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LCQ12: Promoting education on three-dimensional printing technology
     Following is a question by Dr the Hon Chiang Lai-wan and a written reply by the Secretary for Education, Mr Eddie Ng Hak-kim, in the Legislative Council today (July 13):


     With the growing popularity of emerging three-dimensional (3D) printing technology in recent years, there is a keen demand for talents who have mastered such technology. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) whether it will consider setting up a dedicated funding scheme on 3D printing technology under the Quality Education Fund to enable schools to obtain funding through simple application procedures for purchasing relevant equipment and training teachers ,etc., so as to offer relevant courses to students; if it will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;

(2) whether it will consider offering continuing education courses to help serving teachers master the expertise and teaching skills in 3D printing technology; if it will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and

(3) whether it will consider organizing extra-curricular activities such as talks, workshops and inter-school competitions in collaboration with the relevant trades to enhance the motivation of students to learn 3D printing technology, with a view to integrating 3D printing technology into the formal school curriculum in future; if it will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?



     It was proposed in the 2015 Policy Address to strengthen Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education to strengthen students’ ability in integration and application of knowledge and skills learnt in different learning areas, and enhance their creativity. Learning and application of 3D printing technology provides a typical example of STEM education.

     The reply to Dr the Hon Chiang Lai-wan’s question is as follows:

(1) The Quality Education Fund (QEF) is established to fund worthwhile initiatives which align with the educational policies of Hong Kong in order to raise the quality of school education and to promote quality school education. Priority themes, such as “Enhancing Learning and Teaching, and Assessment Literacy with a view to Enhancing Student Learning Outcomes in Primary General Studies, Key Learning Areas/Subject Curricula, and Liberal Studies” and “Using e-Learning (IT) for Effective Learning” ,etc., are launched under the QEF. Since 2015/16, STEM education is covered in the contents under the priority themes of QEF to encourage the education sector to apply for funding for STEM education, including the learning and application of the skills in 3D printing, with a view to enhancing students’ creativity and problem solving skills as well as nurturing more talents in the field of science and technology. Schools can submit proposals related to 3D printing technology according to their needs. In addition, the QEF has introduced simplified application arrangement for applications with grant sought not exceeding $150,000 since 2014. Such arrangement facilitates the education sector to submit applications. Project proposals will be assessed in accordance with a set of criteria, such as the rationale of the proposed project, the teachers’ involvement, cost effectiveness, and whether the facilities or IT equipment to be purchased meet the needs of curriculum development. In the past three years, 14 applications related to 3D printing have been approved.

(2) In recent years, the Education Bureau has organised workshops and seminars on 3D printing technology for teachers to keep abreast of the latest development and application of the technology, and also understand how to apply 3D printing technology in learning and teaching as part of the curriculum.

     We have strengthened the provision of Teacher Professional Development Programmes in STEM education in the coming year, including programmes and number of places on the teaching of 3D printing technology. We will liaise with the professional bodies to strengthen our collaboration. We will also identify good practices on teaching and learning of 3D printing technology from schools and share the relevant experiences through teacher network activities in order to enhance teachers’ professional competence in applying 3D printing technology in teaching.

(3) The Science Education, Technology Education and Mathematics Education curricula in Hong Kong provide a broad and balanced curriculum framework, which include the learning elements of 3D printing technology. For example, in Technology Education, students will understand and apply 3D printing technology, its basic concepts and working principles and also its application in production and manufacturing processes. In Mathematics Education, 3D printing provides teachers with flexibility to make their own complicated 3D models so that students will master the more complex nature of solid geometry, and be able to make abstract mathematical concepts more concrete. In Science Education, students may apply the technology in making 3D models so as to master the related subject knowledge. In senior secondary “Applied Learning” courses, some courses have incorporated the basic knowledge about 3D printing technology. In future, the understanding and application of related knowledge and technology will be incorporated to match the latest development in related fields. Besides, all STEM related curricula are being updated. With the development of innovative technology, we will further strengthen the learning and application of 3D printing by providing more concrete and feasible exemplars of teaching activities for schools and teachers’ reference. Through the process of design and making of the tools, components or 3D models for investigative experiments/activities, students will be able to integrate and apply knowledge and skills learnt from different learning contexts. In addition to consolidating the learning of subject knowledge and developing related processing skills, it helps enhance students learning interests, inspire their creativity and innovation.

     Concurrently, we will continue to support schools to conduct 3D printing technology learning activities and competitions so that students can have more opportunities to practise and to nurture creativity. At present, tertiary institutions, professional bodies and industry sector have organised competitions on 3D printing. Further to our continuous support for various competitions, we will continue to support and collaborate with our partners such as the Hong Kong Productivity Council and the Vocational Training Council to co-organise related activities. We will incorporate more related local, Mainland and international experiences to deepen students’ understanding of the applications of 3D printing technology and to broaden their horizons.
Ends/Wednesday, July 13, 2016
Issued at HKT 14:35
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