Annual Hotung Lecture 2018
The Hong Kong Academy for Gifted Education (HKAGE)
7 December 2018 (Friday)
Speech by Ingrid YEUNG HO Poi-yan, JP
Permanent Secretary for Education
Dr (Rachel) Zorman, Mr (Fred) Lam, dear members of the Board of the Academy, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
I am very delighted to be here to join you at the opening ceremony of the Annual Hotung Lecture 2018.
2. We gather here today to exchange inspiring thoughts on the development of gifted students in the 21st century. Organised by the Hong Kong Academy for Gifted Education, the Annual Hotung Lecture is a signature event centering on gifted education. It serves as a useful platform for school leaders, teachers, professionals supporting gifted students and parents to learn from one another and promote best practices. Every year, renowned scholars and educators are invited to speak on the latest development in gifted education both within the region and worldwide. These speakers bring to us thought-provoking insights developed from research-based practices. This year, the theme is “21st Century Skills’ and Gifted Education”. To excel in this century one cannot be equipped with just one single ability but has to possess a diversity of knowledge, information, skills and competencies and, I must emphasise, a large measure of ethics when putting these knowledge, information, skills and competencies into practice. It is the shared mission of all educators to nurture gifted students as respectful global citizens and empathetic leaders of tomorrow.
3. The Government has been advocating the development of gifted education within and outside schools through the “Three-tier Implementation Model”. This Model aims at mobilising different stakeholders to address the learning needs of gifted students in a holistic manner. Strategically, gifted education is implemented with a multiple intelligence approach. We believe that every child has his own potential to be stretched. In this connection, the Education Bureau makes available well-structured online courses, face-to-face professional development activities and curriculum resources to promote gifted education. We recognize the vital role of the school in nurturing students, gifted ones not excepted. We share successful school-based practices in gifted education through teacher and school networks, so as to help teachers better support the growth of gifted students in both cognitive and affective dimensions. Working hand in hand with the school sector, we endeavour to foster the holistic development of gifted students through enriched classroom learning and pull-out gifted development programmes.
4. For exceptionally gifted students, out-of-school stimulations would go a long way to help them blossom. Since 2008, the Hong Kong Academy for Gifted Education has been providing challenging out-of-school learning programmes and activities for exceptionally gifted students at both primary and secondary levels. To help top-tier gifted students display their potential in prestigious international competitions, the Academy has been providing training to students, and the students have come out from these competitions with flying colours. The Academy is also running parent education programmes to help parents better support their gifted children. Supported by the Gifted Education Fund established by the Government in 2016, the Academy is now playing a complementary role as a subvented organisation to promote gifted education together with the Education Bureau. With a further injection of $800 million into the Gifted Education Fund approved by the Legislative Council this October, more investment income will be generated to support the development of gifted education in Hong Kong and the Academy will be able to enhance its services. In addition, the Advisory Committee on Gifted Education, which advises the Government on gifted education matters, will also examine the feasibility of enlisting other providers in Hong Kong to provide more quality learning programmes for gifted students.
5. Adam Grant, an American psychologist and author said, “The mark of education isn’t the knowledge you accumulate in your head. It’s the skills you gain about how to learn”. This is so true for the 21st century. In the InnoCarnival 2018 held in November, it was very encouraging for us to find a variety of STEM-related activities and the exhibition of many local innovations. Among the exhibits was an intelligence lift named “Smart Elevator”, which is designed to save energy and time by skipping unnecessary stops once full capacity has been reached. The energy- and time-saving mechanism operates according to the thermal distribution measured in terms of the number of passengers inside the lift. The student inventors of “Smart Elevator” won the champion in the Junior Division (Invention) of the Hong Kong Student Science Project Competition 2018. The invention was not simply the combination of students’ knowledge and skills; their sensitivity to environmental and social needs also played a significant part. It is encouraging to see our young people construct knowledge in response to the world’s changing needs. I think this is a good example of the 21st century skills that gifted students should be equipped with. In future, these gifted students will certainly become invaluable assets to our talent pool and will contribute to the competitiveness and advancement of Hong Kong in different ways.
6. Let me share with you the words of Liberty Hyde Bailey, a scientist in botany and horticulture: “A garden requires patient labour and attention. Plants do not grow merely to satisfy ambitions or to fulfil good intentions. They thrive because someone expended efforts on them.” The efforts we expend on our gifted students will one day give us a beautiful garden with plants and flowers and fruit that will bring much enrichment to our lives. Let us join efforts to bring out the best of these gifted students that we are endowed with. I wish today’s conference every success and all participants a very rewarding day from what Dr Zorman has to say to us and from all the activities today. Thank you very much.