Teachers in cities such as Manchester and London will need help to prepare for the expected influx of Hong Kong children when the colony is passed back to China in 1997.
Sylvia Sham, a researcher at Manchester Metropolitan University, pointed out that the British Government had said in 1990 that up to 50,000 heads of households in Hong Kong and their immediate dependants would be granted citizenship. This could mean that up to 83,500 children will arrive in Britain.
Such a dramatic increase in the number of Chinese children would pose serious problems not only for the schools but also for the children as they struggled to adjust to a new educational culture. Chinese children were taught to obey the teacher as though they were a "surrogate father or emperor" and were used to rote learning. British schools could therefore seem alien to them at first.
British Chinese children aged 13 to 17 that she had interviewed said they had been surprised to find themselves in noisy, ill-disciplined classes. Although generally hard-working and happy in school they said that classroom discussions often confused them and they frequently failed to understand the point of the lessons.