Following is a question by Ir Dr the Hon Ho Chung-tai and a written reply by the Secretary for Education and Manpower, Professor Arthur K C Li, in the Legislative Council today (June 25):
Regarding general health and hygiene knowledge among the public and students, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) of the channels for enhancing the public's general health and hygiene knowledge before the local outbreak of atypical pneumonia in March this year, and the details of these channels;
(2) whether health education is included as a subject in the primary school curriculum at all levels; if so, of the areas covered by the subject for each level; and
(3) whether junior secondary students are required to study the health education subject under the current curriculum design, if not, of the ways to enhance their general knowledge of health and hygiene?
Madam President :
(1) All along, the Department of Health has been disseminating health information to the public via the mass media, including television, radio and the press; in the form of printed materials (e.g. pamphlets and posters), audio and video tapes/CDs; on the internet; through the 24 hour health education hotline; as well as health talks and health exhibitions held regularly at various locations throughout Hong Kong.
(2) Developing a healthy lifestyle is one of the seven learning goals of the current curriculum reform. In this regard, elements of health education are included in the curriculum of different subjects at different levels. In primary schools, health education has been given a greater emphasis in the subjects of General Studies (GS) and Physical Education (PE) at all levels.
(a) One of the aims of the GS curriculum is to enable students to maintain healthy personal development to help them develop a healthy lifestyle. Through the study of GS, students can acquire some basic understanding of the physical, psychological and social aspects of health, possess a positive attitude towards their personal growth and development, and make informed decisions related to their health and safety. Core elements of "Health and Living" include: 'Different Stages of Human Growth and Development', 'Simple Personal and Environmental Hygiene Practices', 'Nutrition and Balanced Diet to Personal Development', 'Emotions and Ways to Express Them', 'Major Causes and Prevention of Common Diseases', etc.
(b) PE is "to educate students through physical activities". It aims to develop students' physical competence and knowledge of movement and safety, and their ability to use these to perform in a wide range of activities associated with the development of an active and healthy lifestyle. The present PE Curriculum has been transformed from being competitive and physical training-oriented to one that focuses on nurturing students with a positive, active and healthy lifestyle. Elements relevant to health education in the PE curriculum include 'Health Benefits of Physical Activities', 'Identifying the Effects of Smoking and Alcohol Consumption on the Performance in Physical Activity and Health', 'Observe Safety Precautions in Physical Activities', etc.
(3) At the junior secondary level, health education is part of the essential content for learning in the Personal, Social and Humanities Education Key Learning Area (PSHE KLA), and it includes topics like "A Healthy Lifestyle", Health Problems of Local Teenagers", "Stress and its Management", etc. The PSHE KLA provides an open and flexible curriculum framework for schools to deliver the essential content for learning. For example, health education may be provided through related subjects in the PSHE KLA, school-based life skill lessons or class teacher's periods. The aim is to help students achieve general knowledge as well as understand the most current issues related to health and hygiene. In addition, students could acquire relevant knowledge and develop related attitude and habits, through various topics and elements in Science, Physical Education and Home Economics. Topics include: Healthy Body, Environmental Awareness, Fitness and Health, Exercise Physiology, Body Composition and Weight Control, Good Eating Habits, Nutritional Disorder, Health Responsibility, Personal Cleanliness, Care and Cleaning of Home Environment, etc.
Apart from acquiring knowledge for developing a healthy lifestyle through the above studies, students will also benefit from moral and civic education which aims at developing their positive value and attitude. Ample opportunities are provided through moral and civic education, which emphasizes using students' daily experience as learning context in developing personal commitment and civic responsibility to personal and environmental hygiene. Value and concepts relating to health and hygiene are promoted through various life events grouped under topics such as, Personal Development and Healthy Living, Family Life, School Life, Social Life, Life at Work and Life in the Community. In addition, the Education and Manpower Bureau (EMB) also collaborates with key players to conduct school health education programmes for students to develop a healthy lifestyle. One example is "The Hong Kong Healthy School Award Scheme" which is jointly organized by the Chinese University of Hong Kong, the World Health Organization, and EMB.
End/Wednesday, June 25, 2003