Transcript of remarks by SED

     Following is the transcript of remarks by the Secretary for Education, Mr Eddie Ng Hak-kim, at a media session after officiating at the Learning and Teaching Expo 2016 today (December 8):
Reporter: Secretary ... some parents are saying that schools have no intention of stopping the drilling. They are still telling students to buy exercises for TSA. So, with this problem unsolved, do you think it is really appropriate to ...?
Secretary for Education: As I said, in the whole process of the investigation and the great work of the Committee (the Coordinating Committee on Basic Competency Assessment and Assessment Literacy), you can see a lot of parents also expressed their views from different angles. Parents in different walks of life also provided their input. And the idea of heavy school workloads actually should not be taken as an equal to TSA, and this is what they suggested as well. As I said, the four major areas of improvement have probably eliminated whatever motives there were to drive heavy homework loading in schools. Those factors have gone away already. So from that angle, you really do not have a reason to provide heavy workload, to be a sort of homework, as at the start.
     The second one relates to how questions are set and how exercises are being provided. I keep on suggesting that let us be very careful. Because the schools suggest textbooks as well as exercises under professional teachers' guidance, parents really do not need to go to the off-street shops and pick up their own exercise books, because there might be a situation, reported by the media as well, that an exercise book on TSA has nothing to with TSA at all. So what I am trying to say is that if you take three years up in terms of the difficulty of the exercise and try to drill yourself, that is something we actually discourage.
     Last but not the least, last October I did suggest to the schools by issuing a memorandum that we pay extra attention to school homework and suggest a very transparent annual review of all the school homework together with parents and teachers. By doing so, hopefully schools will have direct input in terms of how parents and students feel. I think they will be able to solve the problem.
(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.) 

Ends/Thursday, December 8, 2016
Issued at HKT 14:33