Good Lab interview with James Fong: why inclusive education matters for everyone

Good Lab member James Fong is founder of Link Education, which is a consultancy company working with local schools to roll out courses for special educational needs (usually referred to as SEN) students.

What exactly is SEN?

Well, it is a term used by psychologists when they talk about students with different abilities, which includes attention deficient, autistic, gifted kids. We work with all of them plus kids from new arrival families.

What are included in your program?

Link Education host different competitions to inspire SEN students.

We organize playback theatre workshops, integrated courses, attention training and dyslexia training program in Chinese. We work with schools and parents  and provide targeted workshops or courses to help SEN students.

How do you make money?

training materials for dyslexic students

We provide professional counseling, advice and workshops on integrated education for different schools in Hong Kong. Our company started four years ago, and we started to make profit shortly after that. The policy from the Hong Kong government on integrated education has certainly helped our growth. We have regular income to sustain ourselves now. We also work with 6 universities and offer internship opportunities for young graduates from universities.

What are some of the challenges you face?

On one hand, most schools in Hong Kong have not yet come to realize how important it is to put efforts in integrated education. We learn that every student in some Australian cities is granted opportunities to meet with a counsellor at least once per year. But we don’t have it here in Hong Kong.

On the other hand, most of us just see the weakness of SEN students, few of us can see the strength in these students.

I notice that you are trying to use cartoon to illustrate the importance of education for SEN students. Can you tell us a bit more?

We started working on this series 3 months ago. We hope that people would find this easier to understand and easier to create a viral effect. The campaign has been quite successful and we’ve got many “likes” for our posts on Facebook. 

What’s your next goal?

I have been thinking about the elderly care issue more lately. The reason is that my parents are getting old, and I will get old sooner or later. But what we have in the market in Hong Kong is far from enough for this group of people. To further enhance the mental health of senior citizens, Silife is founded together with the support of health care professionals. It is intended that the overall well-being of those will-be-retired as well as just-retired members of our society would be improved and their living standard can be elevated. My partner and I started a facebook page called Silife lately, where I will share stories of elderly care in other countries. I hope to do something in this field in the future.

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