Recently the government set up a steering committee led by the Chief Secretary for Administration to coordinate, review and monitor all the work that assists ethnic minorities while they will also spend $500 million HKD to strengthen the support provided to ethnic minorities. This shows that our society is taking note of ethnic minority issues.
The DAB Ethnic Minorities Committee has always fought for the rights of ethnic minorities and therefore we have prepared the “Research Report on the Difficulties faced by South Asians in the HKSAR”. This report lays out a series of proposals aimed at the difficulties South Asians face in education, employment, access to public services and societal integration and discrimination.
At the same time, we hope that the government will appoint ethnic minorities into the aforementioned steering committee and accept the advice given by ethnic minority groups and understand their appeals. We hope that the committee will implement the proposals in our report and improve the existing inequality between ethnic groups in our society and promote racial harmony. Our proposals can be summarized as follows:
1. Improve the teaching of the Chinese language to Non-Chinese Speaking students (NCS)
Establish “Chinese as a second language” courses specifically aimed at Non-Chinese Speaking students (NCS) with new course objectives, teaching materials, pedagogy and assessment methods. The material should be a bit easier to make it suitable for NCS students. It should be completely delinked from the Chinese DSE and be suited to public examinations in order to increase the Chinese ability of students and to ensure the practicality of the course.
Monitor and adjust the support provided to NCS students by schools they are admitted to. For example they should tweak the allowance given to a school by the number of NCS students they contain and guarantee that all schools have enough resources to set up pull-out classes, equal classes and other integrated learning schemes to improve the Chinese learning ability of NCS students.
2. Strengthen the employment support given to Ethnic Minorities
The Labour Department should set up a designated ethnic minority employment division with comprehensive services such as providing job search and training courses, employer websites, employment coaching, access to compensation for work-related injuries and a Labour Department consultation hotline. Research the problems that ethnic minorities have with looking for employment and regularly announce the unemployment rate of various ethnicities and which industries they tend to work in in order to understand their needs and difficulties. From this research we should set up an “ethnic minorities employment subsidy scheme” and subsidize employers to encourage them to hire ethnic minorities and provide on-the-job training. This will improve the employability of ethnic minorities in the HKSAR.
3. Utilize the advantages of the Belt and Road Initiative
Set up a “Belt and Road Initiative” employment platform and help ethnic minorities look for job positions. Increase the employment support given to them and utilize the cultural advantages of ethnic minorities who already know the languages and cultures of those regions and increase the competitiveness of the HKSAR.
4. Improve medical services
Improve the interpretation services provided by the Hospital Authority and arrange for female doctors to take care of female ethnic minority patients.
Strengthen efforts to teach health and wellness to ethnic minorities and provide sufficient health information and knowledge to them. Then this information can be disseminated through their community leaders and organizations to help them take better care of their health and understand how to prevent common illnesses.
5. Develop systematic and professional translation and interpretation public services
Develop a systematic and professional translation and interpretation service as a public service. This includes providing professional training and accreditation. Ensure the high quality of district, medical and legal interpreters, and establish a professional code and official language skill standards for interpreters.
Develop a cellphone application that provides simple interpretation and information on public services. Set up a public services reservation platform and cut down on the difficulties caused by language barriers to ethnic minorities.
6. Get rid of discrimination and promote social harmony
Quickly review the “Race Discrimination Ordinance”, strengthen education of the public and improve the consciousness of racial equality within our society. Encourage ethnic minorities to know their rights and channels to seek compensation where necessary. The government should set up a percentage of government advisory bodies reserved for ethnic minorities in order that they may be able to give advice to the government at a relatively early stage of policymaking.
Utilize the models of the “Summit on District Administration” and “Youth Summit” and hold an “Ethnic Minority Summit” every year to provide ethnic minorities with a platform to exchange advice and questions with government officials and guests.
Media Inquiries: Legislative Councilor Vincent Cheng (6373-1979)
DAB Ethnic Minorities Committee Chairperson Derek Hung (9137-8120)