Mixed blessing

Mixed blessing

Schools may struggle with non-Chinese students

A new subsidy granted to local schools with more than 10 non-Chinese speaking students is like a "double-edged sword", a veteran educator said.

The remark by Tsui Fook-keung, acting principal of Delia Memorial School (Hip Wo), came after undersecretary for Education Kevin Yeung Yun-hung told lawmakers on Monday that 70 more schools will get a subsidy of between HK$300,00 and HK$600,00 a year to boost Chinese education for non-Chinese speaking students.

The move is aimed at minimising the labelling effect, which refers to schools having a high concentration of students of South and Southeast Asia origin. Currently 31 schools, deemed as "designated" schools, receive the grant.

Tsui said the move could encourage more local schools to take in students from ethnic minority groups. This would help these students blend in with locals better.

Tsui added, however, that if ethnic minority students were spread out in a larger network of schools, it could mean that some new schools who take them in might struggle to run an efficient system for them at first.

Tsui's own school has been teaching students from ethnic minorities for more than 50 years.

He said many "designated" schools already have mixed student bodies, which help ethnic minorities blend in. "At the end of the day, whether students can blend in depends on the school's teaching strategies."

Other critics of the Education Bureau's plan say giving more money to schools will not necessarily mean these students will be better integrated.

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