Date
22 October 2017
In the 2015/16 school year, 71 percent of primary schools used Putonghua as the medium of instruction in some or all of their Chinese Language classes; 37 percent of secondary schools did so. Photo: HKEJ
In the 2015/16 school year, 71 percent of primary schools used Putonghua as the medium of instruction in some or all of their Chinese Language classes; 37 percent of secondary schools did so. Photo: HKEJ

Study fails to find edge for Putonghua over Cantonese in schools

A study on the teaching medium for the Chinese Language subject in schools found merely that using Putonghua had no negative effect, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported Tuesday.

The study, done by the Education University of Hong Kong over three years, was commissioned by the Standing Committee on Language Education and Research (SCOLAR).

It found that the participating schools had picked students with relatively better academic results in Chinese Language to take classes using Putonghua as the medium of instruction for teaching that subject (PMIC) as compared with students attending Chinese Language classes using Cantonese as the medium of instruction (CMIC).

The researchers therefore found it impossible to deduce that Putonghua is a more effective medium of instruction.

They could only conclude that there is no negative impact from using Putonghua as the teaching medium for the subject.

The report recommended that schools consider whether they have the necessary resources to introduce PMIC.

It also said students should be exposed to Putonghua at an early stage.

Between 2012 and 2015, the study tracked two primary and two secondary schools that offer Putonghua and Cantonese as the medium of instruction for Chinese Language, RTHK reported.

The Education Bureau (EDB) said the report has its limitations, as only four schools were studied, and therefore its insights may not be adopted as conclusive.

The EDB said it will stick with adopting Putonghua as the medium of instruction for teaching the Chinese Language subject as a long-term goal.

Legislative councilor Ip Kin-yuen said the EDB should abolish that goal, otherwise it would be giving directives to schools from an administrative point of view rather than a professional one.

In the 2015/16 school year, a survey found, 71 percent of primary schools in Hong Kong used Putonghua as the medium of instruction in some or all of their Chinese Language classes; 37 percent of secondary schools did so.

The report advised schools to evaluate the readiness of teachers, ability of students, language environment of schools, curriculum planning as well as availability of learning and teaching resources and support when considering adopting PMIC.

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