China And Hong Kong: Overcoming Disability Exclusion In Education

The Centre for Disability Studies’ U-Lead East Asia Disability Rights Forum & China Vision invite you to a lecture, discussion and seminar exploring disability exclusion in China.

This event will be of interest to members of the public with an interest in access to education around the world, as well as to academics, students and practitioners engaged in disabliity studies, education, cultural studies.


Lecture and Q&A: Overcoming disability exclusion in education: mobilization, litigation and advocating legal reforms in Hong Kong

Hong Kong is a cultural crossroads. Its history determined that much of its administrative, legal, financial and educational systems are rooted in British and international practice. Yet with over 90% of its population ethnically Chinese, its social structures and values remain deeply influenced by Chinese tradition. This situation is complicated by the political realities of modern Hong Kong, which place it in a unique - yet barely autonomous - position within the People’s Republic of China.

The situation for disabled people in Hong Kong – and particularly access to education and other public amenities – reveals many of the dynamics that are currently playing out in Hong Kong politics and society.

Dr Simon Ng, Assistant Professor in Law and Senior Programme Director with the School of Professional and Continuing Learning at the University of Hong Kong, is uniquely qualified to explore these issues. He is both a legal scholar and a long-term advocate for equal rights and inclusive education for disabled people in Hong Kong and China.

In the first part of his talk, Dr Ng will reflect on the issue of disability discrimination/ exclusion in education in a Chinese cultural context, despite Hong Kong's global-metropolitan outlook and institutional values. In the second part, he will review some of the recent attempts - led by disabled students, parents, law-makers and rights advocates - to promote equal rights to quality education through law in Hong Kong.

Simon’s talk will be followed by Q&A’s and a more general discussion about the issues raised.

13:30 – 15:30

Seminar: Spearheading Pre-school Inclusion in China

China’s education system has always tended towards conformity and collective learning. Traditional values and sheer pressure of numbers have made it hard for Chinese educators to embrace more individual, child-centred approaches to learning. This has often meant that many children - especially those with “special needs” – have found themselves excluded from mainstream education, leaving them highly disadvantaged. However growing prosperity, mobility and globalisation have inspired many people to question traditional approaches to education. Around China pioneering initiatives - many led by teachers, parents and disabled self-advocates – are challenging old assumptions.

Qisehua Inclusive Kindergarten, located in central China’s Henan Province, is a leader in the field of pre-school inclusion. Since the early 1990s its staff have challenged convention, opening their doors to children with learning and other disabilities. Their work is now bringing about profound change in Henan and making waves across China.

Cai Lei, founder of Qisehua, and Liang Tian, director of the kindergarten, will present their work and discuss the issues they have been engaging with over the years, illustrating their narratives with slides and anecdotes. Their presentations will be translated by Ni Zhen and Stephen Hallett, who will also provide some background and context to the work of Qisehua. We will then open the discussion, responding to questions and comments and exploring related issues more widely.

Location Details

SSP seminar rooms 12.21 & 12.25
Level 12
Social Sciences Building
University of Leeds

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