Measures for helping parents to appreciate parental responsibilities and acquire the skills in communicating with their children
Asked by : Hon Mrs Sophie LEUNG
Replied by : SEM
Will the Government inform this Council of the measures for helping parents to appreciate parental responsibilities and acquire the skills in communicating with their children, so that they can give their children proper guidance in their physical and psychological development as well as create harmonious homes?
Government provides parent education through a variety of channels, including the Education Department (ED), the Social Welfare Department (SWD), the Department of Health (DH), and subvented non-governmental organisations (NGOs). The emphasis of the programmes delivered may vary depending on the needs of the target group.
(a) Education Department
ED organises a wide range of parent education activities with emphasis on raising parents' awareness of their role in the education process, and helping parents understand how they could work in partnership with schools in their children's education. NGOs are commissioned by ED to organise courses to teach parents how to participate meaningfully at different stages of their children's schooling. The Department also publishes from time to time leaflets, brochures and other promotional materials on relevant topics. In addition, the Radio Television Hong Kong has been commissioned to produce a series of education television programmes in relation to parent education. At the school level, student guidance officers and student guidance teachers in primary schools, and school social workers in secondary schools play an active part in promoting parent education through, for example, seminars and talks.
In addition, a Committee on Home-School Co-operation (CHSC) with members drawn from parent representatives and educators, was set up under ED in 1993. Since its establishment, CHSC has been playing an active role in promoting better home-school co-operation through, for example, publishing brochures on parenting skills and school profiles, and producing television programmes on effective communication with children.
(b) Social Welfare Department
SWD and subvented NGOs have been promoting parent education under their family life education programmes, with emphasis on equipping parents with the necessary skills in raising children, and helping parents understand the importance of a harmonious family life. Examples of these programmes include workshops and talks on communication skills with children, supportive groups for parents to share experiences, and a website on parent education. In addition, SWD and its subvented NGOs provide counselling and support services for parents who have problems in parent-child relations. The Department will further strengthen its support in the coming year by organising tailor-made courses for "high-risk" parents, such as low-income groups, single parents and new arrivals.
(c) Department of Health
DH has also been conducting parent education programmes. Their focus is to help parents understand their role in the physical, mental and intellectual development of children at different stages. Examples of DH's programmes include classes for pregnant mothers on children's physical and mental health, and talks on early childhood and communication skills with children.
(d) Co-operation amongst departments and NGOs
To further strengthen parent education, the Chief Executive announced in his 2000 Policy Address that $50 million will be set aside for this purpose. A Steering Committee on Parent Education involving all relevant departments and stakeholders has been set up to formulate an overall strategy on parent education, and to consider how funds may best be used and how existing programmes can be better coordinated. Special efforts will focus on new arrival parents and parents of pre-primary school children. For example, ED, SWD and DH are now working together to produce reference materials featuring children's physical, mental and intellectual development for parents and child care workers.