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Hong Kong Principals’ Forum 2023

Dr Choi Yuk-lin, JP, Secretary for Education
Speech by Dr Choi Yuk-lin, JP
Secretary for Education
at Hong Kong Principals’ Forum 2023
12 December 2023 (Tuesday)

 

Ms So (CEO of South China Morning Post, Ms Catherine So), distinguished guests, principals, ladies and gentlemen,

 

           Good morning.  It gives me great pleasure to join you all once again for the Hong Kong Principals’ Forum.  It is hard to believe that a year has already passed since we last gathered at the inaugural Forum.  First of all, I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation to the South China Morning Post (SCMP) for hosting this inspiring event again this year.  The Forum is an important platform for professional interactions among secondary school principals, business leaders and tech entrepreneurs.  Not only does it facilitate exchange of knowledge and discussion on the future of Hong Kong’s education, but it also features our fellow educators’ unwavering commitment to fostering collaboration and innovation in education.  

 

           In the age of rapid evolution and technological advancement, AI technology continues to transform the world we live in at a remarkable pace, bringing positive impacts across sectors and industries.  From personal entertainment, healthcare to national financial systems, AI is revolutionising our lifestyles and work processes, ushering in a new era of innovation and efficiency.  In the realm of education, AI is undoubtedly a powerful tool that has the potential to reshape the learning and teaching landscape.  It also brings about abundant opportunities for students, educators, and the entire educational ecosystem to thrive and shine.

 

           The AI-powered adaptive learning platform, for example, is well-known for its remarkable strength in facilitating personalised learning.  It enables students of varied academic abilities to learn at their own pace by adjusting content and pacing to suit individual learning needs.  Through the use of AI, student data, including learning patterns, strengths, weaknesses, and compatibility with instructional materials, can be collected and analysed.  These data will provide useful reference for both teachers and students.  Teachers can leverage feedback and AI algorithms to customise educational contents and resources according to each student’s unique needs and abilities.  At the same time, individual students can benefit from the targeted support and guidance generated by AI in real time, enabling them to enhance their learning experience through self-reflection and self-correction.  Furthermore, schools can also make use of AI to enhance administrative efficiency by automating and monitoring administrative tasks.  This automation allows teachers to focus more on teaching, which in turn will bring benefits to students.  

 

           While the new era of AI may carry plenty of promises, it also brings forth numerous challenges.  One prominent concern is the possible use of generative AI by students to complete homework assignments.  This raises issues of academic dishonesty, plagiarism, and excessive dependence that can undermine their learning process, critical thinking abilities and the development of essential skills.  To protect mentally and psychologically immature children from potential negative influences, it is crucial for the education sector to approach the matter with caution.

 

           When considering whether and how to use AI to support teaching in schools, it is essential for teachers to exercise professional judgement and ensure that the pedagogical approaches adopted, and the learning and teaching materials prepared align with curriculum aims and objectives while meeting the abilities and learning needs of their students.  Teachers must also ensure that there are no negative impacts imposed by any application of educational technology on the development of students’ thinking skills and construction of knowledge base, as well as the nurturing of learning interests, attitudes and habits.  

 

           To support teachers in adapting to the transformative impact of AI in education, the Education Bureau has been organising an array of training programmes for school leaders and teachers.  These programmes cover diversified topics, such as the development of AI for knowledge enrichment, the strategic planning of AI in education from a school leader’s perspective, and the use of different generative AI tools in enhancing learning and teaching effectiveness.  By equipping teachers with essential knowledge and skills, we aim to empower them to leverage the opportunities presented by AI in education.  Meanwhile, we will actively promote and facilitate the sharing of experiences and good practices in AI in education through our IT in Education Centre of Excellence.  We will also provide advice for schools to assist them in developing customised plans for implementing AI that align with their educational goals and priorities.

 

           While it is imperative to guide students to make good use of innovation and technology, including AI tools, it is equally important to teach them about the ethics of technology.  To this end, the Education Bureau announced last year an updated learning framework of Information Literacy for Hong Kong Students.  The framework incorporates ethical issues arising from the application of innovation and technology, such as those related to AI bias, deepfakes and moral reasoning by AI machines or AI chatbots.  The objective is to enhance students’ media and information literacy, empowering them to navigate the ethical challenges presented by innovation and technology.  This, in turn, will equip students with the necessary skills for the ethical and effective use of information and IT tools.

 

           Ladies and gentlemen, may I count on your continued support and work with us to prepare our students to meet the challenges in the digital age by embracing AI in education, empowering them with enhanced knowledge, correct values and thinking skills. On this encouraging note, I would like to extend my gratitude once again to the SCMP for organising this meaningful event.  I am confident that we will inspire new ideas, foster co-operation, and explore innovative approaches to education in the Forum today.  Let us seize this opportunity to share, to learn, and to open up endless possibilities together.  Thank you.