Possible Shortcomings Of The Policies In Hong Kong Education Essay


After the handover in 1997, the linguistic communication policies of Hong Kong have frequently been criticized by the populace. Parents, in peculiar, have voiced their concerns about the worsening English criterion of Hong Kong pupils. The media has besides reported on the “ badgering ” tendency on a regular footing, reminding Hong Kong people that English is still critical for calling success ( Mozur, 2008 ) , and Hong Kong is bit by bit losing its English border to the Mainland ( Murphy, 2005 ) . While it is arguable whether or non the English criterion of Hong Kong is deteriorating, it appears that Hong Kong would hold to better and polish its English linguistic communication policies in order to run into the demands of the ever-changing universe and to remain competitory.

As a group of in-service instructors and postgraduate pupils interested in the linguistic communication planning and policy in Hong Kong, we would wish to analyze the current English linguistic communication policies, and seek for countries of betterment. We have besides chosen to analyze the English policies in two neighboring Southeast Asiatic states – Singapore and Malaysia – in hopes of casting some visible radiation on the possible defects of the policies in Hong Kong.

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Hong Kong


In the last few decennaries, there is a important and frequent alteration in the purposes and aims, contents, learning schemes of primary and secondary instruction in Hong Kong. Some polar instruction reforms include the Target-Oriented Curriculum ( 1995 ) , the Learning to Learn enterprise ( 2001 ) , and the New Senior Secondary Curriculum ( NSSC, 2009 ) ; while the linguistic communication policy reforms have appeared to advance mother-tongue direction ( 1998 ) which was later replaced by the ‘fine-tuning ‘ medium of direction ( MOI ) policy ( 2010 ) ( Morris & A ; Adamson, 2010 ) . The reforms have been raising issues of globalisation and the development of national individuality, after the handover of Hong Kong to Chinese sovereignty in 1997 ( Kennedy, 2005 ) .

English Language Policies in Primary and Secondary Schools in Hong Kong


Policy for Primary Schools

Policy for Secondary Schools


Education Commission noted the ‘very great load ‘ placed on students by English-medium direction and called for an enlargement of the Chinese-medium watercourse.

1960 – 1970

Grammar-translation method was replaced by the oral-structural activity attack.

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The Green Paper on Junior Secondary Education mentioned that Chinese was the usual linguistic communication of direction in the lower signifiers while English was the 2nd linguistic communication.


The oral-structural activity attack was replaced by the notional-functional communicative Approach.

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Education Commission ‘s first study mentioned that some secondary schools should be encouraged to utilize Chinese as MOI.


Task-based acquisition was introduced through the Targets and Target Related Assessment ( TTRA ) strategy.

Education Commission ‘s 4th study recommended that the policy in 1984 could non work good. Schools should systematically utilize either Chinese or English as the MOI.


Target Oriented Curriculum ( TOC ) was introduced.

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The Education Department advised schools on the linguistic communication proficiency of their Form 1 pupil consumption so as to assist those pupils in doing picks of an appropriate MOI.

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A distinct medium of direction policy with a elaborate execution program was put frontward.


English Extensive Reading Schemes were extended bit by bit to cover Primary 1 to Secondary 5


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Compulsory Chinese MOI policy replaced the policy in 1994. Allowance was given for some schools to be exempted from this policy.

1998 – 1999

Native English Teachers ( NET ) strategy was launched.


English Writing Packages were published and issued to schools.

The first unrecorded benchmark trials of Advisory Committee on Teacher Education and Qualifications ( ACTEQ ) took topographic point.

“ Learning to Learn – the manner frontward in course of study ” was launched.

2001 – 2002

Extra instruction stations were provided to all eligible assisted primary ordinary schools to beef up library services and to back up the extension of English Extensive Reading Schemes.

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2004 – 2005

Future English instructors would hold to go through the benchmark trial prior to fall ining the profession.


A Language Corner was set up in the Central Resources Centre to supply resources on the English Language Education Key Learning Area ( KLA ) .


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The New Senior Secondary ( NSS ) academic construction and course of study were introduced.

2009 – 2010

Learning Circles were formed by English instructors rehearsing little category instruction.


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Polishing the MOI was imposed.

Impact of the English linguistic communication policies in Hong Kong before the handover

The Proficiency of English

Research workers carried out studies at Hong Kong University in 1983 and 1993, and the consequences showed an obvious rise in the sum of people who claimed to be adept in English and bilingual in English and Chinese. The figure of Hong Kong Chinese reported to cognize English rather good has increased unusually, while those who claimed that they did non cognize English at all have dropped from 33.1 % to 17.4 % . This reveals that Hong Kong has a important displacement towards bilingualism in the past 15 old ages. Yet, at the same clip, there have been digesting ailments from the academic and concern communities that criterions of English in Hong Kong have been worsening. The grounds behind would look to lie between the increasing demand of the society and the supply of people with the English Language proficiency to run into those demands. To understand more, there is a demand to analyze the altering function of English in Hong Kong society during the colonial period.

Cheung ( 1984 ) points out that English implied power more than a channel for communicating in colonial Hong Kong. However, since the mid-1960s, English has changed from a strictly colonial linguistic communication which was restricted to a minority of Hong Kong Chinese, to an simple medium of communicating for a considerable figure of Hong Kong people ( Lord, 1987 ) .

The ‘cultural eunuch ‘ syndrome

Mixed-mode direction in English-medium schools created the commonest ailment about Anglo-Chinese schools in the past two decennaries, in which they produced pupils whose English proficiency fell both linguistically and culturally. The Education Commission ( 1995 ) references that some Chinese linguistic communication instruction experts believe that the abilities of immature people in reading and composing deteriorated in recent old ages, given that pupils encountered some understandably basic troubles during the lessons of Modern Standard Chinese, in peculiar, the nature of the book and the deficiency of correspondence between spoken Cantonese and written Chinese.

Impact of the English linguistic communication policies in Hong Kong after the handover

Impact on English linguistic communication instruction

The biliterate trilingual policy and the compulsory Chinese MOI policy were introduced in 1997 and 1998 severally. Under this policy, increased support has been provided to heighten the usage of English, Cantonese and Mandarin both at school and outside school. In the procedure of English acquisition, steps have been provided to schools as follows: the Native English Teachers ( NET ) strategy, ‘English in the air ‘ , excess resources given to Chinese-MOI schools to beef up their English, and the cross-curricular instruction bundles specially designed for Chinese-MOI schools to help English larning when they switched the MOI in senior secondary instruction from English to Chinese, every bit good as to supply pupils with higher motive in English acquisition.

Far from the expected, nevertheless, it turned out that the motive of pupils to larn English remains at a low degree as shown in the study of SCOLAR ( 2003 ) . Poon ( 1999, 2000 ) points out that the policy of Chinese MOI imposed an unfavorable consequence on the acquisition of English linguistic communication. She argues by mentioning to the experience of a secondary school chief whose school used English MOI before 1986 and shifted to Chinese MOI after that. This chief agrees that his pupils are now less motivated to larn English than earlier. The account is that English is now merely a topic like History and Maths, and this is non plenty to accomplish adequate competent degrees of metalinguistic consciousness ( Beardsmore, 1998 ) .

Under the fine-tuned MOI policy imposed in 2010, schools were allowed to do professional judgement on the most appropriate MOI agreements for their pupils harmonizing to their ain state of affairs and the demands of pupils. Time is necessary to detect if this policy is successful in turn toing the above-named concerns or non.

Impact on linguistic communication usage in society

The policy of forcing most of the Anglo-Chinese secondary schools to exchange from English to Chinese MOI has created a great contention, particularly among parents, who have expressed their choler towards the “ cavalier, inconsistent and socially dissentious ” policy through letters, columns and wireless phone-ins. On the one manus, arguments have been focused on the existent equity of the choice as the policy allows elect schools to retain their pattern of utilizing English as the MOI. On the other manus, there are strong conflicting sentiments being expressed about the desirableness and feasibleness of utilizing Chinese as MOI in a mass instruction system in Hong Kong – an international city semen planetary fiscal Centre which rivals New York, London and Tokyo in the twenty-first Century.

Key stakeholders ‘ concerns

Hong Kong ( SAR ) Government. For bettering the quality of English linguistic communication instruction, a immense per centum of Hong Kong GDP is budgeted for education-related disbursals every twelvemonth, ( Miller and Li, 2008 ) . However, with the deficiency of a contributing English-using environment for learning and acquisition, there are great obstructions to raising criterions of English of Hong Kong pupils.

Employers. When reading the occupation advertisement pages of any local newspapers, in extra to Cantonese, one will place that the general demand for appliers – from directors to couriers – is to hold at least some cognition of English.

Parents. They have a noticeable penchant for their kids to larn through the medium of English ( Li, 1999 ) , with a type of inactive, noncritical entry to the planetary hegemony of English ( Phillipson, 1992 ) , as puting their kid to an English MOI school is an educationally sound determination in their eyes.

Educationists. Lodging to English linguistic communication, which is unfamiliar to some pupils, would intend to endanger the immediate and arguably higher-order aim of larning. The Government, hence, has to hold a more tolerant place towards the usage of bilingual instruction schemes, i.e. ‘code-mixing in those English MOI lessons ‘ .



Singapore is a little but multicultural Southeast Asiatic state with scarce natural resorts. Harmonizing to the 2000 Census of population, the island state has about 3.2 million people of heterogenous cultural groups. It includes 76.8 % of Chinese, 13.9 % of Malay, 7.9 % of Indians and 1.4 % of Eurasians, Europeans and other races ( Rappa and Wee, 2006 ) . Singapore gained its independency from Malaysia in 1965. Owing to its multicultural and multiracial features, the Singapore authorities strategically adopted English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil as the four functionary linguistic communications in 1965 so as to carry through its political, economical and societal demands. Economically, English is the dominant linguistic communication in commercialism. Ethically, the bulk group in Singapore is Chinese, so Mandarin is adopted. Politically, Malay has its historical influence on Singapore. The largest Indian group is Tamils, so Tamil is besides chosen as one of the official linguistic communications. Therefore, the linguistic communication policies in Singapore are full of pragmatism.

English Language policies in primary and secondary schools in Singapore


Policy for Primary Schools

Policy for Secondary Schools



Divided into English-medium and common ( non-English-medium ) schools with separate course of studies.


Adopted English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil as the official linguistic communications.



Bilingualism: acquisition of Malay, with either English or Mandarin or Tamil depending on the pupil ‘s linguistic communication watercourse


The 1959 Syllabus emphasized grammar and literacy grasp.


Issued the Syllabus for English in Primary English Schools.

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Published the Syllabus for English in Secondary English Schools.


Bilingualism: analyzing English and a female parent lingua ( the symbolic linguistic communication of one ‘s paternal lineage )


– Divided the Syllabus for English ( Primary ) into 2 paperss for Lower and Upper Primary severally.

– The 1971 Syllabus stressed unwritten linguistic communication development and grammar ; and it marked the indigenization of English linguistic communication stuffs.

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The Primary Pilot Project ( PPP ) produced 24 English Readers for Primary 1 and 2, worksheets, learning charts and 30 units of English lessons.

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Implemented Speak Mandarin Campaign to advance Mandarin alternatively of other Chinese idioms.


English was studied at a functional degree.


The 1981 Syllabus emphasized grammatical rightness. Speech activities and literary enrichment were taken out.


Published the English Syllabus for the New Education System as a papers.

The English Language Syllabus was published ( Sec 1-4 Special/ Express class ) .


Implemented Reading and English Acquisition Programme ( REAP ) in the lower primary schoolrooms, and the Active Communicative Teaching ( ACT ) in the upper primary schoolrooms.

Implemented the Undertaking to Help Selected Schools in English Schools ( PASSES ) to raise English proficiency in several secondary schools with considerable success.


Implemented the individual national watercourse under the New Education System ( NES ) : all Singapore schools pupils learned English as the first linguistic communication.


Offered English and Chinese as first linguistic communications in selected primary schools.

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– Regarded English as a first linguistic communication in the national school course of study.

– Published the English Language Syllabus ( Primary ) and the English Language Syllabus ( Secondary ) into 2 separate paperss.

– The 1991 Syllabus emphasized subjects, lingual and communicative competency.


Published the Primary English Thematic Series ( PETS ) for schools ( text editions in a thematic attack ) .

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Developed the Course in Language and Using English ( CLUE ) for schools ( text editions in a thematic attack ) .


Ministry of Education ( MOE ) published 2 brochures on Teaching Grammar to demo how to learn specific grammar points for primary and secondary degrees.


Launched Speak Good English Movement ( SGEM ) to advance the usage of Standard English and deter the usage of Singlish.


-The 2001 English Syllabus emphasized larning results, linguistic communication usage, text types, explicit instruction of grammar, literacy acquisition and re-introduction of phonics.

– Implemented the English Language Syllabus 2001: Primary & A ; Secondary in Primary 1, Primary 2 and Secondary 1 ; and the English Language Syllabus 2001 ( Primary & A ; Secondary: EM3 & amp ; Normal Technical ) .

Analysis of the English linguistic communication policies in Singapore

Bilingualism is the major linguistic communication policy in Singapore. Tan ( 2007 ) believes that “ bilingualism is a basis of Singapore ‘s linguistic communication political orientation and policy ” ( as cited in Lee and Suryadinata, 2007, p.78 ) . From the past three decennaries, English and Chinese are the two chief linguistic communications emphasized. In the 1950s to 1960s, English was emphasized in the English-medium schools as these English-medium schools had a separate English linguistic communication course of study from those in the slang ( non-English-medium ) schools. From 1966 onwards, analyzing English has been a must for all Singaporeans under the bilingualism while Mandarin has besides been stressed by the Speak Mandarin Campaign in 1979 because of economic intents. Subsequently, in 1990, both English and Chinese were offered as first linguistic communications in selected primary schools. It shows how the Singapore authorities has put accent on English since the 1960s.

Besides, Tan ( 2007 ) further explains that “ Singapore ‘s heavy trust on trade and investing, [ English ] is the de facto international linguistic communication for trade, scientific discipline and political relations. aˆ¦ On the other manus, with China going an progressively of import economic and political spouse, the Chinese linguistic communication has become more of import ” ( as cited in Lee and Suryadinata, 2007, p.84 – 85 ) . It illustrates why the Singapore authorities has chosen English and Chinese under the bilingual policy.

The success of linguistic communication policies in Singapore

To a big extent, Singapore ‘s bilingual policy is really successful. Mentioning to Tan ( 2007 ) , “ for about 40 old ages, success in Singapore ‘s instruction system was predicated on academic ability and making moderately good in the linguistic communications ” ( as cited in Lee and Suryadinata, 2007, p.76 ) . The informations collected from the 2000 nose count besides shows how good Singaporeans perform in the linguistic communications. Harmonizing to Ho ( 2003 ) , “ the 2000 nose count records Singapore ‘s bilingual population ( i.e. those literate in two or more of the official linguistic communications ) as holding reached 56 % in 2000, from 45.0 % in 1990 ” ( as cited in Ho and Wong, 2003, p.398 ) . Over half of the entire population in Singapore is bilingual.

Furthermore, the success of English linguistic communication policies in Singapore is due to much accent on grammar truth and literacy acquisition in the English Syllabuses. For case, grammar and literacy grasp were emphasized in the 1959 Syllabus. The 1971 Syllabus and the 1981 Syllabus stressed grammar and grammatical rightness severally. The 2001 English Syllabus besides emphasized literacy acquisition and learning grammar explicitly.

All the above course of studies cover the instruction of grammar, which is an of import component of the English linguistic communication. Mentioning to Curriculum Planning & A ; Development Division ( 2001 ) , “ the survey of the grammar of English, its constructions and linguistic communication conventions, including spelling and punctuation is, hence, an of import facet in the acquisition of English ” ( as cited in Ho and Wong, 2003, p.391 ) . Having sufficient grammar cognition helps pupils produce accurate and adept English.

Including literacy acquisition in the 1959 and 2001 Syllabuses, the Ministry of Education ( MOE ) allows pupils to be exposed to different texts in order to allow them get the mark linguistic communication spontaneously. Lim ( 2003 ) presents that “ enjoyment of literature [ gives ] pupils the chance to read drawn-out literary texts and absorb text-level grammar beyond the distinct sentence ” ( as cited in Ho and Wong, 2003, p.377 ) . Apart from covering literacy acquisition in the English Syllabuses, Reading and English Acquisition Program ( REAP ) in the lower primary schoolrooms was implemented in 1984. Harmonizing to Lim ( 2003 ) , the REAP “ was a tactic acknowledgment by Singapore educationalists that the reading of literature helps students to get a rich linguistic communication input and learn extended linguistic communication forms ” ( as cited in Ho and Wong, 2003, p.383 ) . The above shows how successful the bilingual policy is.

The position of English in Singapore

Most pupils possess two different types of Englishes, the Standard English and Singlish. All of them learn about the Standard English at school but they come across Singlish in their mundane life, particularly from the media. For case, some Singlish programmes ( like the Phua Chu Kang ) are really popular among adolescents.

Language experts believe that pupils ‘ English position is all right because linguistic communication experts allow a wider scope of flexibleness. They treat the spread of Singlish as a linguistic communication assortment. Even though pupils speak Singlish, which is different from the Standard English, it is acceptable because Singlish is shared among Singaporeans. Chew ( 2007 ) thinks that “ destructing a linguistic communication is in world destructing a people and a civilization ” ( as cited in Tsui and Tollefson, 2007, p.81 ) . Singlish which represents their ain civilization and individuality is an reliable linguistic communication used by three million Singaporeans, so pupils can take to utilize Singlish or non.

The local community thinks that the position of English among pupils is non high since pupils communicate in Singlish in their mundane life. From the local community ‘s point of view, Singlish has a lower societal value when comparing with the Standard English. Chew ( 2007 ) finds from a market research that “ 98 % of the respondents rejected the impression of learning Singlish in school, reflecting a rejection of low-value assortments, particularly when it came to learning it to the younger coevals ” ( as cited in Tsui and Tollefson, 2007, p.86 ) . They view pupils talking Singlish as holding hapless English.

Government functionaries find that the position of English among pupils is non adept plenty as pupils use Singlish extensively. Tan ( 2007 ) finds that “ the Government respects Singlish as pidgin English and is working concertedly towards eliminating it in order non to sabotage Singapore ‘s competitory strength ” ( as cited in Lee and Suryadinata, 2007, p.88 ) . Therefore, Speak Good English Movement ( SGEM ) was carried out in 2000. The authorities believes that pupils talking Singlish are impacting the Standard English proficiency of Singaporeans in general, and they are impacting Singapore ‘s competiveness in the planetary market. The above thoughts are the different point of views of the position of English among pupils.



Malaysia is a multi-ethnic and multilingual state that consists of two parts: Peninsular Malaysia and Malayan Borneo ( besides known as West and East Malaysia severally ) . There are three cultural groups in Malaya: Malayans and other Bumiputras, Chinese and Indians. Since the 1800s, the English linguistic communication has had permeant influence in assorted domains of Malayan life under intense British colonisation. On 31 August 1957, Malaysia got its independency from the United Kingdom ; the Malay linguistic communication ( Bahasa Malaysia ) was so accepted as the national linguistic communication.

English Language Policies Primary and Secondary Schools in Malaysia


Policy for Primary Schools

Policy for Secondary Schools


The Razak Report introduced Bahasa Malaysia and the English linguistic communication as school topics in both primary and secondary schools.


The execution of the National Education Policy unified the national schools, utilizing Bahasa Malaysia as the medium of direction ( MOI ) , and the national type English schools, utilizing English as the MOI, into one. While Bahasa Malaysia was chosen as the MOI, English was officially given the position of a 2nd linguistic communication.


The post-1970 Primary English Syllabus ( which was a fully fledged structural-situational course of study ) was implemented in all national primary schools.

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The English Syllabus for Form One – Three ( which was an extension of the primary school course of study ) was implemented in the lower signifiers.


The Cabinet Committee Report recommended the focal point of the New Primary Schools Curriculum or Kurikulum Baru Sekolah Rendah ( KBSR ) English linguistic communication learning course of study should be on the three R ‘s – reading, composing and arithmetic.

The English Language Syllabus in Malaysian Schools Form Four – Form Five ( with a undertaking – oriented situational attack, besides known as the Malayan Communicative Syllabus ) was implemented in the upper signifiers.


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The English Language Reader Programme ( ELRP ) was implemented under the enterprise of the Schools Division of the Ministry of Education.


The Cabinet Committee Report highlighted the importance of English as the linguistic communication of scientific discipline and engineering and its relevancy to Malaysia.


The KBSR was implemented.

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The Integrated Secondary Schools Curriculum or Kurikulum Bersepadu Sekolah Menengah ( KBSM ) was implemented.

Moral and religious values were infused into English linguistic communication categories.


A revamped course of study known as the Integrated Primary Schools Curriculum or Kurikulum Bersepadu Sekolah Rendah ( KBSR ) was implemented in all primary schools.

The Class Reader Programme ( CRP ) was started at the Form One degree.


Self-Access Learning ( SAL ) was introduced.


The Integrated Primary School Curriculum was revised.

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Late ninetiess

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Critical and originative thought accomplishments were implemented sharply as portion of the wider KBSM ELT course of study.


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Smart School Project was implemented.



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The literature programme in the English linguistic communication course of study was implemented.


The authorities decided to back the instruction of Science and Mathematics in English with Primary 1, Form 1 and Form 4 categories.

During the interim period, public scrutinies of the two topics were conducted in both English and Bahasa Malaysia.

The Success of English Language Policies in Malaysia

Recognizing the importance of English, the Education Ministry has embarked on attempts to increase pupils ‘ English proficiency by turn toing the lacks within the facets of instruction and larning English.

During the British epoch, English was taught merely at the English medium schools and such policy was to educate the Malays to go better husbandmans, fishermen, nurserymans and craftsmen ( Pandian, 2001 ) . Therefore, a big subdivision of the community could non travel to these schools because of fiscal and transit jobs. With the acceptance of English as a school topic, more people can make the linguistic communication and hence, help set up them in a better socio-economic place.

From the early structural-situational attack to the communicative attack, the English linguistic communication policies were amended to run into the immediate and projected manpower demands of the state, every bit good as to heighten pupils ‘ linguistic communication acquisition. Until 1983, the primary school course of study was based on a structural attack which focused on distinct acquisition of grammar. Harmonizing to Abraham ( 1987 ) , such attack led to a really restrictive teacher-centered attack that instructors concentrated on learning grammar while pretermiting communicative facets. As a consequence, pupils who could go through scrutinies and go on to the third degree failed to utilize the English linguistic communication fruitfully in a communicative event. To better the course of study, the task-oriented situational course of study was adopted in secondary schools. The communicative attack of the KBSM course of study provided many chances for treatments and activities imitating real-life contexts. Apart from providing for efficient linguistic communication acquisition, it besides promoted pupils ‘ rational development. The integrating of moral values, cognition from other topics and linguistic communication content and accomplishments made linguistic communication larning ‘more realistic and reliable ‘ ( Kementerian Pendidikan Malaysia, 1989 ) . Other ELT programmes like Smart School Project equip pupils of the new millenary with the necessary communicative and multi-literacy accomplishments.

The Demerits of English Language Policies in Malaysia

Since the execution of the Malay medium direction, many instructors, bookmans and the general public believe that pupils ‘ English proficiency has declined ( Pandian, 2001 ) . Harmonizing to Govindasamy ( 2001 ) , many undergraduates have to memorise words from their text editions for the ground that they have limited proficiency in English to show their thoughts in their ain words. In other words, the proficiency attained at the school degree is non sufficient plenty to assist university pupils become effectual readers.

The Status of English in Malaysia

While cultural minority groups have been switching towards the usage of English, approximately 60 % to 70 % of the school-going population, chiefly those populating in rural countries in Malaysia, English is a foreign linguistic communication to them ( David & A ; Govindasamy, 2003 ) .

Language experts worry that keeping English as the agencies of communicating will go hard because of the diminishing figure of people who are able to utilize it. Yet, some intellectuals are instead cautious in back uping utilizing English as the MOI due to the fright of a diminution in the hereafter position of Malay, every bit good as the ability of instructors and pupils to manage the force per unit area of instruction and acquisition in a foreign linguistic communication ( David & A ; Govindasamy, 2003 ) .

The concern / local community consider employees ‘ accomplishments in written and spoken English as one of the major standards during enlisting. Employers are loath to engage local alumnuss who are non able to pass on good in English. Harmonizing to Rappa & A ; Wee ( 2006 ) , one with higher competency in the linguistic communication has a higher opportunity of basking greater occupational mobility and societal mobility.

Government functionaries are concerned about the worsening criterions of English, which could impede Malaysia ‘s advancement towards accomplishing developed state position. Yet, they think Malaysians should be proud that Bahasa Malaysia is the national linguistic communication and English should non transcend Bahasa Malaysia in position and value as the medium of linguistic communication in disposal and instruction ( Rappa & A ; Wee, 2006 ) .

What Hong Kong can larn from Singapore and Malaysia

Since the handover, the authorities still claims that Hong Kong instruction is taking at heightening the trilingual and biliterate abilities of local pupils, and this is achieved by apportioning resources to widening bing reading strategies and printing authorship bundles ( Education Bureau, 2010 ) . However, local bookmans are knocking the authorities for explicitly switching towards Cantonese, particularly within the Legislative Council ( Bolton, 2002a ) . This is besides true for authorities functionaries and sections doing imperativeness releases. The pronounced displacement is uncovering to the populace that the authorities now prefers Chinese to English. The stance of the authorities could be detering Hong Kong pupils to better their English. They may non see an pressing demand to smooth their English accomplishments, and may oppugn the benefits of larning English. Given the rise of Mainland China, it is apprehensible that some Hong Kong pupils now perceive that larning Chinese and talking good Mandarin are more preferred.

If Hong Kong so wishes to prosecute a ‘trilingual, biliterate ‘ linguistic communication policy, Hong Kong should larn from Singapore, as the city state has set a good illustration of a bilingual international metropolis for Hong Kong. Singapore has put much accent on the usage of English, and this can be noticed in their English linguistic communication policies. For illustration, Singapore has developed policies which repeatedly emphasize the instruction of grammar and literacy larning throughout the past 40 old ages, as seen in the tabular array in our Singapore subdivision. Given that we, local English instructors, can detect that Hong Kong pupils are non merely fighting with grammar, but besides finding literature a chilling idea, the debut and accent of similar policies in Hong Kong would be a most welcoming sight.

Hong Kong can besides see establishing a similar run to Singapore ‘s “ Speak Good English Movement ” ( SGEM ) . While the motion has received assorted responses in Singapore, as Singaporeans cherish Singlish and have shown strong fond regards to the local assortment of English, the authorities has denied that the motion is to extinguish Singlish wholly from the province. In fact, the authorities has informed the populace that the motion is “ targeted at Singaporeans who have really limited competency, whose repertory is restricted to Singlish, and who, unlike their better educated opposite numbers, are unable to code-switch between Singlish and a more standard assortment ” ( Rappa and Wee, 2006, p. 95 ) . This shows that the authorities is non coercing educated Singaporeans to give up their Singlish assortment, and yet, it is promoting the less educated populace to get a more standard assortment, as it opens up the doors of chance for them, and allows them to mount up the socio-economic ladder.

Hong Kong English, similar to Singaporean English, is an established and recognized assortment of Asiatic English, as evidenced by the plants published by bookmans ( see, for illustration, Bolton, 2002b ) . Therefore, if the authorities is to form an English-promotion run similar to Singapore ‘s, Hong Kong has to give acknowledgment to the local assortment, and, at the same clip, stress the importance of talking a standard assortment of English that can let Hong Kong people to pass on with their western opposite numbers. Although Hong Kong has launched the “ Workplace English Campaign ” in 2000 ( SCOLAR, 2005 ) , it is non sufficient for the authorities to merely stress the demand for larning workplace English. Government functionaries should take the lead to talk English in public, as demonstrated by the first two premier curates of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew and Goh Chok Tong ( see Rappa and Wee, 2006, pp. 94 – 95 ) , since this can actuate Hong Kong pupils to larn the international linguistic communication.

In add-on, Hong Kong can besides larn from how Malaysia handles the execution of linguistic communication policies. To mention an illustration, in 2002, the Malayan authorities has decided to choose for English as the medium of direction for the instruction of scientific discipline and mathematics in primary and secondary schools. The policy has received plentifulness of resistance from Chinese and Tamil communities, as it would endanger the cultural individualities of these schools. The policy has since been modified to accommodate the demands of schools of different cultural backgrounds ( Hashim, 2003 ) . This incident has shown that the Malayan authorities would let for via media in the execution of linguistic communication policies. Such flexibleness can barely be seen in how Hong Kong handles the execution of female parent lingua instruction in 1998.

Decision: Recommendations to the Hong Kong EDB

The post-1997 authorities has been criticized for implementing policies that are “ framed in mostly symbolic footings ” ( Morris & A ; Scott, 2005, p.97 ) and frequently “ remained at the degree of rhetoric ” ( Morris & A ; Scott, 2005, p.83 ) , owing to the restraints of Hong Kong ‘s “ disarticulated political system and the destructive political civilization ” ( Morris & A ; Scott, 2005, p.97 ) . Hence, the linguistic communication policies implemented since the handover can non be seen as really successful, at least in the eyes of the general populace. This has caused the populace to lose assurance in the linguistic communication policies proposed the authorities. In add-on to implementing policies, the EDB should explicate the policies and the grounds for implementing them, as this can let the populace to better understand the policies.

In order to do the instruction reform less elusive, the EDB should besides be after the policies carefully and believe about the possible effects before implementing them. The 1998 female parent lingua policy serves as a dearly-won lesson – some would impute the possible diminution of English criterion of Hong Kong pupils to this uneffective linguistic communication policy. Despite the protest of public and pedagogues, it is merely after 12 old ages that the EDB has eventually decided to present the fine-tuning MOI policy, leting schools to take their MOI where they see fit. Through publicity, careful planning and implementing, the policies proposed by the EDB would have more support and less resistance.

Another recommendation is that EDB should listen to front-line pedagogues, viz. instructors. Education reform in Hong Kong frequently comes “ from

the top and from authorities administrative officials ” ( Ho, 2005, p.218 ) , and this causes the instruction system to demo discourtesy for instructors ‘ liberty and maintain them from showing their ideas freely ( Ho, 2005 ) . If the EDB is willing to pay more attending to the voice of local instructors, it would decidedly have a batch of valuable and echt suggestions from the group that may really understand the demands of Hong Kong pupils. Not merely would this maintain instructors from being marginalized, but this would besides let the authorities to implement policies which can run into the demands of pupils and the society.

One concluding concern is that Hong Kong lacks a contributing English linguistic communication larning environment, which causes English in Hong Kong go a foreign instead than a 2nd linguistic communication ( Li, 2009, p.72 ) . Given that the bulk of the local population are Cantonese-speaking Chinese, it appears that they would seldom, if non ne’er, prosecute in intra-ethnic conversations in English. It would be really disputing for Hong Kong pupils to happen ways to rehearse talking English. Hence, in order to advance English acquisition, it is critical for the EDB to make a more favorable English acquisition environment. In add-on to apportioning more resources to the English sections of Hong Kong schools, the key to success prevarications in forming more English activities for Hong Kong pupils outside the schoolroom.


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