By Hong Kong Unison
The Task Force on Review of School Curriculum released a Consultation Document in June and invited views from the public. Hong Kong Unison feels that the Task Force has not considered the needs of ethnic minority students as reflected in some initial suggestions, such as on values education, trimming DSE Chinese examination papers, and life planning education, etc.
Hong Kong is Asia's world city, yet the Review has not mentioned the need to include 'ethnic and cultural diversity' in the curriculum of values education. Besides, the contribution of ethnic minorities to Hong Kong is significant, yet it is rarely mentioned in textbooks. In fact, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (2018) recommended the Government to include historical presence and contributions of ethnic minorities in Hong Kong in school textbooks. The Education Bureau should include cultural inclusion as an integral part of the school curriculum and also provide guidance to teachers to facilitate ethnic minority students explore their identities.
The Task Force suggests removing the listening and speaking parts of the DSE Chinese examination since 'Chinese is the native language of most students'. Given education in Hong Kong is very much exam-driven, Hong Kong Unison is concerned if ethnic minority students are no longer tested in listening and speaking, they will lose the opportunities to learn and practice communication and presentation skills in Chinese, hence their social integration hindered.
Hong Kong Unison hopes the Task Force could include more details for ethnic minority students on life-planning education as we frequently received comments from secondary graduates that career guidance in schools was not sufficient. Educators should be trained in cultural sensitivity, that no matter what skin color, every student has the potential to succeed; instead of just introducing "stereotypical" jobs for ethnic minority students. Those who got into university lament they often enroll in higher education programmes without knowing the language requirement of their desired careers. Upon graduation, they became unemployed or engaged in irrelevant jobs because of language barrier. If teachers are more sensitized, students can better prepare for their future.
Ethnic minorities are part of the local community, their desire for a bright future should not be overlooked. To truly address whole-person development in the school curriculum, Hong Kong Unison urges the Task Force to consider the recommendations' implications on ethnic minority students.