Speech at Canadian Chamber of Commerce
Speech by Mrs Fanny Law, GBS, JP
Permanent Secretary for Education and Manpower, HKSAR
to the Canadian Chamber of Commerce
“Nurturing Global Citizen”
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
Thank you for inviting me to join you for breakfast and to share with you some thoughts on how education in
To be “global citizens”, we must:
l understand how the world works economically, politically, socially, culturally, technologically and environmentally;
l respect and value diversity and cultural differences; and
l be willing to contribute to the collective well-being of the global community and make the world a more sustainable place in which to live.
Mark Gerzon, director of the Global Leadership Network, speaks of “becoming”, not being, a global citizen, because global citizens have “to live according to values that are good for the world”. Global citizenship is thus a way of thinking, an outlook on life, and a belief that one can make a difference.
As an international financial centre and an open economy,
The education reform
In preparing our younger generation to cope with the challenges of globalization and the knowledge-based economy,
Global issues, such as poverty and hunger, war and peace, and global warming, and ways to tackle problems of common concern (e.g. environmental protection) are introduced into the curriculum, starting at the primary level. Through the study of global issues, we expect students to increase their awareness of issues that affect the human race, sharpen their sensitivity to human plight, and develop a more caring attitude towards the poor and disadvantaged. Through enquiry learning, students master some basic understanding and appreciation of people and cultures around the world.
Our junior secondary students are exposed to the idea of the emergence of global identity in an interdependent world, alongside their identity as
We have recently proposed a new senior secondary curriculum, with Liberal Studies as one of the four core subjects, to be implemented from 2009. Through Liberal Studies, we aim to broaden the knowledge base and develop in students multiple perspectives of contemporary issues at personal, societal, national and global levels, so that they will become informed and responsible citizens of their society, country and the world.
Globalization is one of six core modules in Liberal Studies. The others are “Personal Development and Human Relationship”, “Hong Kong Today”, “Modern China”, “Public Health and Biotechnology” and “Energy and the Environment”. In “Globalization”, students will explore the meaning, the trend and the impact of globalization, the opportunities and challenges brought by globalization, different perceptions of globalization and the responses from different nations. In the process, students will discuss issues about dissemination and customization of cultures and values, cultural domination and vanishing cultures, and cultural conflicts.
The curriculum also requires students to conduct an independent enquiry study on an issue of their choice concerning the media, religion, sports, art, information and communication technology or education. The Independent Enquiry Study provides an invaluable opportunity to enhance self-directed learning skills.
In addition, we wish our students to be proficient in the use of English and IT. These are the global communication tools that are essential for tapping new knowledge and to engage with people from diverse cultural backgrounds.
In the ambience of education reform, our children also enjoy the benefits of exchange programmes and visits to the Mainland and other parts of the world organized by the EMB, individual primary and secondary schools, and the universities. Such kind of co-curricular or extra-curricular activities could broaden the perspectives of students and develop an understanding of different cultural heritage and traditions. This would facilitate their growth into truly global citizens.
Having talked about how the local meets the global, I would like to turn to how the global meets the local.
At present, we have 56 international schools in
As in the case of local schools, the demand for different curricula among individual international schools and at various levels of education is highly uneven. Despite an overall vacancy rate of about 13%, there is anecdotal evidence to suggest that the more popular schools are grossly over-subscribed with a long waiting list. We are in the midst of carrying out a survey to find out the enrolment for 2005/06 school year at individual international schools and at each level of study. We expect to receive the schools’ responses and complete the analysis in two months.
The Hong Kong SAR Government supports the development of a vibrant international school sector to underpin our aspiration to be
We see the benefits of local students studying alongside expatriate children to develop better appreciation of cultural diversity. At present, more local students opt for international schools than the reverse. Some of them may have difficulty coping with the local curriculum and school work, some may wish to acquaint themselves with the overseas curriculum before going abroad, and others may simply be looking for an authentic English learning environment. Among the students of English School Foundation schools, for example, about 40% come from Chinese speaking families.
There are 112 English medium secondary schools in
In view of the trend of globalization, increasingly local schools see the benefit of cultural diversity among their students, and welcome expatriate students. To expatriate students, going to a local school enables them to become immersed in the
Since 1999, the HKSAR Government has supported the construction of nine Private Independent Schools. The first has come into operation in 2004. The other eight will come into operation between 2006 and 2010. Together they provide a total of 14 800 primary and secondary places. These schools enjoy freedom in the choice of curriculum. Many of them would offer the International Baccalaureate programmes or develop school-based curricula that are consistent with the educational goals of the 21st century.
As education systems around the world attach increased importance to generic skills and self-directed learning, the trend is convergence among different national curricula. Be it a local school, a private independent school, or an international school with a national curriculum, the common goal is to nurture global citizens with literacy and numeracy, creativity and critical thinking, social and communication skills, awareness of global issues, empathy and integrity, and aptitude for lifelong learning.
In future, we hope to see more collaboration between international and local schools. These can take many forms, occur at different levels and involve various stakeholders. There can be short-term exchanges of students or teachers, mutual visits and lesson observations, joint lesson delivery through video links, and other regular joint-school activities, including professional development of teachers. Earlier this year, the English Schools Foundation (ESF) and the EMB, in partnership with the Bond International, an
I look to you and members of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce to help realize this vision. Thank you.