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Selection of IT character input method


Date of Meeting: 14 June 2000

Asked by : Hon SIN Chung-kai

Replied by : SEM

Question :

Regarding the choice of Chinese character input methods, will the Government inform this Council whether :

  1. the Education Department has specified the Chinese character input method to be taught in information technology ("IT")-related subjects in primary and secondary schools; if so, of the specified input method and the rationale for the choice; if not, the reasons for that, and whether it knows what the input method taught in most schools is;

  2. it knows which Chinese character input method is most commonly taught in IT-related courses funded by the Employees Retraining Board and run by training providers; of the criteria adopted for choosing the input method to be taught; and whether different input methods are available for trainees to choose; and

  3. government departments have specified the Chinese character input method in which applicants should be well-versed in order to meet the entry requirements for vacancies requiring Chinese character input skills?


Madam President,

a. The Curriculum Development Council (CDC) issued a consultation document "Information Technology (IT) Learning Targets" in November 1999 for a two-month consultation. The Ad Hoc Committee on the Development of IT Learning Targets under CDC, members of which include school and teacher representatives, has recently revised the document taking into account views collected during the consultation exercise and will submit the revised document to CDC in late June this year for endorsement. If the document is endorsed, the Education Department (ED) will distribute it to schools in July and implement the IT learning targets in September this year.

According to the recommendations of the Ad Hoc Committee, one of the learning targets for primary one to three students is to use Chinese handwriting input method as it is easy to learn. As for primary four to six students, one of the learning targets is to use keyboards to input Chinese characters. At present, there are various types of Chinese character keyboard input methods. ED does not intend to specify one particular method to be taught in schools. This is because an input method is only a tool to enable students to key in Chinese characters, so as to facilitate their learning through the use of computers. This approach is supported by the Ad Hoc Committee on IT learning targets of CDC.

Based on ED's understanding from its regular school visits, for Chinese character keyboard input methods, most schools teach the "Quick" input method.
b. At present, some IT-related training courses funded by the Employees Retraining Board (ERB) teach the trainees how to input Chinese characters to computers. ERB courses are different from secondary and primary school curriculum. These courses are usually short-term and the main purpose is to teach skills which are required in real-life working environment, so that trainees can immediately join the labour market upon completion of training. Therefore, training bodies under ERB and employer representatives of its trade advisory groups will, based on the prevailing needs of the market, recommend the type of Chinese character input method to be taught. Both the training bodies and employer representatives consider that the "Chang-jie" input method is most commonly used in local workplace at the moment. Hence, "Chang-jie" input method is taught in the retraining programmes at present. ERB will consider teaching other input methods in the light of changing market needs.
c. There are certain grades in the civil service which require Chinese word processing skills, including the secretarial and calligraphist grades. However, these grades do not require candidates to possess the knowledge of any specific Chinese character input method as a condition of appointment. Instead, the required Chinese word processing speed (in terms of characters per minute) for entry, passage of probation or promotion will be specified. When candidates or staff concerned are required to be tested on their Chinese character input speed, they may choose any commonly used input methods they are familiar with.
Last revision date: 14 June 2000
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