Speech by Mr Raymond H C Wong, JP
Permanent Secretary for Education and Manpower
at the Grand Opening Ceremony of Creative Secondary School
on Saturday, 19 May 2007
Mr FONG, Mr CHEUNG, Distinguished Guests, Parents, Teachers and Students:
I am very honoured to be invited to celebrate this grand opening ceremony of Creative Secondary School .
Your School Sponsoring Body, the Creative Education Foundation Limited, has been providing education through the operation of Creative Primary School and its kindergarten for more than 20 years. You have gained the support and recognition of parents and the community. The Creative Secondary School will continue the School Sponsoring Body’s vision and mission in providing a student-centred learning environment. The opening today is an excellent example of the policy of the Government to foster the development of a vibrant Direct Subsidy Scheme (DSS) school sector to widen diversity and choice in our education system.
The name of the school, ‘Creative’, is well chosen given contemporary thinking about education and the premium being placed on creation and innovation in the development of Hong Kong, and Mainland China.
We all know the world has dramatically changed. The innovation of the world-wide web (WWW) occurred about October 1993. It is only 13 years old. Just a teenager. The Octopus (Smart) card started in 1997 to allow us to pay transport fares. Today, can we imagine our world without the Web or an Octopus Card?
Both the Web and the Octopus Card resulted from creation and innovation in the decades before. The spin-offs of each in just a few short years since have been dramatic.
More than 1.1 billion people over the world use the Internet. It has become indispensable in our daily life. With e-mail, you are able to send a letter or share files with friends and colleagues in seconds, anywhere in the world, including pictures, videos and sounds as well as words. No stamp necessary. By installing a video camera into your computer, you can chat face to face with overseas friends instantly. If you need some help with your homework, project, or plan a trip somewhere new, you would make use of the Internet to seek the required information. You can receive broadcasts on the Internet or play online games at your leisure.
Responding to these changes is a major challenge to our education systems, teachers and schools. We need to think about the way we prepare our young people for their future. The curriculum reform (including 334), acknowledges that there is as much happening across and between disciplines or learning domains, as it is happening inside them. For example the demands of sustainable development require economists and biologists to understand and work with each other.
Transmission of knowledge can no longer suffice as knowledge and access to it explodes exponentially. The curriculum reform puts equal value on knowledge, skills and values because we know our students will have to work across boundaries (both subjects and borders), be culturally sensitive, be team players and adaptable to new demands.
We know from various assessments (e.g. PISA ) that our students are among the best learners in the world. They excel in Maths and Science. Many are biliterate, a great strength here in HK, where we must look both north and west. These are the strengths from which we can develop our creative talents.
What then is creativity? Howard Gardner, who most of the teachers will know well, defined ‘creativity’ like this -
“It can be best described as the human capacity which can regularly solve problems or fashion products in a domain, in a way that is initially novel, but ultimately acceptable in a culture.”
Therefore the common feature of creativity is its application, its integration in our daily lives, its utility.
The Curriculum Development Institute has embedded the concept of creativity in all our curriculum guides and subjects as an important generic skill. Generally speaking, generic skills are fundamental to learning and are developed through the teaching and learning of the key learning areas and activities, such as in project learning, reading to learn, interactive learning on the Internet.
The question for all of us is :
How can creativity be nurtured?
Educational professionals here today will tell us creativity results from a complex interrelationship of cognitive skills and abilities, personality and motivation and the capacity of students in learning-to-learn.
It will be nurtured when we -
l ask students to go beyond given information
l give students time to think
l use strategies and thinking techniques which involve creation
l reward and value creative efforts
I am sure Creative Secondary School will line up to its name and nurture the creative talents of all its students with the concerted efforts of the School Sponsoring Body, School Management Committee, teachers and parents.
The Grand Opening Ceremony of Creative Secondary School today marks the commencement of new challenges to you all. Congratulations to all for the committed efforts in bringing your school into being. To everyone present today, I wish you every success, happiness and good health. Thank you.