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Speech at the seminar of “Data Speaks: Things We Learn to Build Better Schools” by Faculty of Education, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Speech by Mrs Marion LAI, JP, Permanent Secretary for Education, at
the seminar of “Data Speaks: Things We Learn to Build Better Schools” by
Faculty of Education, The Chinese University of Hong Kong on
17 June 2017 (Saturday)



Mr (Andreas) Schleicher, Professor Hau, Professor Leung, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,


   Good morning.  It is my great pleasure to join all of you today on this big event.  First of all, may I extend, on behalf of the Education Bureau, our heartfelt gratitude to the Faculty of Education of the Chinese University of Hong Kong for organising this seminar, which provides a wonderful opportunity for experts, academics and stakeholders of the education sector to share experience and exchange views on how to build better schools.


2.   Also, it is a great honour to have Mr Andreas Schleicher with us today.  Andreas is Director for the Directorate of Education and Skills, and Special Advisor on Education Policy to the Secretary-General at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, or OECD, in Paris.  Andreas specifically oversees PISA, the Programme for International Student Assessment.  Over the years, Andreas has been busily engaged in visiting countries and regions participating in PISA, so as to learn more about their practices and concerns and advise them how to make good use of the PISA findings to better inform policy-making.  Andreas, thank you so much for joining us today.


3.   Hong Kong has participated in PISA and other large-scale international research studies for some 20 years.  Our students have performed well all along.  Recent findings also indicate that compared with other participating countries and regions, our students’ performance is only slightly affected by their socio-economic status.  This, to a considerable extent, suggests that we have done a good job in ensuring that our young ones have equal access to quality education.


4.   That said, we know there is always room for enhancement in education.  It is indeed a global trend to make use of international research data in developing policy and making improvements to schools.  As we study the data more closely, we are able to gain valuable insights as to how to better equip our students and refine our education system.  Schools may also make reference to the research findings to acquire a deeper understanding of the learning effectiveness of their students, say, how contextual factors affect students’ learning, including their motivation and enjoyment in learning.  Unquestionably, such data not only show how well we perform, but also have considerable importance to the development of our education policies.


5.   Meanwhile, OECD encourages participating countries and regions to undertake secondary studies based on the data collected for the benefit of the local education system.  For example, we may evaluate and improve teaching and learning in schools through triangulation with international research and students’ learning effectiveness at different stages.  Longitudinal studies may also be considered to perform a more in-depth analysis of students’ development in reading and mathematics and science learning, and to look into factors that may have implications for learning, such as the interest of students, family support and learning environment.  I am sure that such efforts will provide significant inputs, enabling us to formulate more effective policies and render better support to schools and students.


6.   At the same time, data privacy of students and schools is always our primary concern.  We have no intention of monitoring the performance of individual schools or students by means of such studies.  Data collected on a sampling basis at an interval of three to five years only serve as an indicator of the overall situation in Hong Kong.  Such findings form the basis on which we may carry out a more comprehensive analysis for refining our policies and measures and further enhancing our education system.


7.   Providing quality education is our common vision.  We are so grateful for this meaningful event for us to share and learn.  Let’s continue working together and striving for excellence.  Finally, may I wish this seminar every success and all of you a fruitful and rewarding day.  Thank you.


Last revision date: 17 June 2017
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