LCQ17: Measures to optimise four senior secondary core subjects
The measures to optimise the four senior secondary core subjects (i.e. Chinese Language, English Language, Mathematics and Citizenship and Social Development in lieu of Liberal Studies) (the optimising measures) have been implemented from Secondary Four since the 2021-2022 school year. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) given that after the implementation of the optimising measures, the lesson time of the aforesaid core subjects takes up no more than half of the total lesson time, and schools may make reasonable arrangements for the lesson time released (including how the lesson time should be allocated, what subject choices should be offered, and how other learning experiences should be arranged), whether the Education Bureau (EDB) has effectively grasped the details of the subjects or other learning experiences on which the lesson time released is spent after the implementation of the optimising measures; if not, how the EDB ensures that schools make reasonable use of the lesson time released;
(2) whether the EDB has conducted surveys on students' learning effectiveness and teachers' teaching situation under the optimising measures; if so, of the results, and the responses of students and teachers to the optimising measures after their implementation; if not, whether the information provided by schools alone is sufficient for the EDB to review the effectiveness of the optimising measures; and
(3) given that in the light of the implementation of the optimising measures, the EDB has put in place support measures for schools in different aspects (including providing professional development programmes for teachers, developing learning and teaching resources, etc.), of the implementation situation of such support measures?
To follow up on the recommendations on creating space for students and catering for learner diversity set out in the review report with the theme "Optimise the curriculum for the future, Foster whole-person development and diverse talents" of the Task Force on Review of School Curriculum published in 2020, the Education Bureau (EDB) has launched measures to optimise the four senior secondary (SS) core subjects, aiming to release lesson time, reduce examination pressure faced by students and enhance flexibility in the SS curriculum. The optimising measures have been implemented from Secondary Four since the 2021/22 school year, and will be extended to Secondary Six in the 2023/24 school year. Under the optimising measures, the four SS core subjects should not take up more than half of the total lesson time. Capitalising on the lesson time released, schools can better cater for learner diversity and help students develop their interests. Schools can flexibly use the released lesson time with due regard to their contexts and provide students with more options through holistic curriculum planning to cater for learner diversity and nurture students' whole-person development.
My reply in response to the question raised by Professor the Hon Lau Chi-pang is as follows:
(1) and (2) The EDB has been maintaining communication with schools through various channels to keep in view the implementation of the optimising measures in secondary schools. In the 2021/22 school year, the EDB conducted the secondary curriculum implementation survey. Information submitted by 436 secondary schools showed that in the first year of implementing the optimising measures, schools in general were able to release lesson time from the core subjects at Secondary Four, and review and plan the curriculum in a holistic and flexible manner to provide more diversified options for students. The majority of schools have arranged for the first cohort of Secondary Four students under the optimising measures to take an additional subject. According to the Survey on Senior Secondary Subject Information conducted annually by the EDB, the number of students taking the Extended Part (Module 1/Module 2) of Mathematics and Other Languages in the 2021/22 school year increased, while there was a significant rise in the number of Secondary Four students taking three elective subjects and Applied Learning courses. Please refer to the Annex for details.
The optimising measures also provide more room for schools to arrange Other Learning Experiences and life-wide learning activities for students, thereby encouraging them to develop interests and nurturing their whole-person development and diverse talents. In the 2021/22 school year, over half of the schools drew on the space released to increase students' participation in learning activities on values education so as to cultivate in students proper values and positive attitudes towards life within and beyond the classroom. Through holistic planning, many schools have devised diversified learning experiences in alignment with the major emphases of the curriculum, such as strengthening reading and language learning, promoting STEAM (i.e. Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) education and developing students' self-directed learning capabilities.
Besides conducting surveys, the EDB has also collected feedback from stakeholders through channels such as teacher learning circles, meetings with partner schools and focus group interviews. Overall speaking, teachers in general are able to holistically review and progressively plan the curriculum and arrange diversified learning activities for students in tandem with the recommendation of trimming and differentiating the curricula and assessments under the optimising measures. This helps enrich students' learning experiences, broaden their knowledge and cater for their diverse interests, abilities and aspirations. Teachers agreed that the optimising measures could help relieve students' learning pressure, raise their interests in subject learning and learning activities, and enhance their understanding of particular learning areas. Besides, students' interaction and exchange with peers and teachers have been strengthened.
In addition, the EDB continually seeks to understand and monitor the implementation of the optimising measures in schools through various channels such as inspections (including External School Reviews and Focus Inspections) and school visits. The EDB officers will review the whole-school curriculum arrangements and make recommendations for improvement in respect of school curriculum planning, with a view to facilitating self-improvement and upholding the spirit of accountability in schools.
The implementation of the optimising measures is still in its initial stage. Preliminary information shows that the measures have benefited both teachers and students. For the sake of continuous improvements, the EDB will continue to keep in view the implementation of the optimising measures at the school level through various channels and will put the information gathered to the Curriculum Development Council (CDC) for professional discussions under the curriculum development mechanism. The EDB will strive to bring the optimising measures to fruition to enrich students' learning experiences, broaden their knowledge and help them develop multiple skills, laying a solid foundation for further studies and work.
(3) With the implementation of the measures to optimise the four SS core subjects, the CDC has released the Supplementary Notes to the Secondary Education Curriculum Guide (2017) (Note 1) in a timely manner for schools' reference. The Supplementary Notes include the relevant updates such as the suggested lesson time allocation for the SS curriculum. As the nature and approach for optimisation of the four SS core subjects vary, the curriculum documents (Note 2) of the four subjects have been updated, revised or supplemented in varying degrees so as to clearly illustrate the optimising measures and contents of each subject.
The EDB has all along been adopting diversified and specific measures, including providing online and/or face-to-face teacher professional development programmes, experience-sharing sessions, professional networking activities and onsite professional support services, to assist schools in creating space for students and catering for learner diversity based on school contexts and student needs. These support measures cover SS curriculum planning and implementation, learning and teaching strategies, knowledge enrichment, strengthening cross-curricular links and timetabling, and so forth, aiming at providing full support for schools to implement the optimising measures with due regard to the needs of different subjects and facilitating exchange among schools. Furthermore, the EDB has been developing learning and teaching resources, including curriculum documents, teaching materials, references and exemplars, to enable teachers to accurately understand the requirements and emphases of the optimising measures. Relevant resources have already been uploaded to the EDB websites, including the EDB Educational MultiMedia, Citizenship and Social Development/Liberal Studies Web-based Resource Platform and the one-stop webpage (Note 3), for schools' reference and adoption. The EDB has also been organising life-wide learning activities pertaining to different subjects (such as seminars on the appreciation of classical Chinese literature, competitions on English sayings of wisdom and the Mainland study tour for the Citizenship and Social Development subject) for students, and positive feedback has been received from schools.
Note 1: Please refer to the Supplementary Notes to the Secondary Education Curriculum Guide (2017) www.edb.gov.hk/attachment/en/curriculum-development/renewal/Guides/Supp_notes_SECG_Eng_20210628.pdf
Note 2: The Chinese Language Curriculum and Assessment Guide (Secondary 4-6) (2021), the English Language Curriculum and Assessment Guide (Secondary 4-6) (2021), the Guidelines on Catering for Learner Diversity and Creating Space for Senior Secondary Mathematics (2021) and the Citizenship and Social Development Curriculum and Assessment Guide (Secondary 4-6) (2021) have been uploaded to the website of the EDB: www.edb.gov.hk/en/curriculum-development/renewal/guides.html
Note 3: Please refer to the EDB Educational MultiMedia (emm.edcity.hk/), Citizenship and Social Development/Liberal Studies Web-based Resource Platform (ls.edb.hkedcity.net/en/index.php) and the one-stop webpage (www.edb.gov.hk/en/curriculum-development/resource-support/learning-teaching-resource-list/index.html).
Ends/Wednesday, March 15, 2023
Issued at HKT 12:28
Issued at HKT 12:28