Skip to main content Skip to search
Print this page

Education for non-Chinese children


Date of Meeting: 5 December 2001

Asked by : Hon Emily LAU

Replied by : SEM

Question :

On the question of education for non-Chinese speaking children, will the Executive Authorities inform this Council:

  1. of the current number of such children together with a breakdown according to their ethnic background;

  2. of the current number of such children who cannot find school places in aided schools and the reasons for that;

  3. whether the Administration has assessed the effectiveness of the grant introduced in the last school year which provides subsidies to primary and secondary schools at the rates of $2,750 and $4,080 respectively for each non-Chinese speaking child admitted; if so, of the assessment results; and

  4. of the specific plans to meet the education needs of non-Chinese speaking children?


Madam President,

I understand from the Hon Emily Lau that by non-Chinese speaking (NCS) children, she is referring to children whose mother tongue is not Chinese, and are aged between 6 to 15.

We do not keep statistics on the number of NCS children residing in Hong Kong. We can however estimate the number of NCS children based on the number of children of a non-Chinese ethnic origin. According to the 2001 Population Census conducted by the Census and Statistics Department, the number of such children together with a breakdown of their ethnic background is at Annex I.



Under current policy, all eligible local children (see Annex II for eligibility criteria), including NCS children, are entitled to nine-year free and universal education. To enable NCS children to integrate into the local community as soon as possible, the Government encourages them to attend public sector schools (i.e., government schools and aided schools). These children may request placement assistance from the Education Department (ED) if necessary. ED's performance pledge is to find a school place for them within 21 working days. All along, ED has been able to find a school place for all NCS children seeking its assistance.


To enable schools to provide school-based support programmes for NCS children, we have been providing block grants to schools admitting NCS children starting from the last school year. To ensure proper use of the grant, schools are required to apply to ED for the grant and propose how to use the grant in their applications. ED, through its regular school visits, also renders advice to schools on how to run these programmes. To measure the effectiveness of the grant, ED will require schools receiving the grant to conduct self-evaluation by the end of this school year on how their school-based support programmes have helped NCS children.

d. Apart from block grant and placement assistance mentioned in (b) and (c) above, subventions are also provided to non-governmental organisations (NGOs) for running induction programmes to help NCS children adapt to the local school environment. In addition, ED conducts briefing and experience sharing sessions with relevant NGOs from time to time to see how our education and support services could be better publicised among these children and their parents. To further strengthen the support service for NCS children, ED is considering to run a half-year full-time "initiation programme" for these children starting from early next year. The "initiation programme" aims at enhancing the Chinese and English standards of these children, as well as providing them with learning experience in the local classroom context.
Annex 1
  Number of children Aged 6-15 of
Non-Chinese Ethnic Groups by Ethnicity, 2001
Ethnicity Number
Japanese 1830
Indian 1746
Pakistani 1461
Filipino 1382
Korean 889
Nepalese 292
Others 12107
Annex 2
Admission criteria of children to public sector schools
in Hong Kong

Children holding one of the following documents can be admitted to public sector schools:

  1. Hong Kong Birth Certificate

    1. For birth registration effected before 1 January 1983, the birth certificate alone is sufficient proof of the holder's eligibility for admission to such schools;

    2. For birth registration effected between 1 January 1983 and 30 June 1987, column 12 of their birth certificates must indicate their Hong Kong belonger status as "Established";

    3. For birth registration effected on or after 1 July 1987, column 12 or 11 of their birth certificates must indicate their Hong Kong permanent resident status as "Established";

    4. Children whose Hong Kong belonger status or Hong Kong permanent resident status is known as "Not established" in the birth certificate should have a Permit to Remain in Hong Kong - ID 235B or valid travel documents, with one of the endorsements listed in (c) below.

  2. Hong Kong Identity Card

    A Hong Kong Identify Card issued on or after 1 July 1987 which does not bear the symbol 'C' (for conditional stay) at line 6. If the symbol 'C' is shown, the holder must have a valid travel document with one of the endorsements listed in (c) below;

  3. Travel Document

    A valid travel document with any of the following endorsements:

    1. "Permitted to remain until (date)" (the date showing the stay in Hong Kong to be still valid at the time of admission to school);

    2. "Permission to remain extended until (date)" (the date showing the stay in Hong Kong to be still valid at the time of admission to school);

    3. "The holder of this travel document has the right to land in Hong Kong. (Section 2AAA, Immigration Ordinance Cap. 115, Laws of Hong Kong)";

    4. "The holder arrived Hong Kong on (date) and was permitted to land.";

    5. Permitted to stay with no condition attached;

    6. "Previous conditions of stay are hereby cancelled"; or

    7. "Holder's eligibility for Hong Kong permanent identity card verified".

Last revision date: 05 December 2001
This website is IPv6 Enabled We are committed to ensuring that our webpage conforms to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Level AA requirements to the maximum extent possible. However,as our webpage contains considerable multi-media contents, it is not possible to incorporate all Level AA accessibility requirements in all of them. Nonetheless, the multi-media contents are so located as not to affect the accessibility of significant contents in our webpage. Valid HTML 4.01 Strict