Cry CU 有關中大國際化討論

星期五, 2月 04, 2005

Schools must pick medium of instruction `carefully'

Teddy Ng2005-02-04

Secondary schools should proceed cautiously when deciding their medium of instruction or student learning will be compromised, the Education Commission warns.

Michael Tien, chairman of commission's working group re- viewing secondary school places allocation and medium of instruction, said schools that failed to meet the conditions proposed on Thursday should concentrate on improving teaching effectiveness using the mother tongue as the language of instruction.

``It would be problematic for schools to continue using English even though they do not meet the requirements,'' Tien said.

``Students will suffer if teachers fail to express ideas properly in English. Students' English learning will be affected, and English teachers will need to spend a lot time remedying their mistakes.''

Tien said mother-tongue teaching should be supported as it is well received by parents and is an effective language for knowledge acquisition.

The consultation document suggests that the new medium of instruction policy should apply to students proceeding to secondary one in September 2008 at the earliest.

The document suggests that at least 85 per cent of students at English- medium schools must be capable of studying in English. These students constitute the top 40 per cent of secondary one students.

Students' overall academic performance in school exams taken in primary five and six would be taken into consideration when assessing their abilities, and will then be adjusted by the average of the results of the pre- Secondary One Hong Kong Attainment Test taken by the same school.
For example, the attainment test taken in 2006 and 2008 would be used to adjust the abilities of primary students to be admitted to secondary one in 2009.

All teachers of English-medium schools should also obtain a C grade in English in the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination or equivalent, such as band 6 in the International English Language Testing System (Ielts).

Teachers should attain the qualification within two years from 2005-06 school year, or they can opt for classroom observation by the government to assess their ability to teach through English.

Tien was confident that all teachers were competent in using English, dispelling educators' fears that some teachers had not met the requirement.

``Even university graduates can attain band 6 at Ielts. I think our teachers can meet the same standard,'' he said.

These schools should have an environment conducive to learning English.
The commission proposes that a school's suitability to teach in English will be assessed every six years.

Chinese-medium schools can apply to switch to teaching in English if they fulfill these requirements.
The commission also proposes that Chinese-medium schools allocate no more than 15 per cent of their total lesson time in secondary years one to three for extended learning activities conducted in English, on top of the formal English language lessons.

The commission suggests the government allow Chinese-medium schools could use their cash grants to hire additional teachers.

Tien said English standards the Chinese-medium schools might not necessarily be lower. He said some these schools had recorded a 90 percent pass rate in English in public exams.
``It is wrong to say that Chinese- medium schools will sacrifice English. The point is how you teach the subject,'' he said.

Tien urged Chinese-medium schools attracting top students to be cautious when deciding whether to switch to English.

Even though some would meet present requirements, they might fail in future reviews. ``They have to think about whether they can sustain their advantages after becoming English- medium schools,'' he said.

Also, the commission proposes to increase the number of discretionary secondary one places from 20 per cent to 30 per cent.

Parents can choose two schools outside the districts where they live in the discretionary places application stage, instead of one school under existing arrangements.
In the central allocation stage, schools could set aside 10 per cent of their places for parents living in other districts to choose.

Tien said the proposal would increase parents' choices of schools.
The commission proposes that students' exam performances in primary five and six be considered when allocating secondary schools.

These results would be adjusted by the past Academic Aptitude Test, which was scrapped in 2000, or the pre- Secondary One Hong Kong Attainment Test.



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