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.
Manoj Dhar, from the charity Integrated Brilliant Education Trust said: Previously, the language barrier was the main issue. Now it’s the language and no [face-to-face] school. How do you motivate and help your child to study when you don’t have the internet or an iPad at home? Many kids are suffering because they don’t have access to that.”
Maggie Holmes from CALHK said:
“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.