Cry CU 有關中大國際化討論

星期六, 2月 19, 2005

Let us widen the scope of education reform

Frederick Leung2005-02-19

The proposed curriculum change for secondary schooling and tertiary studies is most welcome.
No doubt, the 3+3+4 structure will benefit students and society. The goals and the guiding principles are commendable. No more streaming of students into arts and science subjects - our young competent in the arts, humanities and science, civic-minded and with adequate communication and language skills. It is an enlightened vision. The idea, however, is 10 years too late and should be implemented as soon as possible.

I would like to offer the following suggestion for the senior secondary school curriculum, the guiding principle for which is: "The whole is only as strong as the weakest link."

In order to achieve a better balance between breadth and depth of learning, I propose curriculum subjects be modulated into basic and advanced components. The current proposal is that students take six subjects during the three-year senior curriculum and can choose just two elective subjects. This is too narrow and rigid, giving depth without breadth.

My counter proposal is that the curriculum be modulated into basic and advanced components, each constituting two semesters over one year of studies.

All students would be required to take the "core" subjects, including arts (humanities and culture courses) and science (biology, chemistry and physics). Students would select freely the advanced courses according to their interests.

By adopting this structure, students would be required to have a basic knowledge of up to 12 subjects, rather than the six currently proposed. At the same time, they would be given flexibility to pursue advanced knowledge in subjects of their choosing.

Those not pursuing advanced knowledge would take courses that provided other learning skills for enhancement, or as a remedial measure.

The above structure would prepare students perfectly for university-level education, especially where the university adopts a unified admission system. It would also give secondary school students a perfect interface with overseas academic systems, particularly North America.
The trend for tertiary education is that the initial years are general, giving students the time necessary to decide on their major area of study. This ensures a rounded education for students within both secondary school and university settings.

If we adopted the above structure, there would be no need for the liberal studies subject. With no requirement to train teachers, we could save resources and time.

However, the pedagogy and approaches described in liberal studies could be adopted in all subjects and courses. Hence, the schedule for implementation could be shortened.
Most importantly, retraining of teachers could be kept to a minimum, freeing up time for professional development of their teaching skills.

The curriculum structure should provide an exit from the Chinese and English languages and mathematics subjects. Once students achieved a level of competence in these subjects, they would be allowed to free-up their timetable to take other subjects and skills courses. In fact, students should be allowed to take any alternative subject.

Since the public examination would be given in addition to in-school assessment, I also propose that students be allowed to choose how many subjects they are examined in.
I believe these suggestions provide a better way for the current system to meet the goals and visions described in the education reform proposals.

This is a critical time for Hong Kong and I urge all school teachers and concerned parents to rise up and make their views known.

Frederick Leung Chi-ching is Dean of Science, University of Hong Kong


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