Following is a question by the Hon Abraham Shek and a reply by the Secretary for Education and Manpower, Professor Arthur K C Li, in the Legislative Council today (March 12):
It has been reported that according to a survey, 20% of the respondents among the matriculation students chose "education" as one of the first three major subjects to study in university, and as high as 60% of the responding students who had poorer results in the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination ("HKCEE") made this choice. Regarding the quality of prospective teachers, will the Government inform this Council:
(a) how the freshmen in universities majoring in education compared to those majoring in other subjects in terms of their HKCEE results, in each of the past five years;
(b) if the comparison results indicate that the freshmen majoring in education have poorer HKCEE results, whether it has assessed the impact of this phenomenon on the quality of future teachers; if it has, of the results; if not, the reasons for that; and
(c) whether it has considered relaxing the present requirement that all newly inducted teachers must hold a degree, diploma or certificate in education so that non-education major graduates who have achieved excellent academic results in university can enter into the teaching profession directly; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
(a) As local universities generally make reference to the Hong Kong Advanced Level Examination (HKALE) rather than the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination (HKCEE) results in their enrolment exercises, it is more relevant to examine the HKALE results for the present purpose. On the basis that 5 marks will be awarded to a subject scoring A, 4 marks to a subject scoring B, and so on, education majors on average over the past five years scored 2.1, compared with an average score of 2.4 by other subject majors. Detailed average scores in each of the last five years are at Annex.(PDF format)
(b) It takes much more than academic attainment to make a good teacher. Those who are academically strong may not necessarily be good teachers. The education faculty of respective institutions will consider a host of factors in selecting their students. Academic achievements aside, they will consider the candidate's aptitude, personality, commitment, interpersonal skills, sense of mission in education etc. before offering him or her a place. In addition to a sound and broad knowledge base, prospective teachers must have a passion for students, the capacity to look after the all-round development of students, and interpersonal skills that would help them get along with students, parents and colleagues to transform schools into learning communities. Through teacher education programmes and continuing professional development, they still need to engage in continuous learning both in subject matter and in pedagogy so as to cope with the diverse learning needs of students.
Thus academic results of the education majors in HKCEE or HKALE alone could not adequately reflect the quality of the teaching profession. The Education and Manpower Bureau will work closely with the University Grants Committee to ensure that teacher education institutions will produce graduates with strong professional knowledge and ethics.
(c) To capture the best talents, the teaching profession must not be a closed system. Under the current legislation, university graduates without teacher training can enter the teaching force as permitted teachers. They should then pursue in-service teacher education to acquire their professional training. A salary bar will be imposed on these untrained teachers should they fail to complete their professional training within the first five years of their service.
To attract the best people into teaching, we must improve the image and social status of teachers. We should introduce enhancement measures to develop teachers into a professional force with dedication and sound knowledge in raising the quality of our students and in ensuring parent satisfaction. The Advisory Committee on Teacher Education and Qualifications (ACTEQ) is currently conducting a holistic review of teacher education and development with a view to advancing the professionalism of teachers. ACTEQ will present its recommendations to the Administration later in the year.
End/Wednesday, March 12, 2003