from study I have tried my best in the study. I have learned a lot in the study. I can make friends during the study. Overall I am very satisfied with my study. 1 0 0 0 0 2 1 0 2 1 3 2 6 6 6 4 6 3 1 2

Average as whole
Motivation for further study I hope that I can learn more for further study. I think that I can have better prospect if I can have further study. I think my ability is fit for further study. I have strong motivation for further study. 1 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 1 0 3 3 2 2 4 4 6 7 6 5

3.56 3.33 2.89 3.11 3.22

Average as whole
Integration into Hong Kong society I have good friends of local people. I have regular social activities with local people. I have no problem to communicate with local people. I feel that I have integrated into Hong Kong society. 1 0 0 0 0 2 2 4 3 4 3 5 4 6 4 4 2 1 0 1

3.67 3.78 3.56 3.56 3.64

Average as whole
Appreciation of local culture I regularly watch Chinese TV/movies and listen to Chinese music. I know the names of some of the Hong Kong celebrities. I can name at least one of the legislative council members. I have participated in public demonstrations at least once in past 12 months. 1 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 2 3 3 7 7 6 4 4 2 2 1 2

3.00 2.67 2.67 2.67 2.75

Average as whole

3.22 3.22 2.89 2.89 3.06

27

Attachment II

Appendix – 5 Questionnaire filled by participants who do not have Chinese language ability
Have little or no language ability Level of Self-Confidence Strongly disagree 1 1 0 4 0 0

Total interviewees Disagree 2 2 4 13 0 0 Agree

18 Strongly Average Agree 3.00 2.94 3.17 3.72 3.72 3.31

I feel I have great self-confidence even though I am just a Form-5 graduate. I think my working ability is the same as others with the same age. I feel I am inferior to others or the local people with the same age. I will have greater self-confidence if I can have higher education level. I will have greater self-confidence if I can get a job with good pospect.

3 4 11 4 11 3 1 0 5 13 5 13 Average as whole

Satisfaction from study I have tried my best in the study. I have learned a lot in the study. I can make friends during the study. Overall I am very satisfied with my study. 1 1 0 0 0 2 1 1 5 3 3 4 7 9 7 10 8 5 11 4 Average as whole 3.33 3.50 3.00 3.06 3.22

Motivation for further study I hope that I can learn more for further study. I think that I can have better prospect if I can have further study. I think my ability is fit for further study. I have strong motivation for further study. 1 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 1 0 3 4 6 12 4 14 5 12 9 9 Average as whole 3.67 3.78 3.61 3.50 3.64

Integration into Hong Kong society I have good friends of local people. I have regular social activities with local people. I have no problem to communicate with local people. I feel that I have integrated into Hong Kong society. Appreciation of local culture I regularly watch Chinese TV/movies and listen to Chinese music. I know the names of some of the Hong Kong celebrities. I can name at least one of the legislative council members. I have participated in public demonstrations at least once in past 12 months. 1 3 1 2 3 2 7 6 5 3 3 8 11 10 6 4 0 0 1 6 2.28 2.56 2.56 2.83 2.56 1 0 3 1 2 2 4 5 9 6 3 11 8 7 10 4 3 2 1 0 2.94 2.50 2.44 2.44 2.58

Average as whole

Average as whole

28

Attachment II

References: Affan Seljuq, “Cultural Conflicts: North African Immigrants in France”, The International Journal of Peace Studies, Number 2, Volume 2, July, 1997. Article available: www.gmu.edu/academic/ijps/vol2_2/seljuq.htm David Corson, “Changing Education For Diversity”, Open University Press, Buckingham, 1998. Edelweiss, “Open Society: Philosophy, Evolution and Markets” July 18, 2008. Hei Hang TANG, “New Arrival Students in Hong Kong: Adaptation and School Performance”. (A thesis for Degree of Master of Philosophy at University of Hong Kong) May, 2002. Kelley Loper, “Race and Equality: A Study of Ethnic Minorities in Hong Kong’s Education System”, University of Hong Kong, 2004. Orit Ichilov (editor) “Citizenship and citizenship education in a changing world”, Woburn Press, London, 1998. Patricia Potts, “Modernising Education in Britain and China: Comparative Perspectives on Excellence and Social Inclusion”, RoutledgeFalmer, USA & Canada, 2003 Rassool Naz, “Literacy for Sustainable Development in the Age of Information”, Clevedon [England] ; Philadelphia Multilingual Matters, 1999. Robert Haveman and Timothy Smeeding, “The Role of Higher Education in Social Mobility”, www.futureofchildren.org, VOL. 16 / NO. 2 / FALL 2006. SHEK KAM TSE, MARK SHUM, WING WAH KI and YIU MAN CHAN “THE MEDIUM DILEMMA FOR HONG KONG SECONDARY SCHOOLS”, Springer, 2006. SUMMARY OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY THEMATIC DEBATE ON THE MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS, NEW YORK, 1-4 APRIL 2008. Tajfel, H., “Human groups and social categories” Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. 1981. The United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD), “Social Integration: Approaches and Issues: UNRISD Briefing Paper No. 1”, World Summit for Social Development, March 1994. Thomas R. Dye “Understanding Public Policy”, Pearson Prentice Hall, 12th Edition, New Jersey, 2008 UNESCO, Education for All Global Monitoring Report, 2006

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