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Life Planning Education for Secondary Students: Strengthening Life Planning Education at Junior Secondary Levels

Brian Cheng
Principal Education Officer
 

     Hong Kong athletes’ remarkable achievements in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games have been exhilarating, instilling a sense of pride in everyone in the city. Success is not a coincidence. For these athletes, apart from hard work and appropriate training, getting to know their own interests and abilities and setting a clear goal according to their strengths are all the more important. With thorough long-term planning and preparation, they are most likely to stand out as the best.

     The Education Bureau (EDB) is fully aware of the importance of early life planning to every student. Over the years, we have been providing schools with support measures and additional resources, enhancing professional training for teachers, and developing online resources to facilitate the implementation of life planning education (LPE). With these, it is hoped that students will be able to give their all in different spheres and contribute to the community according to their interests, abilities and orientations.

Development of life planning education

     The objectives of LPE are enabling students’ self-understanding, personal planning, goal setting, as well as self-reflection and revision, and equipping students with the knowledge of various studies, career and training pathways, work ethics and the working world, thereby preparing them well for further studies or career pursuits. It is pleasing to learn that the implementation of LPE in local secondary schools has reaped initial success. Schools have established well-defined organisational structures and school-based policies and gained gradually the support of teachers, students and parents in the promotion of LPE.

Implementing life planning education at junior secondary levels

     In its report submitted in 2020, the Task Force on Review of School Curriculum has made a number of recommendations, among which is the proposal to commence LPE early at junior secondary levels. Having accepted the recommendations, the EDB is taking steps to put in place relevant measures, which include updating the Guide on Life Planning Education and Career Guidance for Secondary Schools (Guide) and the Information Note on the Framework of Implementation Strategies for Life Planning Education. The relevant circular is issued to schools today.

     Major revisions to the Guide include enrichment of the proposed expected learning outcomes and intervention activities in implementing LPE at junior and senior secondary levels. At junior secondary levels, schools may help students identify their interests and abilities, encourage them to set study goals, and guide them in connecting their career aptitudes with subject selection, thereby better equipping students for senior secondary education. At senior secondary levels, schools may help students reflect on and review their interests, abilities and aspirations for a better understanding of themselves, so that they would be able to set medium- and long-term goals for study or career development. Furthermore, schools may reinforce the connection between students’ career aptitudes and subject selection, enabling students’ smooth transition from secondary education to employment. This can be achieved through schools’ adoption of different intervention modes and conduct of activities, which include LPE lessons, class teacher periods or incorporation of LPE into different subject classes; career talks, workplace visits, work experience activities; life planning guidance and counselling services on individual and group basis; promotion of information and resource platforms on further studies, training and occupation, as well as tools for career aptitude assessment.

     Furthermore, exemplars of strategies for implementing LPE at junior and senior secondary levels have been enriched. For example, schools may help students set goals through participation in life planning camps or life education activities, and enhance their self-understanding through preparation of student learning profiles and individual portfolios. The Guide also provides a checklist for implementation of strategies to assist schools in reviewing their school-based LPE from different perspectives.

     Besides, the updated Guide outlines the support measures for schools, students and parents, including the Life Planning Information website and “My Life Planning Portfolio” online learning system, the “Business-School Partnership Programme” (BSPP) and career exploration activities for parents. In addition, there are new reference materials on assessment tools/methods, including questionnaire/survey on students’ feedback on participation in activities and statistical survey on Secondary 6 graduates’ pathways.

     Briefing sessions will be held in October to help teachers get a better grasp of the updated Guide and learn about the importance of implementing LPE at junior secondary levels. To better equip teachers with the knowledge necessary for implementing LPE at junior secondary levels, we will enrich the structured training programmes on LPE with relevant strategies and good practices, including the provision of LPE that can bridge between junior and senior secondary learning stages, as well as information and resource management.

     Moreover, the Information Note on the Framework of Implementation Strategies for Life Planning Education, a supplementary document of the Guide, has been updated as well. Details are available on the EDB’s Life Planning Information website (https://lifeplanning.edb.gov.hk/en/school-administration/guide.html).

Supporting students in life planning with concerted efforts

     Schools are encouraged to actively gather and consolidate their valuable experience in implementing LPE at senior secondary levels for the sake of developing and promoting LPE at junior secondary levels. This is conducive to the development of structured and coherent programmes for future implementation of school-based LPE at both junior and senior secondary levels.

     Building on the experience in implementing LPE over the past few years, we will maintain cooperation with different sectors in helping students make life planning in the following directions:

Strengthening business-school partnership

     Engaging different business entities and community organisations under BSPP, we will provide students with diversified career exploration activities to help them gain an understanding of different trades, enhance generic skills and develop a right and positive work attitude for future career pursuits. Since the introduction of LPE, over 6 500 career exploration activities covering more than 30 trades have been held under BSPP, with a student attendance exceeding 1.18 million.

Enhancing parent education

    
To encourage parents to support children in making life planning according to their own interests, abilities and orientations, and assist parents in making proper life planning together with their children, we will enhance public and parent education through various channels, such as the launch of videos and mini movies and the use of other media, to drive home the message that “Every trade has its masters”.

Enriching online resources

     The EDB enriched the Life Planning Information website with “My Life Planning Portfolio” online learning system last month. With this addition comes the new functions of enabling users to undergo career aptitude assessments and prepare learning portfolios. The website provides teachers, students and parents with detailed and comprehensive information on life planning and multiple pathways.

     To assist students in coping with the transition from school to workplace and making necessary adaptations, we will collaborate with stakeholders on an ongoing basis and fine-tune our approach to align with the times and social developments, with the ultimate goal of helping students unleash potential in their future positions.

Students can gain an understanding of different trades through taking part in the career exploration activities of the Business-School Partnership Programme.
 



7 September 2021