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Education for the minority races

LEGCO QUESTION No. 13 (WRITTEN REPLY)

Date of Meeting: 15 November 2000



Asked by : Hon CHEUNG Man-kwong

Replied by : SEM

Question :

Regarding the education of non-Chinese Asian children and youths in Hong Kong, will the Government inform this Council:

  1. of the current number of these children and youths who are below the age of 15, and of the respective numbers of those who are attending government, aided, directly subsidized and private primary and secondary schools, as well as those who are not attending any school;

  2. of the number of children and youths involved in cases in which assistance by the Government had been sought in finding school places in the past three years and, among them, the number of those who succeeded in getting school places;

  3. whether it plans to take the initiative to assist those children and youths who are not attending schools to get enrolled; and

  4. of the measures for providing education opportunities to the youths aged 15 or above who have not completed junior secondary school and have a relatively lower standard of Chinese and English?


Reply:

Madam President,

We understand that by "non-Chinese Asian children", the Hon Cheung Man-kwong is referring to children who are of Indian/ Pakistani/ Nepalese nationality and are residing in Hong Kong. The replies below are prepared on this basis.

Parts (a), (b) and (c)

According to the statistics of the Immigration Department, as at 10 November 2000, there are about 3000, 2300, and 3100 Indian, Pakistani and Nepalese children respectively who are aged below 15 and are residing in Hong Kong.

Under existing policy, all eligible local children (see Annex for eligibility criteria), including Indian/ Pakistani/ Nepalese children, may attend public sector schools in Hong Kong. In addition, they may choose to attend private/ international schools. Since a student's racial origin/ nationality does not affect his/ her eligibility to study, the Education Department (ED) does not keep separate statistics on the number of Indian/ Pakistani/ Nepalese children who are aged below 15 and are now studying in public sector or private/ international schools.

Government policy is to provide nine years of free and universal education to local children (including Indian/ Pakistani/ Nepalese) aged between 6 and 15. Under existing arrangement, schools are required to bring to ED's attention if children of this age group drop out from their schools, and the Department will take follow-up actions to ensure that these children will attend schools. At the time when this reply is being prepared, there are three Indian/ Pakistani/ Nepalese children who have dropped out from schools; ED is now actively finding school places for them.

In addition, ED from time to time also receives placement requests from local children, including Indian/ Pakistani/ Nepalese children. ED's performance pledge is to find a school place for these children within 21 working days, and those aged between 6 and 15 are guaranteed a public sector school place. However, since the placement service is provided to all local children alike, ED does not keep separate statistics on the number of Indian/ Pakistani/ Nepalese children who have sought the Department's assistance to find school places in the past three years, and the number of successful cases.

We are aware that there are children, including Indian/ Pakistani/ Nepalese children, who should be in schools but for various reasons do not attend schools although ED does not have an estimate of the number of these children. ED has been adopting the following measures to actively bring these children back to schools -

  • working closely with relevant non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and social workers to reach out to children who are not attending schools and to provide assistance to these children;
  • conducting briefing and experience sharing sessions with relevant NGOs to see how our education services could be better publicised amongst these children; and
  • providing placement assistance service.


Part (d)

We are conscious that some Indian/ Pakistani/ Nepalese children may not be able to adapt to the local education system initially. Therefore, starting from the current school year, ED has been providing non-Chinese speaking children, including Indian/ Pakistani/ Nepalese children who are aged 15 or above and have not yet completed junior secondary education, with support services similar to those received by newly arrived children from the Mainland. Block grants ($2,750 and $4,080 per student for primary and secondary levels respectively) are provided to schools which admit non-Chinese speaking children. Schools may use the grants to provide school-based support services, such as organizing tutorial classes on Chinese/ English, developing special teaching materials, etc for their non-Chinese speaking students. In addition, subventions are provided to NGOs for running induction programmes to help non-Chinese speaking children adapt to the local school environment. While induction programmes are targeted at those aged below 15, children above this age could also attend these programmes.

For non-Chinese speaking children who are aged 15 or above, apart from day schools, they may also apply for ED's adult education courses to continue their study.


Annex
Admission criteria of children to public sector schools in Hong Kong

Admission to public sector schools is restricted to children holding one of the following documents:
  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 shown 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 Identity 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 that 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: 15 November 2000
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