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Transcript of remarks by SED

     The following is the transcript of remarks by Secretary for Education, Mr Michael Suen, to the media after a public function today (January 11):

Reporter: Do you think the rapidly-changing education policy will further enhance school labelling in Hong Kong?

Secretary for Education: I don't think that is the point.  We've got to understand why we do it.  We do it because we want to raise the standard of our education in Hong Kong .  We want to do it because we want to ensure that every child in Hong Kong is equally proficient in Chinese and in English.  It is where our future lies.  We pride ourselves as an international city and an international financial centre.   And one of the essential ingredients is the capability to command both languages.  It is our duty and as the policy secretary, it is my responsibility.  We owe it to the community to raise standard.   And so what we are proposing is a means to raise the standard of English.  We understand certain children whose English is not up to the standard but we've got to give them a chance to enable them to have the opportunity to get in touch with English.  The best place to do it is at school.  And so while we think that the best way to do it is mother-tongue teaching but at the same time we want to expose them to more English so that at school they are not afraid to speak English.  They've got the opportunity to hear more English and to speak more English.   And so through the process they are able to raise their standards because the teaching of English out of context is not doing any good to anyone.  What we are proposing to do is within the school environment to provide the context and the environment for people to get interested in speaking English.  We hope that after a few years with all these, and of course with the concerted efforts of the education profession, with all the teachers and principals, we will be able to achieve that.

(Please also refer to the Chinese portion)

Ends/Sunday, January 11, 2009
Issued at HKT 19:43


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