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School language policy should be student-centred (with photos)

     The Secretary for Education, Mr Michael Suen, today (April 1) attended a workshop on whole-school language policy planning to support principals and teachers participating in the workshop to formulate appropriate school-based language policies through discussion, which are "student-centred" to help students attain proficiency in both Chinese and English.

     The workshop forms part of a series of measures by the Education Bureau (EDB) to help schools draw up school-based language policies under the framework of the fine-tuning of medium of instruction (MOI) arrangements in secondary schools.

     The EDB will also organise sharing sessions every six months for schools to exchange teaching experiences.

     "The fine-tuning of MOI arrangements in secondary schools is a school-based initiative. School language policy is an integral part of a school's development plan, which should be devised for the ultimate good of students," Mr Suen said.

     "In deciding the medium of instruction, a school should refer to its own circumstances, including students' capabilities, learning pace, needs and interests; teachers' readiness; as well as available supportive measures in a school."

     He said that a school's language policy should be curriculum-based and also covered various content subjects.  Thorough planning, taking into account students' capabilities, a school's strengths and weaknesses and learning circumstances in content subjects, would be necessary.  A high degree of transparency involving stakeholders' participation was thus essential.

     Mr Suen stressed that while the school management should have a clear understanding of the rationale behind the school's language policy, preparation and participation of teachers were equally important.  He called on the principals who attended today's workshop to maintain close communication with teachers and to consider their views while formulating an appropriate school-based language policy.

     As the MOI arrangements and school-based language policy should complement each other, the EDB organised workshops to enhance understanding that a decision on the MOI in junior secondary level should be premised on the overall learning and teaching objectives of a school, so that a consistent and coherent curriculum would be in place to enhance students' proficiency in Chinese and English languages.

     Head of the Department of Chinese and Bilingual Studies of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University Professor Chan Shui-duen, and Professor Stephen Andrews of the Faculty of Education of the University of Hong Kong were guest speakers at today's workshop.

Ends/Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Issued at HKT 16:45


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