|In response to the first Policy Address (concerning education) of the SAR headed by the new CE, Mrs Carrie Lam, the HKAHSS reiterated its views on two key concerns, namely, Equity in Education, and Quality of Education.||中文原文|
The following is an Executive summary of our viewpoints
Safeguarding equity in education to allow equal opportunities for students of diverse needs to develop their potentials.
- Resources and other supporting measures
- We believe in optimum distribution of resources according to the learning needs of students. We should therefore take special care related to the needs of those from less privileged social-economic backgrounds, of weaker learning ability, with special education needs (SEN), and non-Chinese speaking (NCS). Equity does not mean equal distribution in a mechanical way.
- For NCS students, the current assistance given to them, calculated per head annually, focuses merely on supporting their Chinese learning. We need a more flexible policy for the use of the grants to support their all-round needs in school, including the learning of other subjects, building up peer relationship and cultural integration in school.
- For SEN students, they need professional support in learning as well as mental and psychological care. Mainstream schools are inadequate in providing the necessary support. A uniform system of assessment and learning path is inappropriate for them.
- Injection of resources alone cannot help SEN students overcome the learning barriers in schools. What we need is flexibility in the curriculum that would truly cater for their diverse learning needs, an assessment system that takes into consideration their diverse characteristics and abilities, and a career pathway and social atmosphere that will allow equal opportunities for these students
- Balanced development of a diverse education system
We support diversified mode of school operation for we believe different types of schools can take care of different types of students. The questions we plead for the Chief Executive’s attention are –
Do schools of different operation modes share similar operation conditions?
Are public sector schools given adequately the conditions and professional autonomy that they need to operate?
Is the flexibility given to DSS schools working to its full potential? And could the privileges they enjoy be allowed for public sector schools as well?
Raising the standard of excellence as the direction for Hong Kong’s education
- A curriculum and assessment system that is keeping abreast of the age :
The design of curriculum and assessment takes a paramount role in raising education quality. The new Curriculum Guide currently being drafted is questioned by educators as it is contrary to the spirit of 21st Century education which places importance on building capability and nurturing attitude, developing multi-intelligence and cultivating ethical values. The Guide has also neglected the fact that in the age of information, knowledge is no longer gained only in the classrooms. Furthermore, is the mode of assessment adopted by DSE capable of promoting learning?
We look for a review of the curriculum planning and assessment mode that would not allow unsystematic infinite increase in the learning contents and serving the need of assessment in public examinations.
- Professional development and professional autonomy for educators
We believe that professional autonomy is essential to education quality. The efforts of principals and teachers should be supported by government policies. For instance, appropriate design of pre-job training, space for teachers to pursue profession enhancement, aligning the policy to enable leadership by professionals, and creating a favourable environment to attract aspiring teachers.
- Appropriate addition of human resources
To enable schools to be in a better position to meet the needs of today’s education, teachers must be allowed adequate space for professional enhancement. For long term development, the teacher-student ratio in class as well as the general staff establishment in school, in terms of number and grading of teaching and non-teaching staff, should be reviewed.
A macro, comprehensive and evidence-based review of the education system is needed. We support the re-establishment of a department designated to education researches to take up the tasks of conducting comprehensive and research-based review of the current system, consolidating the valuable experiences of frontline educators and embracing views from all levels of the teaching profession. This will help truly realize “professional leadership for quality education”.