[Archive] Education Commission Report No.7 Quality School Education - FOREWORD
Since its inception in 1984, the Education Commission (EC) has published six reports on a number of important educational issues ranging from the school place allocation system to language proficiency. During this period, we have gone through significant social, economic and political changes. Many of these changes have prompted a move from meeting quantitative targets to striving for qualitative improvement. With the public's legitimate demand for a more open and accountable government, and with about 90% of our schools being funded by public money, the school system is also expected to be more open and accountable.
EC recognised that such changes and expectations present some of the most challenging opportunities to our school system and the key players within it. In keeping with world trends, it started looking more closely at the question of quality in education in October 1993 when it set up a Working Group on Educational Standards and a Working Group on School Funding. In December 1994, the report of the Working Group on Educational Standards was published. The attempt by the Working Groups to address the quality issues was welcomed by the public. Since then, both EC and the then Education and Manpower Branch have been studying the related issues of school quality and school funding.
In April 1996, EC set up a Task Group on School Quality and School Funding (the Task Group) to make recommendations which would form the basis of its next report : the Education Commission Report No. 7 (ECR7) on Quality School Education. In order to address the genuine concern of the community, the Task Group conducted a six-week consultation exercise in June 1996 to seek public views on the broad principles regarding quality and funding issues. EC consulted the public again for two months in November 1996 regarding detailed proposals to improve school performance and school management.
The views received were indicative of the genuine concern of the community over the need for quality school education and quality front-line educators. Taking into account the public feedback, EC finalised its recommendations now contained in this report No.7. The recommendations have been made with a view to enhancing the community’s appreciation of the need for quality school education; inculcating a quality culture in the school system; providing a practical framework for key players in the school system to achieve the aims of education in an efficient, cost-effective and accountable manner; presenting an integrated strategy for quality assurance and development; providing incentives for quality performance; assisting under-performing schools; and outlining a framework for raising the professional standards of principals and teachers and enhancing their professional education and development.
To me, the conception and birth of the ECR7 carry particular significance. This is the first EC report since the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). With the handover of sovereignty on 1 July 1997, Hong Kong has progressed into a new era. We need a well-educated and sophisticated work force to sustain our international competitiveness. I am glad to hear from the HKSAR Chief Executive that the Government is determined to improve the quality of education with particular emphasis on teacher qualifications, whole-day primary schooling, language proficiency and all-round education. We are also encouraged that he has pledged sufficient resources to achieve this goal.
We believe that the ECR7 provides a golden opportunity for the community to assist in giving our future generations a lasting benefit - a quality education. We must endeavour to succeed, so that our children will be able to develop their talents to the full, to gain confidence and self-esteem, and to enjoy life meaningfully. To this end, we must have a vision of clear educational objectives and a sound strategy to put the educational resources into good use. We must also enhance the professional status and qualifications of our front-line educators.
Throughout the five years of my chairmanship, I have been ably assisted by a Commission composed of members with deep interest in and knowledge of educational matters. I have benefited enormously from their advice, and am most grateful for their contributions in terms of time, patience and experience. I am confident that with the commitment and determination of policy makers, executive agents, the teaching profession, parents and the community at large, our vision for quality school education can be realised.
|(Professor Rosie Young)