Here and Now

Our Suggestions on the Optimisation of Senior Secondary Chinese History and Economics

Executive Committee

The Hong Kong Association of the Heads of Secondary Schools (HKAHSS)

2 July 2024


Recently, schools received two EDB documents one after another regarding the optimisation of two Senior Secondary subjects: “Optimisation of Senior Secondary Chinese History” (EDBCM No.: 111/2024) (issued on 2 May 2024) and “Proposed Optimising Measures for Senior Secondary Economics: School Questionnaire Survey and School Briefing Sessions” (EDBCM No.: 113/2024) (issued on 20 May 2024).  With the optimisation of Senior Secondary Chinese History, starting from the 2026 HKDSE, students can choose to attempt only Paper 1 in the examination and can obtain at most Level 5 in their HKDSE results.  There will also be similar arrangement for Senior Secondary Economics. The curriculum contents of the Compulsory Part will be fine-tuned; and students are allowed not to study the Elective Part; and these students can also be awarded at most Level 5.  These measures for Senior Secondary Economics are proposed to be implemented at Secondary 4 starting from the 2025-26 school year.

The Executive Committee of the Hong Kong Association of the Heads of Secondary Schools (HKAHSS) is pleased to see that the EDB and the HKEAA have reviewed and optimised different subjects and find-tuned individual curriculum.  Regarding the implementation of the above optimisation measures, we have the following suggestions:

  1. The Consultation Process
    Many Chinese History teachers are shocked when they received the EDB circular on the “Optimisation of Senior Secondary Chinese History” in May.  Though the EDB has mentioned that it will continue to study the optimisation measures of the other Elective subjects after the optimisation of the four core subjects, it has never mentioned how they are going to be implemented until the EDB circular on the “Optimisation of Senior Secondary Chinese History” was issued.  As stated in that circular, those optimization measures are only proposed by the “Curriculum Development Council (CDC) – HKEAA Committee on Chinese History” and approved by the “HKEAA Committee on Chinses History” and “CDC Committee on Personal, Social and Humanities Education”.  The frontline teachers and the relevant professional bodies have never been consulted.Regarding the proposed optimization measures for Senior Secondary Economics, though there are briefing sessions and questionnaire survey to collect opinions from schools, it is not certain whether they are for policy making for the implementation of those proposed measures or whether there will be amendments on the proposed measures after the collection of opinions.We think the lack of wide consultation for the implementation of the Optimisation of Senior Secondary Chinese History is not a good arrangement as there is no briefing session and no questionnaire survey before the measures which affect many candidates sitting for the HKDSE are implemented.


  1. The Implementation Time
    The Optimisation measures for Senior Secondary Chinese History will begin with the 2026 HKDSE.  In other words, the students studying in Secondary 4 in this academic year (2023-24) can choose to attempt Paper 1 only.  This is unusual and not a good practice to implement changes in the curriculum after the learning and teaching of the curriculum has started.  Will there be schools which have already started teaching the curriculum contents of both the Compulsory and the Elective Parts?  Or have some schools incorporated the teaching of some of the Elective Part into the Compulsory Part and teach them together (For example, after teaching the “Spring and Autumn Period” in the module on “Different Dynasties’ Development”, teachers may then teach “Confucius” in the module on “Eras and Intellectuals”.)? Will this sudden revision in the optimisation measures disrupt teachers’ arrangement of teaching the syllabus and also student learning?Regarding the Optimisation measures for Senior Secondary Economics which will be implemented at Secondary 4 starting from the 2025-26 school year, the effective date for commencement seems to be more reasonable.


  1. The Assessment Arrangement
    Students who choose to attempt only the Compulsory Part may be awarded at most Level 5.  However, how to calculate or convert the marks?  Based on the current information, during the HKDSE application, students are not required to indicate which Paper they will attempt.  Thus, it is not possible for the HKEAA to assess “the candidates with two papers” and “the candidates with only Paper 1” separately.  If a candidate who attempts only Paper 1 has higher marks than another candidate who attempts both papers and obtains Level 5* or 5**, will this candidate who attempts only Paper 1 obtain at most Level 5 only?  In the HKDSE which is so competitive, is that a wise choice for candidates to give up the opportunity of obtaining 30% of the total marks?Besides, even without that optimisation measure, can students choose not to attempt the Elective Part now?  Will the Papers still be marked as usual?  If yes, what is the difference between the current situation and the situation with the implementation of the optimisation measures?Regarding the assessment arrangement, we think the HKEAA and the EDB need to give a more detailed explanation, which will enable the candidates to have more sufficient information to make the most suitable choice which suits their abilities.


  1. The Difficulties in School AdministrationI
    n this type of “Optimisation”, how should schools arrange the lessons if some students opt to study both Papers whereas some others opt to study only the Compulsory Part in the same Form?  How should the remaining 30% lesson time of those students who opt to study the Compulsory Part be handled?  Should schools place them in the School Library?  Or should schools ask the Teaching Assistants to take care of those students?  When making such an arrangement for the “Optimisation”, have the difficulties in school administration been considered?  The limited human resources and space very often makes it difficult for schools to have those arrangements.


  1. Optimisation of Curriculum
    In the design of every curriculum, the frontline teachers and the educational professionals will be involved in a lot of discussion, consultation and revision on the curriculum rationale, goals and objectives.  The curriculum will be considered as a whole and there is a lot of thought on that.  If there is only revision on the examination arrangement today, should that be considered as a complete optimisation?  Besides the examination arrangement, is there any optimisation in the curriculum?We understand the urgency and importance of the optimisation and revision of the Senior Secondary Curriculum, but we hope this optimisation is really an optimisation, is an optimisation that every stakeholder in education is happy to see, and is an optimisation which can really be implemented in schools.




  1. 諮詢程序


  1. 推行時間


  1. 評級安排
    選擇只應考必修部分的學生,其評級最高可獲第5級,但這第5 級評分是如何換算?就目前看到的資料,學生毋須於報考時表明所應考的卷別,因此考評局應不能把應考兩卷及只應考卷一的考生分隊評分。假設選擇只應考卷一的考生,其成績竟高於應考兩卷而能獲評為第5 *或5**級的考生,這考生是否仍鎖定最高只可獲第5級?在一個如此高競爭性的文憑試,考生自動放棄獲取 30%分數的機會,又是否一個明智的選擇?另外,假設沒有這優化方案,學生現時是否可放棄應考選修部分?是否仍獲如常評分?若是,優化的推行與現況有何分別?就評級安排上,我們認為考評局及教育局須作出更詳細的解釋,讓考生在資訊充足的情況下作出最適合個人能力的選擇。


  1. 學校行政安排困難
    這種形式的「優化」,讓同一級學生部分選擇全部修讀、部分只修讀必修部分,學校又如何作出行政安排?只選必修部分的學生,其餘的30% 課時如何處理?學校是將學生置放於圖書館?抑或交與教學助理?在作出如斯的「優化」時,有否考慮學校行政上將會遇到的困難?在學校人手有限、空間有限的情況下,許多時學校是「非不為也,實不能也」。


  1. 課程優化



香港中學校長會 執行委員會