Case #1572.0

Mother Tongue Education in Hong Kong: Convincing the Public

Publication Date: January 01, 2000
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When the government of Hong Kong moves to change the language of secondary school instruction from English to Chinese, it confronts the fact that the overwhelming majority of parents, although themselves Chinese-speaking, believe that an English-based education will provide greater long-run economic opportunity for their children. Armed with research showing that using Chinese as the "medium of instruction" will significantly improve classroom discussion and learning, Hong Kong's Education Department must embark on a strategy to convince the public to accept the idea. Specifically, because school assignments are based on a list of preferences submitted by parents, the government hopes that parents will not concentrate their requests on a relatively small group of "English-medium" schools, which will be allowed to continue. Such a clustering of requests could potentially lead to a chaotic assignment process in which many families come away disappointed. This case is designed to allow for discussion of the most effective communication/persuasion strategy for the Hong Kong government to pursue. For those interested in a substantive discussion of the design of the transition to Chinese-medium schools in Hong Kong, see case #1502.0 "Firm Guidance": Changing Hong Kong's "Medium of Instruction."

Other Details

Case Author:
Howard Husock
Faculty Lead:
Herman "Dutch" Leonard
Pages (incl. exhibits):
Asia, China
Funding Source:
Civil Service Development Institute for the Leadership Enhancement and Development (LEAD) program