Lawmaker Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee has called for improved Chinese language education for ethnic minority children. Better Chinese education can boost their employability, she wrote on Facebook on Thursday. Ip is expected to announce her run for the chief executive position next Thursday.
The New People’s Party chair made the statement after she met with the founders of a private trust that supports students from underprivileged ethnic minority groups.
Ip wrote: “ethnic minorities often express in LegCo that they are unable to enjoy the same opportunities as the Chinese population because they are less capable [of communicating] in Chinese.” Even though some of the non-Chinese population can understand and speak Chinese, they are often less capable in writing Chinese, which is a major obstacle when it comes to seeking employment, she wrote.
“To fundamentally solve the problem, we need to let ethnic minorities learn Chinese from a young age,” Ip wrote.
Ip said the trust hopes to expand its services, but had difficulty finding a suitable location for their education centre. She said she would reflect its concerns to the government.
A spokesperson from Hong Kong Unison – an advocacy group for ethnic minority rights – told HKFP: “We agree that not being able to write Chinese is a major obstacle for the employability of ethnic minorities.”
But the group said it would be better if public resources were used to enhance Chinese language education for ethnic minorities within schools, as opposed to helping private educators. For example, schools could provide extra Chinese classes before or after school hours for free, it said.