Volume 1, Issue 2  December 2020, pp. 51–59          Download PDF

Regular Articles
Multicultural education: How are ethnic minorities labelled and educated in post-handover Hong Kong?

Fang Gao http://orcid.org/0000-0003-3433-81681, Jan Gube https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1818-86762

1 The Education University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong fgao@eduhk.hk
2 The Education University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong cgube@eduhk.hk

DOI: https://doi.org/10.29140/mle.v1n2.363


Using multicultural education as a lens, this article details the discursive formation of Hong Kong’s linguistic landscape with a focus on policy arrangements around teaching Chinese as a second language for non-Chinese ethnic minorities since the early 2000s. We pose two research questions: What are the identifiable policy trends in education for ethnic minorities? And how effective are the policy provisions in managing diversity and social justice for ethnic minorities in Hong Kong? The study draws upon documentary analysis to review existing local literature, which highlight the school admission, curriculum design, language teachers’ professional development practices, and assessment pertaining to the education of ethnic minority students. Our analysis reveals a narrow concentration of policies that focus exclusively on supporting ethnic minority students’ Chinese language learning regarded as the barrier to their advancement in education and an omission of other nonlinguistic, structural and ideological challenges and barriers. This barrier contributes to prejudices in school access, curriculum and assessment that function within an assimilationist integration framework. We call for policy measures that broaden the focus of multicultural education for ethnic minorities and that seek to manage ethnolinguistic diversity for equal citizenship rights in the Asian context.


© Fang Gao, Jan Gube

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Suggested citation

Gao, F., & Gube, J. (2020). Multicultural education: How are ethnic minorities labelled and educated in post-handover Hong Kong? Migration and Language Education, 1(2), 51–59. https://doi.org/10.29140/mle.v1n2.363

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