Professor Arthur K C Li Secretary for Education and Manpower Speech at Ying Wah College and Ying Wa Primary School Opening Ceremony
11 November 2003
The Rev. Kwan, the Rev. Wu, Mr Lee, Ms Kan, Mr Yeung, teachers and students of Ying Wa, ladies and gentlemen, It gives me much pleasure to join you today in celebration of the opening of both Ying Wa College and Ying Wa Primary School. I also wish to extend my warmest congratulations to all of you on the 185th anniversary of Ying Wa College.
Hong Kong and indeed the world have changed a lot in 185 years. But from the day William Farquhar, the then British Resident of Malacca, laid the foundation stone of the first school building back in 1818, Ying Wa College has adhered to its conviction that western and eastern educators should work together to deliver quality education for the young people of Hong Kong. Formerly known as “The Anglo-Chinese College”, Ying Wa has thrived on the vision of its founding fathers and the good work of generations of devoted principals and teachers, whose educational approach is particularly apt for Hong Kong --- a place where East meets West, and where a healthy synergy between the two brings out the best of both worlds. Indeed, thousands of local youths have passed through its gates and benefited from its excellent care and nurture in 185 years. Among them many are outstanding leaders of our community today.
Not only is Ying Wa justly proud of its glorious tradition, it has shown itself to be fully ready to embrace change and to squarely face the challenges of the times. Fully convinced that education is far more than the transmission of knowledge, the school vows to cultivate well-rounded students who understand the values of our society, who have an inquiring mind, and who know how to educate themselves throughout life. It is no mere coincidence that the school expects its students to enjoy learning, to be effective in communication, to be creative, and to develop a sense of commitment. All these, incidentally, are very much the same qualities that we persistently emphasize in our education reforms.
I am particularly pleased to see that Ying Wa has decided to join 31 other schools in pioneering the “through-train” mode in the delivery of its educational services. The through-train mode is part of our reform efforts to strengthen the continuity of schooling by encouraging primary and secondary schools of like aspirations and mission to form partnerships and alliances, so that students can be promoted straight from Primary 6 in one school to Secondary 1 in the other without having to go through the Secondary School Places Allocation System. It will be much easier for these students to adapt to secondary schooling as they will find themselves in a learning environment they are fully familiar with.
Here on this same campus, we now find both Ying Wa College and Ying Wa Primary School. The two of them share not only the same educational ideals and pedagogical approaches, but also the use of advanced educational facilities. I am most appreciative of the contribution made by the alumni of Ying Wa and the Hong Kong Council of the Church of Christ in China, the school sponsoring body, to top up government funding for the school project. Through their generosity, both institutions can enjoy access to better facilities, and economy of scale can be achieved in their usage.
The software to go with all this includes a curriculum team, whose members are drawn from both schools. They are tasked with the design, implementation, and evaluation of a curriculum for both the primary and secondary sections of Ying Wa. The objective is to achieve coherence and better interface, especially between the upper primary and junior secondary levels. Rev. Wu himself, as the supervisor of both schools, is of course the chief architect of this exciting collaborative project.
With the “through-train” mode in operation, we can foresee students enjoying the benefits of an uninterrupted learning process throughout their primary and secondary schooling. Key educational tasks and initiatives started at the primary school level will find resonance and consolidation in the curriculum and programmes of the secondary school. Senior students may serve as role models for junior ones and lead them in developing long-term interests in sports, music, and a host of other extracurricular activities.
Henry Ford once said, “Coming together is beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success”. Let it be so for the two Ying Wa schools.
Today, we have the privilege of attending the official opening of the two schools. Today we witness an auspicious beginning. I feel most honoured to have been invited to speak to you this afternoon, and I am confident that through the concerted efforts of enlightened school managers, dedicated teachers, supportive parents, and hardworking students, Ying Wa will overcome any obstacles along the path of education reform, and reap fruitful results as it journeys forward. I am also confident that the spirit of Ying Wa will find even greater manifestation in this new setting and will continue to guide your steps, as it has done so over the last 185 years.
I am very happy to be here to share with you your joy and pride on this very special occasion. I wish all of you good health and happiness.