Boredom and fear in the undergraduate classroom: the medium of instruction controversy in Hong Kong
Abstract Although the mother tongue of some 90% of the population in Hong Kong is Cantonese, schools and universities in Hong Kong have witnessed the downgrading and even abandoning of Cantonese as a medium of instruction (MOI) in classrooms. For universities, this process is accelerated by the discourses of “internationalization.” For primary and secondary schools, the main compelling force is parents’ anxiety over their children’s future. This paper discusses the social context in which the forsaking of Cantonese as a medium of instruction has occurred, and the unintended consequences of silencing the mother tongue of most of the Hong Kong students (and teachers) in secondary schools and universities.
HUI Po-keung is an associate professor of the Cultural Studies Department and the Programme Director of the Master of Cultural Studies Programme at Lingnan University, Hong Kong. His main research interests are education and cultural studies, cultural economy and history of capitalism and markets. He has co-edited the 6 volumes of Cultural and Social Studies Translation Series,jointly published by Oxford University Press (Hong Kong) and Bianyi Chubanshe (Beijing). He is the author of Farewell Cynicism(Hong Kong Oxford University Press, 2009, 2012), and What Capitalism is Not (Hong Kong Oxford University Press, 2002, Shanghai Renmin Chu Banshe, 2007).