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Press Room

Research on “Parental Support and School Adjustment of South Asian Children in Hong Kong”

23 July 2006

Since 2004, South Asian children can be allocated to mainstream (Chinese medium) schools through Central Allocation Policy. The school adjustment problem of South Asian children is one of the issues that we always concern. Children have to overcome drastic cultural changes, adapt to new values and cope with possible misunderstanding or even discrimination. During the adjustment process, parents always play an important role. Hong Kong Christian Service conducted a research to study the parental support and school adjustment of South Asian children in Hong Kong during the research period of April to June, 2006.

In the research, 54 parents and 53 children had been interviewed. Like our Chinese families, South Asian parents also had high expectations towards their children. 100% respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they expected their children to “get A grade” and “able to speak and write Chinese”. Yet, only 50% parents thought that they had responsibility to help their children to learn Chinese. The findings showed that language barrier created great difficulty to parents in providing support to their children. 81.5% of the respondents revealed that they were not able to read Chinese and 57.4% parents were not able to speak Chinese. More than half of the respondents reported that they had difficulty in reading school handbooks and understanding kid’s homework. Besides, the study also revealed that parents did not actively involve in school communication. Half of the respondents never talked with teachers (57.4%) or attend parent meeting (54.8%). One of the main reasons for them not attending was that “the parent meeting is conducted in Chinese”. Thus, the parents’ understanding towards Hong Kong education system was limited. In this study, parents were found to have superficial knowledge on the education system. Only about half of the respondents knew about nine year compulsory education system as well as the need to choose secondary schools when their children were in primary 6. Even only 22.2% of them knew about HKCEE.

On the other hand, the findings indicated that the more effort parents paid, the higher the Chinese language performance of children was achieved. Also, “Chinese language performance of children” was significantly and positively correlated with “children’s satisfaction in school life as well as living in Hong Kong”. This implied that with the support of parents, South Asian children would have better learning in Chinese language and this would be positively related with the children school adjustment in Hong Kong.

From the findings and analysis of the research, we are sure that continuous tailor made support services for South Asian children are important. Meanwhile, resources and services for empowering parents’ strength in assisting children’s school work are also necessary. The existing language support should not be only confined to children but also open to parents. In order to facilitate parents and school communication, the education sector should take more active roles in contacting South Asian parents. Schools should be more alert on the language barriers of parents. They should try best to communicate with South Asians parents in either English or ethnic languages, such as translating the school notices in English or even in ethnic languages, conducting parent meetings in English, etc so that parents can know more about the school and education system of Hong Kong. In addition, supportive services for South Asian parents are needed for those who have difficulties in supervising their kids’ homework and helping them to cope with the school requirements.

In sum, school adjustment of South Asian children is not only contributed by the effort of children and parents themselves. Education and welfare sectors should also work close together in building a positive learning and living environment for South Asians in Hong Kong.

Media Enquires
  • Hong Kong Christian Service has continuously been providing a variety of professional and people-oriented social services, regardless of their gender, social status, religion and race. Project Connection was a territory wide project sponsored by Home Affairs Bureau commenced from October 2004 to August 2006. The Project provided out of school support service to primary school students and their parents of ethnic minority. Should further information on the above be required, please contact Ms Viola Tsang, Supervisor of Hong Kong Christian Service.
    Tel: 2342-6156
  • Ms Cindy HO
    Information Officer
    Hong Kong Christian Service
    Tel: 2731-6263