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LCQ21: Provision of education-related information to non-Chinese speaking students and parents
     Following is a question by the Dr Hon Fernando Cheung and a written reply by the Secretary for Education, Mr Eddie Ng Hak-kim, in the Legislative Council today (March 29):


     Regarding the provision of information to non-Chinese speaking (NCS) students and their parents by the Education Bureau (EDB), will the Government inform this Council:

(1) as the EDB stated in reply to a question raised by a Member of this Council in examining the Estimates of Expenditure 2016-17 that all relevant information facilitating NCS students' integration into the community had been published in Chinese and English, but in fact some important relevant information is available only in Chinese (e.g. the web page on Chinese Language Curriculum Second Language Learning Framework and the Quality Review reports of kindergartens on EDB's website), of the reasons why the EDB has not provided all relevant information in both Chinese and English, and when the EDB will provide all such information in English;

(2) of a list of the information on school choices disseminated/published by the EDB through various means ((i) blog, (ii) web page, (iii) school directory, (iv) report on school qualities, (v) video and (vi) others) that is available in (a) Chinese only, (b) English only, (c) both Chinese and English, and (d) languages other than Chinese and English (please specify), and set out the information in Table 1;

Table 1
Language(s) Information on school choice
(i) (ii) (iii) (iv) (v) (vi)

(3) of a list of the information disseminated/published by the EDB, including school directories and reports on school qualities (particularly those on school choices) the printed version of which is available in Chinese only;

(4) given that certain information on schools and the education system is available only in Chinese, whether it has assessed (i) how parents of NCS students can make an informed school choice for their children, and (ii) if the EDB may still claim that a high concentration of ethnic minority students in certain schools is a result of parental choice;
(5) how parents of NCS students can have access to information on whether a school provides a more immersed Chinese language learning environment for NCS students; and

(6) in respect of the briefing sessions conducted for parents in each school year from 2012/13 to 2016/17 on (a) kindergarten admission, (b) Primary One Admission system, and (c) Secondary School Places Allocation system, whether it knows (i) their total number; among them, the respective numbers conducted (ii) in English, (iii) in Chinese, and (iv) with simultaneous interpretation services; (v) the total number of parents attending these sessions, and (vi) the total number of parents of NCS students attending these sessions, broken down by school district (set out separately in tables of the same format as Table 2); if such information is unavailable, how the Government measures the level of support given to parents of NCS students on school choices?
Table 2
Briefing sessions on _____  School year:           

School district (i) (ii) (iii) (iv) (v) (vi)



     The Government is committed to encouraging and supporting the integration of non-Chinese speaking (NCS) students (Note) (notably ethnic minority (EM) students) into the community, including facilitating their early adaptation to the local education system and mastery of the Chinese language. The 2014 Policy Address announced a series of measures to enhance support for NCS students' learning of Chinese, including implementation of the "Chinese Language Curriculum Second Language Learning Framework" ("Learning Framework") in primary and secondary schools to help NCS students overcome the difficulties of learning Chinese as a second language with a view to enabling them to bridge over to mainstream Chinese Language classes, and provision of enhanced funding support to facilitate schools' implementation of the "Learning Framework" and creation of an inclusive learning environment in schools. The policy intent is to encourage parents of NCS students to send their children to schools with an immersed Chinese language environment as early as possible to facilitate their mastery of the Chinese language while the Government ensures equal opportunities in school admission for all eligible children, including NCS children, in public sector schools.

     My reply to the Dr Hon Fernando Cheung's question is as follows:

(1) to (3) In general, official information of the Education Bureau (EDB) published on the EDB's website would be made available in both Chinese and English for reference by the public. There is a designated bilingual webpage on the education services for NCS students. We also provide NCS students and their parents with the list of information or publications, relating to school choice, published in both Chinese and English with translation into major ethnic minority languages as tabulated at Annex A.
     The "Learning Framework" referred to in the preamble above, complemented by the Chinese Language Assessment Tools and other learning and teaching reference materials, aims to support Chinese Language teachers in adapting the school-based Chinese Language curriculum, developing learning materials, and employing suitable learning, teaching and assessment strategies for NCS students so as to facilitate NCS students' effective learning of Chinese and bridging over to mainstream Chinese Language classes. Study materials and information pertaining to the study of Chinese Language inevitably makes reference to pointers and descriptors in Chinese. The web page on the "Learning Framework", which features learning / reference materials and descriptors of learning progression mainly for the reference of Chinese Language teachers, is therefore presented in Chinese only.
     Under the Quality Assurance Framework, kindergartens (KGs) are required to conduct school self-evaluation for reviewing their overall performance. The review teams of the EDB conduct on-site quality review (QR) for KGs on a regular basis to validate findings from their school self-evaluation and identify their strengths and areas for development. The QR Reports (Reports) are provided to KGs to facilitate their sustainable development. Since the Reports mainly target to serve as reference for KGs which generally use Chinese as the medium of communication, the Reports are generally provided in Chinese only. The Reports are uploaded onto the EDB's website to enhance transparency and accountability to the community. For parents choosing KGs for their children, they may make reference to the Profile of Kindergartens and Kindergarten-cum-Child Care Centres (KG Profile), school-based information provided by the individual KGs, etc. The KG Profile provides key information of each KG including school facilities, number and qualification of the principal and teaching staff, teacher to pupil ratio, curriculum details (including curriculum type, curriculum arrangement, learning/teaching approach and activities, learning assessment), school characteristics (including school vision and mission, support to students), etc. The KG Profile is provided in both Chinese and English, catering for the Chinese speaking as well as NCS parents' needs. As some parents also use the Reports as one of the references when choosing KGs for their children, some stakeholders consider it necessary to provide an English version of the Reports for NCS parents' reference. The EDB is collecting views of stakeholders and studying the feasibility of reporting the QR findings in English.

(4) and (5) Apart from the provision of relevant information with the language versions tabulated at Annex A, the EDB has been promoting parent education highlighting that parents (including parents of NCS students) should take into account the abilities and interests of their children when making school choices, and encouraging parents of NCS students to consider schools that can provide more immersed Chinese language learning environment for the NCS students. Dedicated briefing sessions with simultaneous interpretation services on K1 Admission, as well as the procedure of admission to Primary 1 and Secondary 1 under Primary One Admission (POA) System and Secondary School Places Allocation (SSPA) System respectively, will continue to be organised for parents of NCS students.

     Regarding information of individual public sector schools, the EDB has been helping schools to publicise their open days by uploading such information on the website of the Committee on Home-school Co-operation so as to enable parents (including parents of NCS students) to get to know more about the schools before making school choices. Other than open days, parents can also contact individual schools to see if a school visit can be arranged. Starting from the 2015/16 school year, each K3 and P6 NCS student can obtain a copy of the English version of the School Profiles which can help their parents grasp the basic information of all public sector schools in their selected district. The EDB has encouraged schools to keep on enriching the contents of their Profiles and school websites. Besides, the EDB has set up a hotline for NCS students and their parents with simultaneous interpretation arranged through the Centre for Harmony and Enhancement of Ethnic Minority Residents funded by the Home Affairs Department.

(6) The EDB introduced K1 Admission in 2014 for improving the KG admission procedure and better utilising the KG places. In this connection, starting from June 2014, briefing sessions have been organised for parents (including dedicated briefing sessions conducted in English for parents of NCS students) to facilitate their understanding of matters relating to K1 Admission. Details on these sessions, as well as those relating to POA System and SSPA System, are tabulated at Annex B.

Note: For the planning of educational support measures, students whose spoken language at home is not Chinese are broadly categorised as NCS students.
Ends/Wednesday, March 29, 2017
Issued at HKT 17:05
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