LCQ9: e-Learning resources

     Following is a question by the Hon Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen and a written reply by the Secretary for Education, Mr Michael Suen, in the Legislative Council today (February 16):


     With the growing popularity of e-books in Hong Kong, more and more members of the public use e-readers for reading, and some local primary and secondary schools have replaced conventional textbooks with electronic teaching materials in teaching.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) whether it knows the share of e-books in Hong Kong's publication market in the past five years; of the respective numbers of primary and secondary schools which use electronic teaching materials in the current school year, as well as the respective percentages of such figures in the total number of primary and secondary schools in Hong Kong;

(b) whether it has assessed if there are differences in academic achievements and health, including vision, between students using e-Learning resources and those using conventional textbooks; if it has assessed, of the outcome; if not, the reasons for that; and

(c) whether it knows the respective average amounts of expenditure incurred by students who purchased e-Learning resources and those who purchased conventional textbooks last year, and apart from providing subsidies for the purchase of e-Learning resources, how the authorities support the schools and teachers who have opted to use electronic materials in instruction?



     Our reply to the three-part question is as follows:

(a) Whether a textbook will be published in printed or electronic form is the commercial decision of publishers.  Other than textbooks, e-books and e-Learning resources are not subject to review by the Education Bureau (EDB), thus we have no information on the market of electronic teaching materials.

(b) The EDB has not assessed whether there are differences in academic achievements and health, including vision, between students using e-Learning resources and those using conventional textbooks.  Teachers may adapt the content of textbooks in the light of students' abilities and learning needs, and supplement textbooks with other learning materials, including e-Learning resources and other online resources.  As a result, it is common practice for schools to use e-Learning resources in order to enhance effectiveness of learning and teaching. Moreover, learning materials used by students nowadays are no longer confined to just electronic learning materials or conventional textbooks.  Schools could also deploy electronic media and tools to facilitate learning.  Furthermore, free e-Learning resources are widely available on the Internet for reference and use.

     In order to explore and develop viable options for implementing e-Learning further in schools as well as to assess their effectiveness, the EDB launched, in late 2010, a three-year Pilot Scheme on e-Learning in Schools.  A total of 21 pilot projects have been selected and the pilot will be completed in 2014.  The EDB will review the Scheme regularly and publish the relevant findings.

(c) E-Learning materials have effectively become a routine part of schools' teaching materials.  It is impossible to separate the costs of e-Learning materials and conventional textbooks since schools subsume in the same booklist textbooks and essential e-Learning materials.  According to an annual survey conducted by the Consumer Council, the average expenditure on textbooks (including electronic and other forms of learning materials) in the past three years is as follows:

Average expenditure  2008     2009     2010
on textbooks
Primary School       $2,153   $2,032   $2,091
Secondary School     $1,947   $1,796   $2,016

     To support schools to enhance students' e-Learning capability, the EDB has provided public sector schools with a one-off grant in the 2009/10 school year, amounting to some $30,000 to $70,000 per school, for the purchase of e-Learning materials within a three-year period.  In addition, regular professional development programmes are organised to equip teachers with skills on using the latest technologies to enhance learning and teaching, and helping them to apply information technology for student-centred learning activities.

Ends/Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Issued at HKT 11:32