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LCQ15: New Senior Secondary Subject Information

     Following is a question by the Hon Cheung Man-kwong and a written reply by the Secretary for Education, Mr Michael Suen, in the Legislative Council today (January 6):


     In order to provide students with a broad and balanced curriculum, the New Senior Secondary ("NSS") academic structure involves a major curriculum integration.  Under the NSS academic structure, apart from the four compulsory core subjects, namely Chinese Language, English Language, Mathematics and Liberal Studies, the other 20 subjects are electives.  Generally, students may choose two to three elective subjects, and together with the core subjects, make up a total of no more than eight subjects.  Regarding the elective subjects taken by students studying at Senior Secondary One in the 2009-2010 school year, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) for each of the elective subjects, of the number of schools offering the subject and the total numbers of classes offered, as well as the number and percentage of students taking the subject;

(b) of the top 100 combinations of elective subjects chosen by most students, as well as the numbers of classes and students for each combination; and

(c) given that it has been reported that some secondary schools presently collaborate in offering certain subjects and allow their students to choose such subjects on a cross-school basis, of the number of such secondary schools, the subjects involved and the number of students taking such subjects on a cross-school basis?



(a) The Education Bureau conducted the "Survey on New Senior Secondary Subject Information" from October to November 2009, and collected information on the NSS subjects offered at Secondary 4 (S4) in the 2009/10 school year from 453 schools in Hong Kong.  As reflected by the initial findings:

     All the 20 elective subjects are offered by schools in Hong Kong.  On the one hand, over 70% of our secondary schools offer subjects including "Chinese History", "Economics", "Geography", "History", "Biology", "Chemistry", "Physics", "Business, Accounting and Financial Studies", "Information and Communication Technology" and "Visual Arts" for their S4 students.  On the other hand, fewer schools (less than 10%) offer subjects like "Literature in English", "Integrated Science", "Health Management and Social Care" and "Technology and Living".

     Regarding the number of students taking the elective subjects, more students take "Economics" (34.4%), "Geography" (22.5%), "Biology" (26.8%), "Chemistry" (27.7%), "Physics" (25.6%), "Business, Accounting and Financial Studies" (29.8%) and "Chinese History" (16.4%).  The number of classes offered for these subjects all exceed 500 (please refer to Table 1 of the Appendix for details).

(b) All secondary schools in Hong Kong offer 11 to 12 elective subjects at S4 on average.  The majority of students (about 95%) take two to three elective subjects.  The number of students taking two elective subjects is around 35,000, amounting to 45% of the student population. There are about 190 subject combinations.  As for the number of students taking three elective subjects, it is around 39,000, amounting to 50% of the student population. There are about 770 subject combinations (Table 2 of the Appendix). According to the data collected on students' subject combination, schools no longer adopt the traditional practice of streaming students into arts, science and commercial classes.  S4 students can take their elective subjects in accordance with their own interest and ability as well as the school situation.  In addition, no more than 8% of the student population has taken any particular subject combination.  The most popular subject combinations for those taking two elective subjects, listed in order of popularity, are: (1) Economics and Business, Accounting and Financial Studies; (2) Biology and Chemistry; (3) Chemistry and Physics; (4) Economics and Geography; and (5) Chinese History and History.  As for the most popular subject combinations for those taking three elective subjects, the list in order of popularity is as follows: (1) Physics, Chemistry and Biology; (2) Economics, Geography and Business, Accounting and Financial Studies; (3) Economics, Chemistry and Physics; and (4) Economics, Biology and Chemistry.  The number of students taking each of the above combinations ranges from 1,000 to 5,500.  As students of the same class can take different subject combinations while students from different classes can take the same subject combinations, there is no fixed class for any particular subject combination in the school.  The Bureau, therefore, is only able to provide the number of students taking different subject combinations.  Please refer to Table 3 of the Appendix for details about the top 100 combinations of elective subjects chosen by most S4 students.

(c) The numbers of schools offering network programmes, the subjects offered and S4 students taking these programmes are as follows:

     The number of schools offering network programmes is 48, and the subjects offered include Chinese Literature, Tourism and Hospitality Studies, Integrated Science, Design and Applied Technology, Health Management and Social Care, Information and Communication Technology, Ethics and Religious Studies, Music, Visual Arts and Physical Education.  About 900 students have joined the network programmes.  Under the new academic structure, the numbers of schools and students taking the less popular public examination subjects in the past (such as Music and Physical Education) have increased through the network programmes.  Such a scheme has therefore helped schools to provide S4 students with more choices in taking the New Senior Secondary subjects (Please refer to Table 4 of the Appendix for details).

Ends/Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Issued at HKT 15:20


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