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LCQ5: Assessing and supporting students with dyslexia

    Following is a question by the Hon Cheung Chiu-hung and a written reply by the Secretary for Education and Manpower, Professor Arthur K C Li, in the Legislative Council today (March 29):


     In connection with assessing and supporting students with dyslexia, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) as a school had refused to let a boy with dyslexia and poor academic results repeat, resulting in his parents' arranging him to attend another school to repeat his study, whether the authorities have devised an assessment mechanism based solely on the abilities of individual students with dyslexia to determine whether they should proceed to the next school level, so that they are not subject to the existing quota for repeaters applicable to all primary schools, which makes it impossible for them to repeat; if they have, of the details of the mechanism; if not, whether the authorities will consider doing so;

(b) how it will ensure that schools will implement appropriate adaptation measures for students with dyslexia and whether parents of these students have lodged complaints with the Education and Manpower Bureau about inadequate adaptation measures; and

(c) as the authorities require that schools having students with specific learning difficulties ("SpLD") should nominate at least one teacher to attend the course on "Understanding, assessing and teaching pupils with SpLD", of the number of schools in Hong Kong which meet this requirement?

Reply :

Madam President,

(a) Whether a student should repeat class depends on his/her learning abilities and whether he/she can benefit from repeating. If a school considers that a student can benefit the most from repeating, the school head can make the decision in accordance with the above principle. At present, the maximum number of repeaters should not exceed 3% of the total enrolment of the primary school. EMB will continue to monitor the implementation of the repeater arrangement.

(b) EMB encourages parents to work closely with schools to ensure fair and effective special examination arrangements. Wherever appropriate, EMB will help the teachers and parents to understand the principles of special arrangements and the needs of individual students, and suggest improvement measures. The Hong Kong Association of Specific Learning Disabilities, a parents' association, had written to EMB about a student not being recommended by the school for special arrangements in a public examination. Subsequently, appropriate assistance has been arranged for that student.

(c) EMB encourages the teachers of mainstream schools to receive special education training.  At present, there are around 750 public sector schools with at least one teacher trained in special education, which constitute about 75% of the schools concerned.  In addition, EMB has commissioned a tertiary institute to operate a 42-hour course on specific learning difficulties in the 2005/06 and 2006/07 school years, providing a total of 240 places. Thirty-nine primary school teachers and three secondary schools teachers have completed the first round of the course. In the past few years, EMB has also provided related training for around 720 ordinary school teachers from 328 primary and 250 secondary schools.

Ends/Wednesday, March 29, 2006
Issued at HKT 14:01