Li (1999) discussed the function and status of English in Hong Kong in his article.
For functions of languages in education domain, Li (1999) states that the public had a common belief that good proficiency in bilingual languages prepares students with better prospects in higher education and career advancement. It also helps to sustain Hong Kong’s economic prosperity and development.
For attitudes towards language use, employers had high expectations of university graduates in language abilities. Many parents believed that English-medium schools could provide their children with more and better opportunities with acquiring English. However, the government emphasizes on importance of Chinese by enforcing a mother-tongue policy. For attitudes towards language proficiency, Li (1999) argues that the perception of declining language standards due to the expansion in tertiary education was only an illusion because no empirical research on comparison of language abilities between the top students from different generations was carried out. It might be explained only by the media exaggeration and generalizing university education.
According to Li (1999), a mother-tongue education policy was started from September 1998. Only 114 OF 411 secondary schools could remain English medium. With implementing the policy, the government provided Chinese Medium schools with resources to hire at least one NET teacher to maintain students’ languages quality of English. It also forbade code-switching which caused the degrading of language standard by inspecting the schools regularly. The policy was comprehensively reviewed within 3 years. The policy aroused the public’s attention and controversy. Parents strongly opposed to the policy and reacted passively with moving to places where gather lots of English-medium schools to stand a better chance of being allocated to them. The government was criticized but popularized the campaign. Worse still, the policy caused an...
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