Speech by Mrs Fanny Law, GBS, JP
Permanent Secretary for Education and Manpower
at the First Graduation Ceremony of Primary 6 Students
at the Academic Community Hall, Baptist University
on Wednesday, 12 July 2006
Professor Spinks, Mr Wong, Principal Chan, Honourable Guests, Parents, Teachers and Students,
I am delighted to join you at the first graduation ceremony of the HKUGA Primary School . Founded in 2001, the school is among the first group of schools established after the education reform was officially launched in October 2000. Under the visionary leadership of the founding principal, Ms Gloria Leung, the school has risen to fame within a short time. Today, it is one of the most popular primary schools in Hong Kong with a long list of admirers.
Since its establishment, the school has made continuous efforts to realize its vision and mission of nurturing “lively, inquiring, discerning and creative students”. Appropriate measures have been put in place to develop an innovative and balanced curriculum, and a professional learning community among teachers. The school rightly attaches importance to the pursuit of personal growth, aesthetic appreciation, a positive outlook and appreciation for others as the priority.
Indeed, primary education is the foundation years during which students should develop good study habits, moral values, reflective ability, self-discipline, and the basic learning skills, i.e. literacy, numeracy, thinking and IT skills. They should learn to respect others, and take responsibility for their own learning. These attributes are far more important than scoring a few more points in school examinations. Now that the HKUGA has provided a “through train” to secondary education for students from the primary school, there is more scope for whole-person development to prepare students better for secondary education where there is much more substantive learning of subject matters and higher demand on critical thinking ability.
In my many encounters with your students, I witness in them the joy of learning and excitement of exploring new things. I am glad to see the vision of the education reform being realized in HKUGA Primary School where students are nurtured to be self-directed learners who enjoy learning, where students have the space and freedom to develop their individual interests and potentials, where teachers take pride in and derive satisfaction from teaching, and where parents are supportive of the school and respectful to teachers.
Dear students, you are the first group to graduate from this school. I am glad to see that you have realized your Headmistress’s projected images of you four years ago, i.e. a group of confident youngsters, independent learners and problem-solvers.
May I take this opportunity to share with you a 14th Century story of “Robert Bruce and the Spider”. The tale sets its scene on an island when Robert Bruce, the Scottish leader, was in exile. He was disappointed that his last castle had been taken over by the English, his wife imprisoned and his brother killed. When lying on bed, trying to see if he should give up all attempts to restore freedom to Scotland , he noticed a spider hanging from the roof of the cabin on a long thread. The spider was trying to swing itself from one roof beam to another, to secure the thread for spinning its web. On the spider’s sixth unsuccessful attempt, Bruce had a comparison with his own situation: he had fought six battles against the English without success. Despite repeated failures, the spider continued, inspiring Bruce to his subsequent victories in Scotland . This is an example of perseverance that I would like to share with you.
Graduates, while I congratulate you for your achievements, I wish that you would continue to try your very best in learning with perseverance, commitment and enjoyment.