Following is a question by the Hon Frederick Fung and a written reply by the Secretary for Education and Manpower, Professor Arthur K C Li, in the Legislative Council today (June 25):
The Fung Hon Chu Gifted Education Centre established by the Education Department ceased to enroll gifted students in early 2000. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council of:
(1) the criteria for assessing gifted students; the number of children assessed to be gifted students in each of the past three years and its percentage in all children of school age in the territory?
(2) the current policies and measures for understanding the educational and emotional needs of gifted students and for helping them in respect of such needs; the amount of money spent on implementing these policies and measures in each of the past three years; how these expenses compare to the expenses on gifted education in other territories?
(1) At present, the Education and Manpower Bureau (EMB) does not provide specific service to assess a student's giftedness. The Psychological Services Section of the then Education Department adopted the standardized intelligence quotient (IQ) tests and made referrals of gifted students who were assessed to have IQ over 130 and concurrently also exhibited learning, behavioural or emotional problems to the Fung Hon Chu Gifted Education Centre where centre-based enrichment programmes were offered. In early 2000, there were about 1,300 primary and secondary students so referred, which was equivalent to about 0.14% of the student population. Currently, the education sector generally adopts a broad definition of giftedness, using multiple criteria. Therefore, with the introduction of the gifted education policy in Hong Kong, the aforementioned referral practice has ceased to operate since early 2000. The policy, which clearly lays down the school-based approach to nurturing gifted students, has abandoned the Psychological Services Section's unitary approach to assessing only the students' intellectual abilities, in favour of identification of multiple intelligence through multiple methods. Gifted students may demonstrate talents in different areas. For instance, some gifted students have high IQ scores, others may be gifted academically, or in leadership, art or sports. Thus, gifted students are best identified using multiple methods, such as student performance, behavioral checklists, teacher/parent/peer/self nomination, student portfolios, standardized tests, etc.
The current gifted education policy adopts a 3-tier implementation model. The first two levels encourage high ability and gifted students to be nurtured through school-based programmes, while the third level provides off-site support to exceptionally gifted students. Since schools select their own students at the first two levels, EMB therefore does not have the exact number of these gifted students in Hong Kong. Meanwhile, the Fung Hon Chu Gifted Education Centre still provides enrichment programmes to the 1,100 gifted students formerly referred who are now still attending primary and secondary schools. As for Level 3, EMB has at present 2,050 S.3 !V S.6 students nominated by schools in the "Support Measures for the Exceptionally Gifted Students Scheme", which is about 0.77% of the students in that age group. Due to resource constraint, the Scheme cannot allow students below S3 to participate for the time being.
(2) Based on the 3-tier implementation model mentioned above, the support measures of EMB in relation to the educational and affective needs of gifted students are as follows:
Levels 1 & 2: School-based development programmes
* providing support to schools through the "Cluster School Gifted Project" and the "Seed Project" in implementing school-based gifted programmes to promote gifted education
* organizing teacher training in gifted education
* providing teacher training packages for schools' reference
* developing web-based curriculum resources for schools' reference
* providing enrichment programmes to those gifted students with learning, behavioural and emotional problems at the Fung Hon Chu Gifted Education Centre.
The cost for running the above measures in the past three years was $8,821,000 - excluding staff cost of the Fung Hon Chu Gifted Education Centre. Details are in Appendix I.(PDF format)
Level 3: Offsite support measures
* providing enrichment programmes for exceptionally gifted students
* organizing training programmes for teachers and parents of exceptionally gifted students
The cost for running the above measures in the past three years was $3,159,000 - excluding staff cost of the Fung Hon Chu Gifted Education Centre. Details are in Appendix II.(PDF format)
Moreover, schools can also use the Capacity Enhancement Grant to provide suitable programmes to cater for the educational and affective needs of their gifted students.
Since gifted education policies covering mode of financing, student population to be covered, enrichment programmes to be arranged, etc., differ from one territory to the others, it is therefore difficult to compare the expenses on gifted education in Hong Kong with those of other territories.
End/Wednesday, June 25, 2003