Traditional Chinese Simplified Chinese Email this article
LCQ17: Strategies on Information Technology in Education

     Following is a question by the Hon Ip Kwok-him and a written reply by the Secretary for Education, Mr Eddie Ng Hak-kim, in the Legislative Council today (June 1):


     The Education Bureau (EDB) launched the strategies on Information Technology (IT) in Education (ITEd strategies) in 1998 to provide schools with necessary IT facilities and digital resources for learning and teaching, and connect them to the Internet. In addition, the EDB implemented Phase Two of the e-Textbook Market Development Scheme (EMADS) in 2013 to encourage potential and aspiring developers to develop e-textbooks in line with the local curricula, and to try out a quality vetting and assurance mechanism for e-textbooks with a view to drawing up a Recommended Textbook List for e-Textbook (eRTL). However, currently only about 10 per cent of primary schools and less than 20 per cent of secondary schools in Hong Kong use e-textbooks. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) whether it has reviewed the effectiveness of ITEd strategies; if it has reviewed, of the outcome and the follow-up actions taken; if not, the reasons for that;

(2) as some members of the education sector have pointed out that although WiFi infrastructure has been installed in various public schools, there are inadequate hardware (e.g. tablet computers and their chargers) and IT technicians to support e-learning, whether the EDB will subsidise schools to purchase equipment necessary for e-learning and list the relevant expenses as a recurrent expenditure item, with a view to creating an environment conducive to e-learning for students; if the EDB will, of the implementation timetable; if not, the reasons for that;

(3) as some members of the education sector have pointed out that for many subjects, either none or very few textbooks have been placed under eRTL, whether the EDB has studied the reasons for publishers not actively developing e-textbooks; if the EDB has studied, of the outcome; if not, the reasons for that; whether the authorities will consider providing incentives to encourage publishers to compile more e-textbooks;

(4) as it has been reported that the EDB has no intention to implement a new phase of EMADS, whether the EDB has responded to such reports; if the EDB has, of the details; if the EDB plans to implement a new phase of EMADS, of the timetable; and

(5) given that with smartphones becoming a major communication device in daily life, there is a keen demand for the skills of smartphone application programming, and some primary schools are therefore providing lessons to students on the basic knowledge in smartphone application programming, whether the EDB will take the initiative to train teachers so that all secondary and primary school students in Hong Kong can acquire the relevant knowledge; if the EDB will, of the implementation timetable; if not, the reasons for that?



     In line with the global trend of harnessing Information Technology (IT) to facilitate learning and teaching, the Government has been implementing various strategies on IT in education and other e-learning initiatives since 1998/99 school year. The achievements made and the experiences gained have contributed towards the formulation and implementation of the Fourth Strategy on IT in Education (ITE4) to different extents. The Education Bureau (EDB) formally launched the ITE4 in 2015/16 school year with the goal of unleashing the learning power of all our students to learn to learn and to excel through realising the potential of IT in enhancing interactive learning and teaching experiences.

     My reply to the questions raised by the Hon Ip Kwok-him is as follows:

(1) Under the ITE4, we have adopted a holistic approach in the formulation of six actions. One of the actions is sustaining the coherent development of IT in education. With a view to sustaining the impact of IT in education and fine-tuning the supporting measures of ITE4, we will conduct ongoing researches and evaluation studies, including school surveys, case study research and other methodologies, to gauge the progress and effectiveness of various e-learning initiatives.

(2) Under the ITE4, we have disbursed to all public sector schools by phases from the 2015/16 school year an average of $100,000 as a one-off grant for acquisition of mobile computing devices, and also an extra recurrent grant of $70,000 on average per school for subscription of WiFi services and maintenance of mobile computing devices. Besides, we have been providing a recurrent Composite Information Technology Grant (CITG) to all public sector schools every year to meet the diversified needs of schools on e-learning. Under the principle of school-based management, schools can flexibly deploy their resources as appropriate to meet their operational needs for IT in education. Acquisition of computer facilities is also within the ambit of CITG. CITG levels are subject to annual adjustment in accordance with the movement of Composite Consumer Price Index. Since schools are still enhancing their WiFi infrastructure by phases, we have no plan at this stage to further enhance the funding support for schools, but we will monitor the progress of implementation on an ongoing basis.

(3) and (4) We launched two phases of the e-Textbook Market Development Scheme (EMADS) in 2012 and  2013 respectively, with a non-recurrent funding of $50 million to facilitate and encourage the participation of potential and aspiring e-textbook developers to develop a diverse range of e-textbooks in line with our local curricula; as well as to try out a quality vetting and quality assurance mechanism for e-textbooks through the field-testing of e-textbooks in partner schools with a view to drawing up progressively a full-fledged Recommended Textbook List for e-textbooks. Since the launch of the Recommended e-Textbook List (eRTL) in 2014, 38 sets of e-textbooks that align with the local curricula have been included for school use, covering primary education subjects of Chinese Language, English Language, Mathematics, Putonghua, General Studies and Physical Education; and major junior secondary education subjects including Chinese Language, English Language, Mathematics, Geography, History, Computer Education and Life and Society. At the same time, EMADS has pioneered in setting up a new e-textbook market and a quality assurance mechanism. Among the 38 sets of e-textbooks, 4 sets were developed by publishers in the market in addition to the 34 sets developed under EMADS. This indicated that even at the early stage of e-textbook development, publishers have already shown interest and taken the initiative in joining the market. It is expected that more e-textbooks would be available in the market.

     To encourage the development of more e-textbooks, the EDB has been accepting e-textbooks for different subjects for review by phases since late 2014. e-Textbooks that have undergone the quality assurance mechanism and met its requirements will be included on the eRTL, alongside the e-textbooks developed under EMADS. In addition, we have invited e-textbook developers, publishers, professionals and educators in IT in education, school principals and frontline teachers to discuss and share their views on the standard requirements to be adopted for e-textbooks submitted for review. To provide a wider choice of e-textbooks for schools and to address publishers' needs in relation to the future submission of e-textbooks for review, we have increased the number of submission periods for review per year, while the scope of subjects and key stages of e-textbooks for review have also been extended and are now comparable with those of printed textbooks. Since the 2014/15 school year, schools have been using e-textbooks via different approaches. It is expected that with the increase in teachers' knowledge in e-learning and the use of e-resources, enhancement of IT infrastructure in schools as well as more e-textbooks being made available, more schools will adopt e-textbooks.

     Regarding the future plan of EMADS, we have responded on various occasions that an evaluation is underway to assess the effectiveness of EMADS, including other related areas such as the use of e-textbooks in schools and the impact on classroom learning and teaching in the context of the promotion of e-learning. As the e-textbook review mechanism has already been fully opened up, we do not have any plan for launching another round of EMADS for the time being.

(5) Computer lessons are offered in most primary and secondary schools. Schools are encouraged to adopt whole-school approach in the curriculum planning of integrating programming in relevant subjects. In 2000, the EDB developed the Computer Awareness Programme with eight modules. Among them are modules on basic programming to equip students with programming skills and computer knowledge. In 2015, the modules were revised and updated with new contents such as Scratch and App Inventor for teachers' reference and use according to the needs of their students. Apart from developing resources for coding, the EDB will continue to provide teacher with training programmes to support coding education in schools. In 2014/15 and 2015/16 school years, three seminars/workshops were organised for primary school teachers to introduce strategies for developing computational thinking skills through Primary General Studies (GS), as well as using Scratch to make relevant learning and teaching resources. The EDB will continue to support various organisations in developing resources and curriculum to promote coding education in Hong Kong.

     Schools teach programming related content at the junior secondary level through implementing the Technology Education Key Learning Area (TEKLA) Curriculum Guide (the Guide). The Guide provides an open and flexible framework for schools to develop their school-based TEKLA curriculum which builds on the strengths of their schools and the needs of their students. The learning elements at the junior secondary level in the Guide were enriched in August 2013 to give students a broad and balanced foundation on technology education. For students with talents or are interested in pursuing the study of programming further, Information and Communication Technology is offered as an elective subject at the senior secondary level. We will continue to arrange professional development programmes for teachers in the forthcoming years so as to enhance their professional capacity and to build learning communities within and across schools to benefit student learning. The relevant contents in Primary GS and TEKLA would further be updated by end of 2016.

Ends/Wednesday, June 1, 2016
Issued at HKT 18:29


Print this page