HONG KONG – Hong Kong Association of Christian Missions recently published a research report regarding the education of missionary’s children, which uncovered a significant decrease in the missionary’s children studying at the schools in the mission field and that in the next six years over 40 missionary children will need to face the issue of entering universities, and they urgently require the concern of the mission agencies, churches, and Christians working in the educational field.
In the survey produced by the HKACM Children of Third Culture in Mar. of this year, it collected information of missionary’s children from 11 local Chinese schools and international mission agencies and compared with the survey conducted in Oct. 1998 and then analyzed the present trends and status. In the findings, missionary’s children have increased from 98 to 151 children in the last ten years. Comparing with the stats in 98, the missionary’s children who are under five-years-old have dropped significantly and those who are over 12-years-old have risen, which shows the average age of the missionary’s children. However, the similarity is that those between the ages of six to eleven hold the largest percentage at 33%.
In the education aspect of the children, for the last ten years, indigenous schools and local international or missionary schools are still the most popular among the missionaries, for they seldom choose home-schooling, Hong Kong schools, or international schools in Hong Kong. However, compared with 1998, the percentage of missionary’s children studying at indigenous schools has decreased from 59% to the present 40%. The current trend shows that missionaries still prefer to send their children to study at local international or missionary schools, which is revealed in the rise of percentage from 11% to 34%.
A point worth noticing is that in 1998 none of the missionary’s child researched was studying at Hong Kong universities or overseas universities. Yet, those studying at Hong Kong universities and overseas universities this year are 4% and 8% respectively. The prediction is that more missionary’s children will return to Hong Kong to study in the universities. The care committee for Children of Third Cultures has pointed out that in the next six years more than 40 missionary’s children will have to face the problem of enrolling into universities.
According to the committee’s analysis, in the last ten years, the number of missionary’s children has increased by 66%, so there is an urgent need for more man-power, materials, and prayers to support the missionary’s children concern ministry. A suggestion is that mission agencies, churches, missionary parents, and Christians working in the educational fields can cooperate together in promoting the Children of Third Culture Care Committee and address the needs of missionary children from all age groups.
The committee suggested that the mission agencies can begin through cooperation with each other by sharing resources, enhancing the publicity and education related to the needs of missionary’s children. Mission agencies have the responsibility to help parents understand the advantages and disadvantages of different educational models, which is instrumental in the parent’s decision on their children’s long-term educational planning, and to enhance the parent’s knowledge on applying for both the local and overseas universities. In the aspect of finances, each mission agencies should setup an education policies missionary’s children, which will include the arrangements of the college tuitions.
Furthermore, the committee urged that the churches and believers can pray for the development of the missionary’s children in every aspect, care and welcome the Hong Kong missionary’s children of different age groups, understand and sympathize with the arrangements and needs of the missionary’s children, and donate generously. Since more missionary’s children are going to return to Hong Kong to study at the local universities, churches and believers can assist them in getting accustomed to the lifestyle in Hong Kong. Missionary parents can also arrange to meet and share with Christian educators about their teaching reflections and thoughts.
According to the research result, the language that the missionary’s children uses are primarily English, which is at 52%, and those who uses local language are 42%. Although the majority of the missionary parents teach their kids Chinese at home, the missionary’s children do not have sufficient comprehension skills to cope with the educational courses in Hong Kong.
Addressing this concern, the committee has suggested that those who are working in the educational fields can open summer Chinese classes in order to help the returning missionary’s children to get to know the inside and outside classroom activities in Hong Kong. If necessary, assisting them to enroll into local schools. Educators need to setup systems and standardized Chinese courses, communicate with the missionary parents, and provide them with educational advises.
Meanwhile, the committee hopes that missionary parents can continue to teach their children Chinese and Chinese and Hong Kong culture at home, understand the cultural differences and clashes that their children experience, and deeply consider the future educational plans for their children. Since the missionary’s children are growing up in a cross-cultural environment, special methods of education and discovery of their potentials and talents is needed
The Hong Kong missionary’s children research report is posted on the latest monthly newsletter on the Hong Kong Association of Christian Missions.