Parents angered after Hong Kong school decides to ditch trad. Chinese characters

Harrow International School claims that primary education using simplified characters will better prepare students for future as Chinese citizens

Harrow International School Hong Kong (From Google Images)

Harrow International School Hong Kong (From Google Images)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – An international school in Hong Kong announced recently that they were planning to stop using traditional Chinese characters (繁體字) in their curriculum and educational materials.

The decision by the Harrow International School to teach using simplified Chinese characters (簡體字) from primary grade one to primary grade five, has unsurprisingly caused a great deal of dissatisfaction among parents of the students.

The international school, located in Hong Kong’s Gold Coast neighborhood, has chosen to adopt simplified characters and do away with the traditional style script, because the school expects Hong Kong to become fully integrated with China by the year 2047.

School officials claim this will better prepare the students for a future as Chinese citizens, however parents of the approximately 100 primary students attending the school are less than enthusiastic.

One parent, surnamed Liu (劉) quoted by the Liberty Times, says that as a Hong Konger, she would prefer her children learn traditional characters. Liu also pointed out that there is no legal provision suggesting or declaring that Hong Kong must give up the traditional Chinese writing system.

Parents are skeptical of the schools rationale behind the decision, and have voiced their disagreement, even claiming the school will deprive the students of their right to learn an important aspect of their own language.

According to Liberty Times, the school is considering the views and complaints from parents. Although they have not reversed their decision, a school official has reportedly stated that the school will offer extracurricular courses to students that will provide them with an opportunity to study the traditional Chinese characters.