The HKIEd language policy: How linguistic and cultural diversity
is handled at the Hong Kong Institute of Education
CALPIU ’12
Higher education across borders:
Transcultural interaction and linguistic diversity
04 – 04 – 2012
Prof. David C.S. Li ( 李 楚 成 )
Hong Kong Institute of Education
Department of English
Telephone: (852) 2948 8602
Fax: (852) 2948 7270
Email: [email protected]
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Where is Hong Kong (SAR)?
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Demographics: Population over 7 million
(January 2012), ca. 1,100 square km
Chinese: 95%
Filipinos: 1.7%
Indonesians: 1.6%
Indians: 1%
others: 0.8%
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Chinese Hongkongers
About 90%:
 Cantonese-dominant
 bilingual in English/Putonghua to different extents
About 5%:
 Other Chinese varieties
e.g. Chiu Chow, Hakka, etc.
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Self-styled “Asia’s World City”
July, 2010:
 HK ranked 4th among international financial hubs
April, 2009:
 Six industries identified for future development…
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Six industries identified for future development
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Testing and certification
Medical services
Innovation and technology
Cultural and creative industries
Environmental industries
(International) educational services
HK thrives on finance/service industries/knowledge-based economy
When hiring, employers value English proficiency, increasingly
Putonghua as well
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One country, two systems, three languages
Cantonese
(spoken)
• vernacular, regional lingua franca
• not supposed to be written
English
(spoken / written)
• language of former colonial masters
• embraced by postcolonial subjects
Putonghua / Mandarin
(spoken)
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national language
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lingua franca in Greater China
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model for Standard Written Chinese
(SWC)
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Hong Kong language policy
Co-official languages: Chinese* and English
Language policy goal: biliteracy and trilingualism (兩文三語)
* Chinese in HK  spoken Cantonese / SWC
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The Hong Kong Institute of Education
language policy (effective 09/2012)
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The Hong Kong Institute of Education
(HKIEd)
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One of 8 HKG-funded tertiary institutions
Total student population:
 Undergraduate: ~ 2,000
 Postgraduate (including Ph.D.): ~ 200
Vision / mission:
 education-focused, multidisciplinary, strong research
capacity
 leading provider of quality teacher education in AsiaPacific region
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Main challenge toward these goals
Toward internationalization:
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Most courses are Chinese-medium (currently over 65%)
Not enough EMI courses
 Few students able to gain international experience
(e.g., outgoing exchange)
 Can’t attract international students
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HKIEd’s new language policy from September 2012
“HKIEd will adopt a new language policy to enhance students’
trilingual proficiency development with strengthened
Language Enhancement Programmes and Language Exit
Requirements (LERs) in English and Putonghua.
Being informed by the notion of ‘functional trilingualism’,
the new language policy is designed to enhance our students’
competitiveness in an increasingly globalised world. It does
so by setting clear language learning targets, equipping them
with an internationally recognized level of English and
Putonghua, and fostering the development of a language-rich
environment at HKIEd.”
(HKIEd Intranet Announcement, March 2012 emphasis added)
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Functional trilingualism
the ability to use three languages to varying
degrees of proficiency and for different purposes
( Andy Kirkpatrick ? )
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HKIEd new language policy: Key features
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Minimum Language Exit Requirements (LERs) for ENG
and PTH (programme-specific)
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Support for tertiary-level English and SWC
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Support for basic Cantonese (non-Chinese / nonCantonese-speaking students)
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HKIEd-sponsored IELTS and PSC (national PTH test) once
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Minimum Language Exit Requirements (LERs) in ENG /
PTH for all full-time UG students from September 2012
Undergraduate Programme
Minimum exit level*
IELTS
PSC**
BEd (English Language)
7.0
3B
BA (Language Studies) – English Major
7.0
3A
BEd (Chinese Language)
6.0
2B
BA (Language Studies) – Chinese Major
6.0
2B
All non-Language Major
6.0
3B
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Support for tertiary-level English
and SWC
ENG:
 Five courses (138 hours, mandatory)
 IELTS preparation (4 skills, 60 hours, optional)
SWC:
 Three courses (total 90 hours)
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Support for Cantonese (non-Chinese /
non-Cantonese-speaking students)
Non-Chinese, e.g. South Asians (Indians, Pakistanis, Nepalese)
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Two compulsory courses in Basic / Survival Cantonese
Exempted from LERs in Putonghua (but not in English)
Putonghua-dominant students from Mainland China
 Two compulsory courses in Basic / Survival Cantonese
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HKIEd-sponsored IELTS test and PSC
(national Putonghua test) once
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All undergraduate students are sponsored to take
IELTS
PSC
once, after completing their English enhancement /
Putonghua enhancement programme
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Language of Instruction
“Language of instruction is another important aspect of
the Institute’s Language Policy. To demonstrate our
commitment to internationalization and adhering to
societal expectation of language competence of our
students, the percentage of English-medium content
courses in non-language major BEd programmes will be
gradually increased to at least 50% by 2013/14. (...) ”
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from ‘laissez-faire approach’
to ‘Promotion of English’ / ‘pro-multilingualism approach’
(F. Grin)
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Implementation of new language policy:
Some lingering concerns
Local staff’s ability and willingness to teach in English
Some non-local staff don’t teach because of low uptake
of EMI courses
Mix of students from different L1 backgrounds
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Local:
Cantonese-dominant
Mainland China: Putonghua-dominant
International: English-dominant
Non-Chinese students are turned away despite EMI
Staff training in effective bilingual teaching strategies
needed (not on agenda yet)
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If time
‘Race bias heard in language block’
(23/03/2012, The Standard)
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Equal Opportunity Commission (EOC)
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Survey based on 107 valid responses
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‘Race bias heard in language block’
“the language barrier is depriving them
[minority groups] of gainful employment and
an education (…) the problem is made worse
by government policy that neglects the needs
of minorities by institutionalizing Cantonese
as a mandatory entrance requirement for
both employment and higher education
opportunities.”
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‘Race bias heard in language block’
“It is well recognized that the language barrier
is the biggest hurdle for ethnic minorities to
integrate into the Hong Kong community,
hindering employment opportunities and
restricting intercultural interaction.”
Equal Opportunities Commission Chairman, W.K. Lam
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Q&A
Tak
Merci / Danke / Gracies / Gracias / Thank you
多 謝 (do55 ze22)
謝 謝 (xièxiè)
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Cantonese vis-à-vis Putonghua (Mandarin)
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