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EDB continues discussions with school councils on fine-tuning medium of instruction policy

    In response to media enquiries, a spokesman for the Education Bureau (EDB) said that the bureau had met representatives of secondary school councils today (June 25). During the meeting, participants again had a frank exchange of views on the way forward for fine-tuning the medium of instruction (MOI) policy.

    The spokesman said: :One of the objectives of fine-tuning the MOI policy is to enhance exposure to English during lesson time for junior secondary students receiving mother-tongue (Chinese-medium) education, to facilitate their articulation to senior secondary and tertiary education.;

    :We also intend to allow schools more autonomy, provided that effective learning of students is safeguarded.  While promoting the mother-tongue policy, we wish to minimise the labelling effect caused by the categorisation of our schools into Chinese-medium (CMI) and English-medium (EMI) schools and in so doing provide our secondary schools and their students more room for development.;

    According to the spokesman, the EDB had indicated earlier that a division by class based on student ability (i.e. a certain number of classes within a school may have greater flexibility in adopting the English medium for some or all non-language subjects), as well as an increase of lesson time in English for subjects generally taught in the mother-tongue, may be a possible direction forward. The bureau today further explored with the school council representatives their suggestion that, on top of the recommendations, all schools should be allowed to adopt the English medium for individual subjects.

    :We appreciate the views held by some that the labelling effect on .CMI・ and .EMI・ schools is still prevalent in the community.  Against this backdrop, by allowing students, who are yet to be ready to learn all subjects in English, to try to learn one or two subjects in English and so increase their exposure to the language, may further diminish the labelling effect on them and may induce a positive driving force in their learning,; he said.

    The spokesman said: :However, we must stress that if use of the English medium for some subjects is allowed without regard to student ability, a credible quality assurance mechanism must be established to ensure that students・ learning effectiveness will not be jeopardised.  On that basis, EDB is happy to continue listening to the views of stakeholders and consider their suggestions.;

    The spokesman said three objective principles must be observed while fine-tuning the MOI policy to give schools more flexibility, namely student ability, teacher capability and support measures. A defined mechanism must also be set up to ensure effective implementation; and parents should be well informed of the specific MOI arrangements put in place by individual schools.

    The spokesman said, "Participants reckoned that before the implementation of the fine-tuned MOI arrangements, the school sector should exercise self-discipline and observe the existing policy."

    He added, :EDB also emphasised at the meeting that Hong Kong, being an international city, must groom the younger generation in their English proficiency. EDB has devoted resources and efforts in promoting the teaching and learning of English in the past few years. We are at present reviewing the effectiveness of these measures and exploring room for improvement, especially on enhancing the overall English proficiency of primary students.

    :We also hope to further strengthen teacher training and encourage our English teachers to engage in continuous professional development. We also wish to further improve the Native English-speaking Teacher (NET) Scheme, to liven up the teaching and learning of English in schools.;

Ends/Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Issued at HKT 20:45


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