Hong Kong is living proof of the sad fact that standards of education can be dependent on wealth. If low-income families are unable to support their children at school, their children are likely to fall behind their more privileged peers. In order to promote social mobility and help combat socioeconomic disadvantages, i-Learner joined hands with the Society for Community Organization (SoCO) in a 5-year project called “We Will Fly”, from 2012-2017, co-sponsored by KPMG and Partnership Fund of Social Welfare Department. I-Learner provided assessment and curriculum development, sponsored all online and offline learning materials, and delivered all learning programmes to the students. The project took a multi-prong approach: integrating English teaching, parenting training, home modification, and community service.
We found that earlier intervention is crucial; over 90% of We Will Fly students in P1 and P2 understood only 30%-40% of what they were being taught in their school English classes.
We also found that many of the parents lack proper parenting skills. They could not handle the behavioural and emotional problems of their children, especially when these children grew into adolescents. Unfortunately, despite needing intensive parenting training and counselling, most of these parents were too busy to even attend the simple parenting classes and talks sponsored by the programme.
Many of the students had a rather weak English foundation. Even though much progress was made by students who spent a year in the programme, their English was still too low to enable them to fully and independently benefit from English lessons in school. After completion of the project, i-Learner has continued to offer classes for the We Will Fly students.