LCQ19: Promote sports development among students

     Following is a question by the Hon Emily Lau Wai-hing and a written reply by the Secretary for Education, Mr Michael Suen, in the Legislative Council today (March 2):

     While one of the learning goals of the school curriculum is to "lead a healthy lifestyle and develop an interest in and appreciation of aesthetic and physical activities", there have been comments that the education system of Hong Kong fails to dovetail with and facilitate the nurturing of elite athletes.  In this connection, will the Executive Authorities inform this Council:

(a) whether they have received complaints from athletes and/or their parents that the education system lacks flexibility, hence poses obstacles to athletes in their studies; if so, of the number and contents of such complaints in the past three years;

(b) given that the education systems of some countries and regions are more flexible and facilitate athletes to strike a balance between studies and sport career, whether the authorities will carry out a focus study to compare the strengths and weaknesses of different education systems; if so, when the study will be carried out; if not, of the reasons for that; and

(c) whether they will make reference to overseas experience and conduct a comprehensive review of the education system of Hong Kong and make adjustments accordingly to dovetail with sports development; if not, of the reasons for that?



(a) We did not receive any complaints related to the above mentioned issue in the past three years.

(b)&(c) Our school curriculum provides all students with essential life-long learning experiences for whole-person development in the domains of ethics, intellect, physical development, social skills and aesthetics.

     In physical education (PE), the curriculum is broad and balanced. It includes six strands, i.e. motor and physical skills; health and fitness; sport-related values and attitudes; knowledge and practice of safety; knowledge of movement; and aesthetic sensitivity.  We facilitate students' acquisition of physical skills, sports knowledge, as well as positive values and attitudes so that they would develop an active and healthy lifestyle. At the same time, we identify and nurture those with sporting potentials.

     Schools also nurture sporting talents with reference to the three-tier operation mode of gifted education.  Firstly at Level One, students are exposed to a diversity of physical activities through PE lessons. This enables them to recognise and develop their potentials and interests, as well as allows teachers to identify students' varied talents so as to differentiate teaching strategies to meet their needs, e.g. through appropriate grouping with enrichment activities and extended learning opportunities.  At Level Two, through pull-out (school-based) programmes such as interest groups and school team trainings, students receive systematic and professional training in selected sports outside regular classroom and participate in inter-schools sports competitions.  At Level Three, off-site support is provided. Students with exceptional sporting potentials or performance are referred to related organisations where they would receive further professional training and be prepared to become elite athletes.

     At present, the Hong Kong education system does not obstruct students with sporting potentials from being identified, receiving training, and taking part in competitions.  Rather, school-based support measures (at the tertiary, secondary and primary levels) such as granting leave for students to undergo training and competitions, and providing them with extra assistance in academic studies, etc. help elite athletes strike a balance between studies and sports development.  We believe that schools have provided appropriate educational opportunities for athletes to develop their potentials and excel within a flexible teaching and learning environment.  Furthermore, students representing Hong Kong may submit requests for special consideration when public examinations clash with international sports competitions. The Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority normally exempts them from taking the examination and assesses their performance using established mechanism.  To give due recognition to students with outstanding achievements in sports, universities admit elite athletes through the Self Recommendation Scheme, School Principal's Nominations Scheme, Sports Scholarship Scheme, etc.

     We shall continue to make reference to the experience of other countries and review our work from time to time for improvement, in order to promote sports development among students.

Ends/Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Issued at HKT 12:16