Public Launch of Partners in Learning Programme
on Thursday, 24 June, 2004
by Professor Arthur K C Li, GBS, JP
Secretary for Education and Manpower, HKSAR
Mr Driftmier, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to be with you today on this very special occasion of the launch of the “Partners in Learning” programme.
In 1998, the Chief Executive announced in his Policy Address that Hong Kong should become a leader, not a follower, in information technology (IT). In the same year, the Government announced the first 5-year strategy on IT in education. The strategy marked the beginning of our efforts to integrate IT in learning and teaching, and was set to transform Hong Kong ’s school education from a teacher-centred approach to an interactive and learner-centred approach.
Five years down the road, we have seen major transformation taking place in the schools of Hong Kong . Today, each primary school in Hong Kong has on average some 90 computers, and secondary school, some 240 computers. All schools are connected via broadband to the Internet. All teachers have acquired at least the basic skills in IT and are using IT as a teaching tool. Students now surf the web extensively for project-based learning. Some students’ IT skills have surpassed those of their teachers and parents.
While the first 5-year strategy ended last year with success, to sustain the momentum, the Government released a consultation document three months ago on its vision on the next phase of IT in education strategy. We propose, amongst others, to capitalize on the good foundation laid in the first strategy to further enhance the integration of IT across the curriculum. We also put heavy emphasis on building partnership with the private sector and the school community, so as to pool the strengths from all quarters to fuel the impetus for bringing IT in education to new heights.
Today, I am glad to see the launch of the “Partners in Learning” programme, a key venture the Government partners with Microsoft Hong Kong Limited. This programme is vital in bringing the vision of public private partnership in the promotion of IT in education to reality.
Under the “Partners in Learning” programme, schools in Hong Kong will stand to benefit in the next five years from a wide range of IT-related programmes. Teachers will be further trained on the use of IT, and schools’ software will be upgraded to cater for today’s needs for learning and teaching. The components of the programme fit well into the goals that underpin the next phase of Hong Kong’s IT in education development, which include empowering learners and teachers with IT, enhancing school leadership, developing quality digital resources, improving schools’ IT infrastructure and pioneering innovative pedagogy.
Our Government shares Microsoft’s vision in its worldwide education programme as we have strong belief in the power of IT in changing the world of tomorrow. We believe that IT does not merely make learning more dynamic and creative, its power indeed penetrates into all aspects of our life, and will continue to drastically transform the world that our future generations will live in.
To support the partnership ventures with schools and the private sector, and various other measures in our new IT in education strategy, we are prepared to invest, in this financial year, millions of dollars in funding various initiatives. We will also explore other means to sustain the momentum of our ventures with the private sectors and organizations concerned.
Once again, I would like to thank Microsoft for its contribution to the education scene in Hong Kong . The “Partners in Learning” programme will be an essential model for similar ventures in the next phase of Hong Kong ’s IT in education development. And I wish the programme every success. I also wish everyone here a fruitful and informative afternoon.