Address at Opening Ceremony for International Council on Education for Teaching (ICET) World Assembly 2004
Professor Arthur K C Li
Secretary for Education and Manpower
Address at Opening Ceremony for International Council on
Education for Teaching (ICET) World Assembly 2004
Prof Tsui, Prof Townsend, Dr Kwo, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
It is both my honour and pleasure to address such a distinguished international audience today. It is gratifying to meet a host of renowned scholars and educators from more than twenty countries and regions spanning the continents of
For our visitors, I hope you will find yourselves at home in
Education holds the key to the future of any society. How we nurture our next generation determines our future. As Secretary for Education and Manpower, I firmly believe in the value and strength of our human capital. We have the important task of preparing our young people to be lifelong learners who are alert to change, ever-ready to embrace change and can manage change. We must never be complacent with current achievements, and be always alert to the changing needs of the local and global communities. We must also continue to ask ourselves the pivotal role of schools, what students should learn, and how to make teaching more relevant and effective. Professor Linda Darling-Hammond once said that, “Teaching is a “learning profession”. Indeed, besides the primary concern of teachers to organize learning for their students, all teachers must be active learners themselves to move with the times.
With a competent and dedicated teaching force, education in
It has been more than three years since we officially launched the education reform in
The delivery of quality education essentially hinges on a high calibre teaching force and professionalism. Success can never come without a dedicated and hardworking teaching force. It is primarily from teachers that a love of learning is acquired. The intellectual energy underpinning a society begins in the classroom where teachers develop the talents and capabilities of their students. In partnership with parents, teachers have an important role in shaping the values and attitudes of young people. These include core values like love for learning, respect for others’ rights, compassion for those who are less fortunate and a commitment to liberty and equality. Our teachers have indeed been at the forefront teaching and modeling these important values. I take this opportunity to thank our principals and teachers for their efforts and contributions in shaping values and promoting a love for learning in our young people.
With the growing importance of education, the community at large understandably has more expectations of its teachers. Society and teachers themselves need to be sure that the work of teachers is of the highest possible quality. We must be confident that our system of teacher education equips teachers with knowledge, skills and language proficiency relevant to the needs of young people in preparation for their participation in an ever-changing world. These are critical issues, and teachers have a vital role in addressing them, not just by themselves but in partnership with tertiary institutions and the community at large. Such a challenge is by no means unique to
As waves of education reform swept across nations in the latter part of the 20th century, social, economic and technological changes on a global scale have been challenging the traditional forms of knowledge and educational practice. Standards of professional practice are being developed to explicate what teachers should know and be able to do. Teacher educators and education administrators worldwide are forging new roles, identities and relationships.
Universities have long been the breeding grounds and power-houses of knowledge. They have also been the training grounds for our future teachers. Where school education is concerned, university academics are increasingly engaging in partnership with governments and schools in matters like action research, curriculum development, teacher induction and professional growth. Scholars have now taken on the new roles of advisors, mentors, problem-solvers, reviewers, evaluators and knowledge builders. Models of collaboration are being created to facilitate community building. Through collaborations, the co-construction and refinement of knowledge on the education front take on new meaning and manifestation, where theories and practice mix and reinforce each other.
Since 2001, our government has been working alongside the Advisory Committee on Teacher Education and Qualifications to improve the professional quality of teachers. Our deliberations fall into three broad categories: initial teacher education, the professional development of beginning teachers and the continuing professional development of practicing teachers. In November 2003, we put in place a teacher competencies framework to facilitate teachers in reviewing and planning for their own professional development. We have also worked to raise the entry qualifications of teachers effective from October 2004. We will continue to look into such key issues as the effectiveness of current initial teacher preparation, support for beginning teachers, workplace learning via internships, professional requirements on beginning teachers and structures necessary to safeguard quality in teacher preparation and continuing education. In the 2003/04 school year, we have also introduced a school development and accountability framework embracing both schools’ self evaluation and external school reviews. This provides a clear agenda for schools’ continuous improvement with support from outside professionals.
Faced with the curriculum reform and learning diversity brought about by the introduction of Inclusive Education, we will continue to enhance school-based professional support to assist schools by drawing from tertiary and community partners both within and outside of
At this conference, we look forward to share with you some of our recent endeavours in enhancing teacher and principal professional development, mentoring support, school accountability and action research. Your advice and valuable insights in these very same issues will be most welcome. Let us engage in critical review of our own learning in different contexts and make this conference a rewarding experience for all participants.
Before closing, may I invite our guests and visitors to join us in celebrating the double happiness of the 20th anniversary of the Faculty of Education of the
May I wish the ICET World Assembly 2004 every success. Thank you.