Talking about Life Planning Education (LPE), many people mistakenly equate it with career guidance, and consider it exclusive to senior form students. It is indeed too narrow-minded to think that way. In fact, LPE is considered as an ongoing and lifelong process for students’ personal fulfillment, with different foci at different stages of lifetime. You may have heard of cases about primary and secondary students’ lack of self-care skills, a sense of responsibility and the proper attitudes towards others, or about school graduates’ puzzlement over their study and career pathways. It is therefore apparent that schools’ gradual implementation of LPE in light of students’ age, aptitude and needs at different learning stages is essential to equipping and preparing students for whole-person development.
Trend of Introducing Life Planning Education at Primary Level
In recent years, many local and overseas scholars have recommended the implementation of LPE curriculum at primary level. In the report submitted last year, the Task Force on Review of School Curriculum also recommended that LPE should be introduced at upper primary and junior secondary levels, in order to help young students better understand their own aspirations, needs, interests and abilities, and develop a broader view of future pathways and occupations, thereby nurturing in them positive attitudes towards learning and life. In view of this, the Education Bureau (EDB) has recently devised the Framework of Implementation Strategies on Life Planning Education for Primary Schools (Framework) with the provision of teaching and learning resources, and will enhance professional training for teachers so that schools are better supported in implementing LPE at upper primary level from this school year onwards. Accordingly, students will be given the opportunity to experience and explore such a key subject as early as in Primary Four.
In the next three school years (i.e. from 2021/22 to 2023/24), schools are expected to, having regard to their school-based circumstances and needs, progressively draw up specific details, implementation strategies and a timetable of school-based LPE in accordance with the requirements stipulated under the Framework and implement LPE across all upper primary levels by the 2024/25 school year.
Framework of Implementation Strategies on Life Planning Education for Primary Schools
In addition to enriching the contents of Personal Growth Education (PGE) at upper primary level, the Framework prepared by the EDB for schools outlines the core elements to be covered in implementing LPE and the recommended implementation strategies. The three core elements to be incorporated into the learning contents are: (1) “self-understanding and development”, through which students can understand themselves and the external influences on life planning; (2) “study pathways/career exploration”, through which students can explore the opportunities, constraints and options available for study and career development; and (3) “planning and management of further studies”, with which students are assisted to plan and make choices about further study, work out the implementation plan and put it into practice. Of the three core elements, “self-understanding and development” should receive the greatest emphasis.
Provision of Teaching and Learning Resources and Implementation Strategies
The EDB has compiled related teaching and learning resources, now available on the EDB’s thematic website on “Life Planning Education for Primary Schools”, for school personnel’s reference.
With regard to the use of strategy, schools should build on the existing PGE, and enrich its contents with reference to the above three core elements by capitalising on the platform of PGE lessons. Schools may also review and consolidate subject-related or cross-curricula teaching contents and activities for the delivery of LPE at primary level. Since LPE for primary schools has been included in the contents of PGE, schools may consider assigning school personnel tasked with planning and implementing PGE as coordinators to oversee the planning and implementation of LPE for primary schools.
Enhancing Professional Training
To ensure that teachers understand the newly developed LPE framework and learning focuses for primary schools as well as the education strategies involved, the EDB will organise briefing sessions from October to November. Schools are welcome to nominate their teachers to attend. Post-secondary institutions will also be commissioned to organise professional training programmes for teachers or student guidance personnel in order to enhance their professional capabilities in implementing LPE. In addition, we will organise seminars to share with schools the experience and insights in implementing LPE at primary level.
Helping Parents Understand Life Planning Education
To help parents of upper primary students understand LPE, schools may give them an overview of LPE through various channels, such as newsletters to parents, parent-teacher association activities and parent education talks. Schools may also encourage parents to visit the EDB’s Life Planning Information website (https://lifeplanning.edb.gov.hk/en/index.html) and participate with their children in career exploration activities via the EDB’s Business-School Partnership Programme in order to gain a deeper understanding of LPE.
The successful implementation of LPE for primary schools hinges on the support from schools, teachers and parents. I strongly believe that with the collaborative effort of different parties, students will receive proper guidance and equip themselves well for fulfilling their dreams and giving full play to their abilities in different capacities in future.
14 September 2021