Progress on review of the New Academic Structure updated

     The first 3-year cycle of the New Academic Structure (NAS), the New Senior Secondary (NSS) curriculum and the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE) examination has been implemented smoothly with notable positive impacts and achievements.

     Updating the progress on the review of the NAS, the Chairperson of the Curriculum Development Council (CDC), Professor Kenneth Young, today (April 18) said this was made possible with the concerted efforts and collaboration of various stakeholders in the education sector.

     "The NSS curriculum has effectively enhanced the quality of students' learning in both academic and non-academic areas. It has had a positive impact on the development of students' communication skill, independent thinking and creativity, as well as on the cultivation of positive values in life," Professor Young said.

     "For the inaugural HKDSE, about 70 per cent of the day school students have attained level 2 or above in five subjects (including Chinese and English language), representing a 10 percentage points increase over that of students attaining Grade E in five subjects in the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examinations (59 per cent) under the old system," Professor Young said.

     Commenting on the review, the Chairman of the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority, Mr Rock Chen said, "The NAS produces students who are more proactive and outgoing. It also opens up multiple pathways for our next generation to pursue their own interests.

     "Striving to build on this foundation, we will identify areas where we can improve further to meet the needs of our community and contribute to the development of our next generation," Mr Chen said.

     The Deputy Secretary for the Education Bureau, Dr Catherine K K Chan said, "In the past four years, we have consulted teachers and principals, amounting to more than 100,000 times. We have collated views and opinions from students and parents through various channels and forums and received about 28 submissions from professional bodies and organisations in the community.

     "Both the qualitative information and quantitative data showed that the implementation of the NAS has generally achieved our intended policy objectives," Dr Chan said.

     "While building on existing strengths, there is a need to address the practical concerns of schools. These include adjusting the breadth and depth of the curriculum, teachers' workload, School-based Assessment (SBA), lesson time and catering for learners' diversity.

     "We have come up with recommendations for the short-term stage of the review, taking into account the practical concerns of schools and frontline teachers without compromising international benchmarking and curriculum objectives," Dr Chan said.

     These short-term recommendations include:

1. Streamlining curriculum content such as in Business Accounting and Financial Studies (trimmed by 15 per cent) , Mathematics (M1/M2),

2. (i) Deferring SBA in nine subjects - Chinese Literature, Literature in English, Economics, Ethics and Religious Studies, Geography, Tourism and Hospitality Studies, Health Management Social Care, Technology and Living, Music (SBA will be implemented earlier in Music if supported by schools).

(ii) Streamlining and updating SBA arrangements for 11 subjects - Chinese Language, English Language, Information and Communication Technology, Chinese Literature, Economics, Geography, Health Management Social Care, Tourism and Hospitality Studies, Technology and Living, Music, Liberal Studies.

(iii) Not implementing SBA for three subjects - Mathematics, Business Accounting and Financial Studies, Physical Education

(iv) Replacing SBA with a practical exam for one subject - Physical Education

3. For HKDSE, adjusting examination time and improving assessment design to cater for learners' diversity, depending on the situation of different subjects.

4. Flexibility in lesson time, recommending 2,400 กำ 200 hours as the flexible range of total lesson time, emphasising quality rather than quantity in Other Learning Experiences (OLE) and flexible allocation of lesson time for OLE (10-15 per cent).

     These recommendations will be implemented in the 2013/14 school year for Secondary 4 students who will sit in the 2016 HKDSE Examination.

     Dr Chan said that every effort would be made to support schools and teachers in implementing the fine-tuned NSS curriculum and assessment. This includes providing supplementary notes on clarifying the breadth and depth of all curricula, offering professional development programmes and sharing good practice, learning and teaching resource packages among the teaching profession.

     "We will continue to collect views from different stakeholders in order to make recommendations for the medium- and long-term stages, with a view to further fine-tuning the curriculum and assessment and enhancing student learning," Dr Chan said.

     "The medium-term review will be launched within this year. The focus will be on exploring the feasibility of adjusting the curriculum and assessment framework, the teaching and assessment of prescribed texts, further recognition of Applied Learning and issues requiring more comprehensive deliberation.

     "The NAS earmarks a 'fundamental' change where the curriculum, learning and teaching, assessment, the entire system and multiple pathways are aligned to facilitate smooth implementation with positive impacts for our students. Such diversified and 'fundamental' change requires careful and long-term planning with continuous review for the benefit of our next generations," Dr Chan said.

     The NAS review made special reference to the first cycle of implementing and supporting the NSS curriculum, the delivery of the HKDSE examination and the achievement of NAS policy goals. It was jointly conducted by the EDB, the Curriculum Development Council and the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority.

Ends/Thursday, April 18, 2013
Issued at HKT 15:01