Established in 2013, Teach for Hong Kong is an education-focused NGO that collaborates with businesses, non-profit organisations and institutions to provide learning, leadership and career opportunities to underprivileged children so as to promote equality in education in society and help them achieve upward social mobility.
Although Hong Kong has a well-established education system, education inequality remains. Socio-economic status is often a determinant of the quality of education one receives. A report published by The Education University of Hong Kong in 2013 revealed that the tertiary education enrollment rate of adolescents who are living in the most affluent families was 3.7 times higher than their impoverished counterparts (APS, 2013). This inequality was heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a survey conducted between July and August in 2020, over 90% of the 193 impoverished families interviewed said that their children’s home learning efficiency has been impaired by their unsatisfactory living environment (SCMP, 2020).
Teach for Hong Kong aims to achieve long-term changes in the education system while empowering underprivileged students in the process. Teach for Hong Kong recruits high-caliber university graduates, provides them with teaching training and support, and places them in schools with high concentration of underprivileged students to teach for one year. By placing trained graduates who are passionate about improving the quality of education, the underprivileged students also benefit from an enriched learning experience.
The year of teaching provides the fellows with context and first-hand experience of the challenges underprivileged students face in current educational system, which inspires and nurtures them to become future leaders to pursue longer term changes. Teach for Hong Kong also keeps alumni engaged and builds a community that is concerned with and passionate about advocating for improving education equality and learning opportunities for students from poor families, to promote changes in the education system.
Since its launch, Teach for Hong Kong has conducted 6 cohorts of its fellowship programme and nurtured more than 140 young talents, with over 20,000 students from primary and secondary school being taught. It has also created a community of over 100 schools, corporations and organisations to promote quality education and education equity. More than 90% of beneficiaries from secondary school reported improvement on most of the measured skills, so they are more confident and motivated to learn, and acquire skills that are beneficial to their studies and career planning. Teach for Hong Kong was awarded funding from the Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Fund in 2015. It also won the Champion Award in the Social Innovation Competition of Our Hong Kong Foundation in 2016. Moreover, it was selected as the first social venture supported by Mr. John Tsang’s Esperanza in 2018.
Department of Asian and Policy Studies (APS), The Education University of Hong Kong. (2013). HKIEd Study: Disparity in Higher Education Attainment is Widening between Rich and Poor by Professor. Chou Kee-lee. https://www.eduhk.hk/aps/hkied-study-disparity-in-higher-education-attainment-is-widening-between-rich-and-poor-by-prof-chou-kee-lee/. Accessed 24 January 2021.
Oxfam Hong Kong. (2018). Hong Kong Inequality Report 2018. https://www.oxfam.org.hk/f/news_and_publication/16372/Oxfam_inequality%20report_Eng_FINAL.pdf. Accessed 24 January 2021.
Teach for Hong Kong. [Online]. https://tfhk.org/.
The difficulties faced by low-income students in Hong Kong during coronavirus: lack of space and resources. South China Morning Post. (2021, February 23). https://www.scmp.com/yp/discover/lifestyle/article/3122797/difficulties-faced-low-income-students-hong-kong-during. Accessed 24 January 2021.