Letter to the Chief Executive on the Policy Address 2015
Written by Miss Lee Suet Ying, Chairperson of HKAHSS 5/Jan/2015
Same as the last two years, HKAHSS would like to make recommendations on the government’s education policies to the Chief Executive for his Policy Address 2015.
- Urgent need for review and planning
HKAHSS has repeatedly urged the government to carry out review on the education reform implemented over ten years ago. However, apart from reviews of the teaching and assessment of several individual subjects, there has been no overall review to examine if the education reform has met its targets or is in need of amendment.
- Fragmented education and funding policies
Our education and funding policies are piecemeal and fragmented, for example:
- Although free kindergarten education is being gradually implemented, there are still no studies on its interface with primary and secondary education nor development of a curriculum for an integrated 15-year free education.
- In 2014, the government introduced the Applied Chinese curriculum for ethnic minority students. However, without knowing whether the new curriculum suits their further studies or career needs, the schools and students involved have to choose between Applied Chinese or the Diploma of Secondary School Examination Chinese within two months. How could schools with only several non-Chinese speaking students hold classes of Applied Chinese alone? Should they join with other schools in their district? How far would the qualification of Applied Chinese be recognized by universities in their admission process? How far students were affected by the fragmented implementation of the policy? The answers to these questions are still outstanding.
- How did our government address the needs for special education of some students? Apart from giving subsidies, not much has been done to issues like teacher training, professional support, suitable assessment methods and widening of career prospects.
- Vocational and information technology education are also important areas that lack thorough planning.
Without detailed overall planning, the effectiveness of the policies and funding on these areas is doubtful.
- Unresolved problems
Other unresolved problems include:
- Equality issues raised by the Direct Subsidy Scheme Schools;
- Medium of instruction streaming;
- Teachers’ establishment and workload;
- Sharp rise and fall in student population;
- Inadequate subsidized university places.
These on-going problems have brought negative impacts on most subsidized schools, affecting the provision of fair and quality education to students and hampering the future development of Hong Kong.
- Incongruity between education and other government policies
Education policy cannot be implemented separately from the other government policies. It must be coordinated with policies on youth, population and the long-term development of Hong Kong. Unfortunately, education has not been the government’s key enterprise over the years. Inadequate planning, misguided solutions to problems, ignoring problematic issues and poor sense of priority are hurting Hong Kong.
When formulating its policies for the coming years, we hope the government will give more detailed consideration to the goals, direction, strategies, implementation, and human and financial resources related to education. Although all the benefits of comprehensive review and planning may not be reaped within a short time, the harm of their absence is felt immediately.