The Secretary for Education (SED), Mr Eddie Ng Hak-kim, today (May 22, Helsinki time) continued his duty visit to Finland to learn more about its good practices and development plans as a leading education system in the European Union.
This morning Mr Ng met with the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education and Culture of Finland, Ms Anita Lehikoinen, to exchange views on various education policies and strategies.
Like Hong Kong, Finland has, more than once, taken top places in the Programme for International Student Assessment conducted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. High-quality teacher education and its success in attracting top calibre students to the teaching profession are regarded as a key factor in the good learning outcome of Finland's students.
Mr Ng echoed the importance of a professional teaching force to education effectiveness. In addition to initial teacher education and induction, both school teachers and principals in Hong Kong are requested to engage themselves in at least 150 hours of continuing professional development over a three-year cycle.
To promote the development of the teaching profession along the career ladder from prospective teachers to experienced principals, Mr Ng pointed out that last year the Education Bureau changed the Advisory Committee on Teacher Education and Qualifications to the Committee on Professional Development of Teachers and Principals for better articulation and arrangements.
Mr Ng then paid a courtesy call on the Mayor of Helsinki, Mr Jussi Pajunen, to learn more about the education system at the municipal level.
Yesterday, Mr Ng met with the Director General of the Finnish National Board of Education, Mr Aulis Pitkälä, and was briefed on the latest developments of the Finnish education system, including the national core curriculum for basic education.
In order to take a closer look at the success of the Finnish education system, Mr Ng visited the Department of Teacher Education of the University of Helsinki, which is one of Europe's leading units providing teacher education and engaging in educational research.
Mr Ng was deeply impressed by the university's educational research conducted in collaboration with academic and business partners, such as the development of the Angry Birds Playground, to improve learning and teaching outcomes through innovation and technology.
Mr Ng said he looked forward to bridging the University of Helsinki with the teacher education institutions in Hong Kong for further exchanges in this respect, especially when the Fourth Strategy on Information Technology in Education is to be put in place later this year.
He also visited Aalto University, which is renowned for its art and design education. He later called at HAAGA-HELIA University of Applied Sciences, which is well-known for its vocational teacher education, and finally he visited Omnia Vocational College.
During his stay in Helsinki, Mr Ng took the opportunity to meet with members of Finland's business and education sectors at a reception organised by the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in London to update them on the latest developments of Hong Kong.
Accompanying the SED are the Deputy Secretary for Education, Dr Catherine K K Chan; Administrative Assistant to the SED, Mr Kenneth Cheng; and member of the Standing Committee on Language Education and Research, Professor Chan Shui-duen.
Ends/Thursday, May 22, 2014
Issued at HKT 17:34