There were two kinds of schools for Chinese students in Hong Kong, as categorized for the schools registration in the Education Department (of Hong Kong). They were the chinese Middle Schools and the Anglo-Chinese Secondary Schools. Normally, students finishing the five-year courses at these schools would take the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination, which was an open examination assessing the students' academic achievement. The Examination Authority also prepared two language versions, Chinese and English, of the examination syllabuses and examination papers, one for each kind of school, as they were different in instruction media. In the early sixties, there were many more Chinese Middle Schools than the Anglo-Chinese Secondary Schools. But this situation reversed as more and more subsidized Anglo-Chinese Secondary Schools were developed. This brought to the result that more and more students received the English education even though their ability of understanding was doubtful (Education Society, 1981). Under this situyation, many teachers tried to explain the subject contents in Chinese in order to compensate the inadequacy. Therefore, it was quite difficult to define the instruction medium of a school. But there was another factor which affected the preference of students for schooling in Anglo-Chinese Secondary Schools. It was the examination syllabuses. Those who studied in Anglo-Chinese Secondary Schools would take the examination of English syllabus B in the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination. Although the contents in the examination papers of syllabus A and syllabus B were different, nobody could prove that all students from the Chinese Middle Schools would fail in the examination of the English syllabus B. But eventally, this provided the privilage to those who took the examination of the English syllabus B of sitting for the entrance examinations of both universities in Hong Kon, meeting the entrance requirement for the post-secondary courses, and meeting the preference of most employers.

Under these circumstances, the chances for students from Anglo-Chinese Secondary Schools would be more favourable intaking post-secondary education and choosing future careers. This could be demonstrated by the fact that the Chinese University of Hong Kong admitted only 250 students fro Chinese Middle Schools in 1979 and 1980. The Hong Kong Government advertised the vacancies of senior posts on English newspapers, but the junior posts on Chinese newspapers. This would, in turn, affect the self concept of the Chinese Middle School students.

As a result, more and more students preferred the education in Anglo-Chinese Secondary Schools. The Chinese language was no longer important. Educators observed the drop in Chinese education, then, started the call for using chinese language, the mother tongue of students.

Besides the above conditions, educators had the perception that the Hong Kong Government wanted to depress the Chinese education (Tse, 1982) by controlling the financial subsidies to Chinese Middle Schools, even though the Government admitted the benefit of the education in mother tongue. Chung (1982) stated that the use of a secondary language would make the compulsory education a disaster to children. Siu (1982) demonstrated more clearly that the use of English as instruction medium in Secondary Schools was an obstacle for students' questioning and discussing, and, was unable to improve the English ability. Cheng (1982) stated that the effect of the foreign instruction medium was dependent on the social status f the mother tongue and the foreign language. Under this situation, we could observe the conflict between the Hong Kong Government and the educators. The facts and theories held by the educators seemed quite appreciable, but the reasons of the Hong Kong Government for insisting to use English as the instruction medium was never announced.

Although we could understand the possible effect of the instruction medium on cognitive development, the result in the development of the self of the students was never estimated.


--- End of "The Instruction Media" ---