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Tse, S. K., Shum, M., Ki, W. W., & Chan, Y. M. (2007). The medium dilemma for Hong Kong secondary schools. Language Policy, 6 (1), 135-162. DOI:10.1007/s10993-006-9039-y.



The medium dilemma for Hong Kong secondary schools


Language Policy




Vol. 6


Shek Kam TSE, Mark SHUM, Wing Wah KI, Yiu Man CHAN


The most debated issue in Hong Kong education is the choice of language as medium of instruction. Historically, however, this was not simply a matter of selecting the mode that would yield the highest level of academic attainment. As a British colony from 1842 Hong Kong’s education provision was based upon British precedents and models. As a result, English has long enjoyed a high social status in society, with many Hong Kong people perceiving English as a language of superiority, power and success. The resultant stigma that was attached to Chinese did not deter the prospering of Chinese. Since the formal political handover to China and the new status of Special Administrative Region, Hong Kong has grappled with the issue of the medium of instruction. This article reports on a study of a group of people centrally involved with the issue of medium of instruction in secondary schools, school administrators and teachers and discusses the results in the light of their consequences for language education planning.


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