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CALHK in the MEDIA : CAL students hard hit by suspension of face to face classes.

Updated: Mar 23

SCMP article by Raquel Carvalho


A lack of access to computers or the internet during the Covid-19 pandemic is a further obstacle to children from ethnic minority groups learning Chinese.


The article includes:


Many parents have struggled to provide support to their children, especially when it comes to learning Chinese. To this end, Maggie Holmes, a consultant with The Zubin Foundation, and three other mothers based in the city recently launched the non-profit Chinese as an Additional Language Hong Kong.


The volunteer-run group is putting together materials and making them available online, including vocabulary lists as well as videos and Chinese poems with English translations, so parents and children can refer to them.


“There is language in the textbooks that the children haven’t studied … and parents often feel very frustrated and helpless,” Holmes said. “To some extent the education system assumes you have support at home … Even native-speaking Chinese families often get private tutors. But if you don’t have that, it’s easy for the children to fall behind and then it’s very hard to catch up.”


Holmes said her group was currently working on providing Primary One resources, and that more materials would be uploaded in the coming weeks, including printable copy worksheets of 50 foundational Chinese characters with the translations into Urdu, Hindi, Nepali, Bahasa and English.

“Many schools use the same textbooks. We hope that teachers will let their students know about these resources. If they feel their students don’t have access to Wi-fi or computers, I hope that they will print it out,” Holmes said. “We hope our English-language support materials can make Chinese more accessible to a wider number of families.”

“There is language in the textbooks that the children haven’t studied … and parents often feel very frustrated and helpless,” Holmes said. “To some extent the education system assumes you have support at home … Even native-speaking Chinese families often get private tutors. But if you don’t have that, it’s easy for the children to fall behind and then it’s very hard to catch up.”


Holmes said her group was currently working on providing Primary One resources, and that more materials would be uploaded in the coming weeks, including printable copy worksheets of 50 foundational Chinese characters with the translations into Urdu, Hindi, Nepali, Bahasa and English.


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