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Bilingual EducationSoutheast Asian Perspectives$
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Angela M. Y. Lin and Evelyn Y. F. Man

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9789622099586

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789622099586.001.0001

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History and Development of Bilingual Education in Hong Kong

History and Development of Bilingual Education in Hong Kong

(p.72) (p.73) 4 History and Development of Bilingual Education in Hong Kong
Bilingual Education

Angel M. Y. Lin

Evelyn Y. F. Man

Hong Kong University Press

In this chapter, a historical account of the development of the language-in-education (LIE) policy in Hong Kong is provided. The socio-political context is also described in an attempt to situate this policy in the historical context. Major policy developments including the MIGA exercise introduced in 1994, the mandatory linguistic streaming policy introduced in 1998, and recent policy revisions, are also discussed. We make the observation that Hong Kong's postcolonial LIE policy has been plagued with charges of elitism and social stratifying effects. Ironically, the situation seems to be worse than it was during colonial times. In conclusion, we discuss how Hong Kong's postcolonial mother-tongue education policy seems to be more a result of narrowly focused technical rationality than of postcolonial nationalism, and how this decontextualized rationality has run into trouble by failing to pay attention to the larger socio-economic and socio-political effects of the policies. Discussion is also given to the recent policy of implementing Putonghua as MOI for Chinese Language and Literature which, although likely to be driven by the agenda to spread China's national language to Hong Kong, is legitimized in the Hong Kong government's discourse by the pedagogical benefits of Putonghua teaching on the writing skills of Modern Standard Chinese.

Keywords:   Language-in-education policy, Mother-tongue education, Putonghua, Bilingual education, Hong Kong

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