A file picture of kindergarten. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
A file picture of kindergarten. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

A Nepali father is angry and disappointed that the Equal Opportunities Commission dropped a case against a Hong Kong kindergarten, which he believes discriminated against his daughter by denying her enrolment, Apple Daily reported.

The father, who has lived in Hong Kong for many years, said a local kindergarten rejected his daughter’s application in 2014 and gave no reason for the rejection.

He said the kindergarten application process required children to first take part in a group discussion with a teacher and then do a one-on-one interview.

The group discussion was only conducted in Cantonese, so his daughter could not join in with the discussion, but she excelled in the one-on-one interview which was conducted in English, the father told the daily.

In January 2015, the father sought help from the EOC, which prompted the school in February to give him an explanation on his daughter’s application being rejected.

The kindergarten told the father that its priority was on helping children attain a level of proficiency in Cantonese and it believed family members who are Chinese could assist in learning the language.

The kindergarten added that the interviewer had given an explanation in English during the group session, however, it was the girl’s fault for not being able to respond.

The EOC sought more information from the kindergarten, but the school replied in August through a legal statement, denying that there had been any race discrimination and declined to comment further on the reasons for rejecting the girl’s enrolment application.

Two months later, the EOC arranged a mediation meeting between the father and the school, but the case was not resolved.

The EOC advised the father to seek help from the Legal Aid Department. But in 2016, the EOC said it would drop his case because it was unlikely to win, if it went to court.

Phyllis Cheung Fung-mei, executive director of minority rights group Hong Kong Unison, said this case could be a result of indirect race discrimination. She also said the father had to face the school’s lawyers during the mediation meeting, which was not fair.

The EOC told Apple Daily that it did not comment on individual cases.