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Tsui, A. B. M., Shum, M. S. K., Wong, C. K., Tse, S. K., & Ki, W. W. (1999). Which agenda? Medium of instruction policy in post-1997 Hong Kong, Language, Culture and Curriculum, 12, 196-214.



Which Agenda? Medium of Instruction Policy in Post-1997 Hong Kong


Language, Culture and Curriculum




Vol. 12
Issue 3


Amy B.M. TSUI, Mark S.K. SHUM, Chi Kin WONG, Shek Kam TSE, Wing Wah KI


The mandatory use of mother tongue education in Hong Kong after 1997 met strong objections from the local community. While the government put forward a comprehensive educational agenda to justify the implementation of the policy, this paper raises the question of whether the change in language policy was mainly driven by an educational agenda, or whether there were other underlying agendas. To address the question, the history of the medium of instruction in Hong Kong is reviewed, and the experience of three decolonised Asian countries, Malaysia, Singapore and India, is discussed. The paper suggests that the political agenda has always played an important role in language policy formulation and implementation. In view of the important role that language plays in nation building and social reconstruction, it is inevitable that Chinese medium instruction will become more and more important. How the government will balance the need to strengthen the national identity of Hong Kong people and the need to maintain the international out look and economic development of Hong Kong will have a major impact on there view of the new medium of instruction policy in 2001.


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