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‘Segregated’ schooling is holding back Hong Kong’s potential

For those without a good command of the Chinese language, whether they be Chinese or NCS students, IB offers a way to circumvent the Chinese language requirement for applicants to universities in Hong Kong via the non-Jupas route.

However, this creates a compound inequity where affluent Chinese who can afford an IB education bypass the Chinese language requirement while NCS students who cannot afford the programme must take the DSE and be expected to demonstrate Chinese proficiency.

While NCS students have alternatives to meet Chinese language requirements such as the General Certificate of Secondary Education, it is a complex and cumbersome system with uneven policies among universities.


Is Hong Kong’s education system failing non-ethnic Chinese children?

Among the international students in Hong Kong, some are from South Asia. Their numbers are likely to increase in the coming years. Notably, these international students are not required to demonstrate proficiency in the Chinese language.

In mainland China, as a multiethnic society, Chinese is mandatory for university entrance for all ethnic groups. This is important for nation-building. However, the mainland allows local and provincial variations of the gaokao. Moreover, university entrance requirements are adjusted for ethnic minorities in autonomous regions such as Tibet and Xinjiang.

Hong Kong has emulated some of the mainland’s policies, albeit the rigid parts instead of the more adaptive ones. Instead, Hong Kong may consider implementing affirmative admission policies for its economically disadvantaged ethnic minorities, subject to certain criteria and excluding those who can afford the IB programme or an education with the English Schools Foundation.