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University doors are shut 

Mrs. *Khan was born and raised in Pakistan, and came to Hong Kong with her husband fifteen years ago. Her daughter, *Bibi, who was born here, is a top student at one of the best English medium schools in Hong Kong.  The students from her school consistently win the Hong Kong Outstanding Students Awards. Bibi has the potential to become a brilliant businesswoman, doctor, lawyer, accountant or engineer. But Hong Kong is likely to miss out on all that Bibi can offer our society because our university doors are shut to students like her.

Bibi learns GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education) Mandarin Chinese, but when she graduates high school, she will have aquired as much Chinese as a primary level two student. In layman’s terms, Bibi will be able to speak, read and write as much Chinese as an eight year old! For this reason, and despite her obvious potential, Bibi won’t even be considered for a place in a university in Hong Kong.

Chinese language proficiency as a university entrance requirement is excluding talented ethnic minority students from getting a university education in Hong Kong, even though they may be academically far stronger than their Chinese counterparts. Not only are we confronted by a ‘brain drain’, but also by countless ethnic minority youth feeling hopeless because the system which should be equipping them to succeed in life, is in fact frustrating and restraining them.

Bibi’s Chinese classmates, who study DSE (Diploma of Secondary Education Chinese), will be snapped up by Hong Kong universities, who have the foresight to recognize that in five or ten years, having those students as their alumni will be great publicity for the university. Bibi will be forced to pursue her tertiary education outside of Hong Kong at great cost to her middle income parents, and the disruption of close family relationships.

The Hong Kong Council of Social Service recently held a forum to try to increase the awareness of the issues related to the problems, and find a suitable way to resolve the matter so that ethnic minority children have a fair chance at getting a university education.

Pray with us that this will happen soon so that top students like Bibi can look forward to the future with hope and so that Hong Kong can benefit from these talented young people.

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