Drawing from the needs analysis approach in curriculum development research, this study focuses on improving the Chinese language learning experience of non-Chinese-speaking (NCS) students in the Vocational Training Council (VTC) through the use of systematic planning and review practices in all aspects of the Chinese language curriculum.
As a cosmopolitan city, Hong Kong has about 340,000 ethnic minority residents, constituting over 5% of the population, according to the 2011 Hong Kong Population Census. Demographic data show that over one half of these NCS people originate from South Asian countries such as Indonesia, the Philippines, India, Pakistan and Nepal. Over the past years, the Hong Kong government has been considering ways to enhance and propagate a harmonious coexistence with these multi-ethnicities. Recent research has found that the NCS minorities have experienced difficulties in integrating into Hong Kong society, particularly in the fields of education and employment. This is largely due to their lack of sufficient Chinese language skills . The current Chinese language curriculum for minority students in schools is not ready to accommodate the learning needs of NCS students. To this end, curriculum-based needs analysis research is urgently needed.
The VTC is dedicated to providing quality Chinese language courses for NCS students. The research team has been carrying out comprehensive curriculum development research and promoting a ‘differentiated teaching’ approach since 2011 . Curriculum development requires needs analysis to devise criteria and a rationale for specific groups of learners through extensive consultation . Furthermore, Richards  elaborates that curriculum development is a cyclical process to ‘determine the needs of a group of learners; to develop aims or objectives for a program to address those needs; to determine an appropriate syllabus, course structure, teaching methods, and materials; and to carry out an evaluation of the language program that results from those processes’. In short, this study has two objectives: (1) to identify the learning needs of NCS students and (2) to modify and develop a suitable syllabus and learning materials accordingly.