print page
< Back
Menu > About EDB >
Forms & Circulars
-
Forms
-
Circulars
< Back
Menu > About EDB >
Annual Open Data Plans
-
Annual Open Data Plans
-
Public Sector Information
< Back
Menu > Curriculum Development >
Major Levels of Education
-
Kindergarten Education
-
Primary Education
-
Secondary Education
< Back
Menu > Curriculum Development >
Assessment
-
Basic Competency Assessment (BCA)
-
References
< Back
Menu > Students and Parents Related >
Career Guidance
-
Life Planning
-
Business-School Partnership Programme
< Back
Menu > Students and Parents Related >
Special Education
-
Newsletter
-
Parent and Public Education
< Back
Menu > Students and Parents Related >
Non-Chinese speaking (NCS) students
-
Education services for non-Chinese speaking (NCS) students
-
What's new
-
Overview
< Back
Menu > Students and Parents Related >
Programs and Services
-
Programs
-
Services
< Back
Menu > Teachers Related >
Qualifications, Training and Development
-
Qualification
-
Training
-
Development
< Back
Menu > School Administration and Management >
Financial Management
-
About Financial Management
-
Information on Subsidy
-
Notes to School Finance
< Back
Menu > School Administration and Management >
School Premises Related Information
-
Allocation of a School
-
Furniture and Equipment List for New Schools
-
School Premises Maintenance
< Back
Menu > Public and Administration Related >
Public Forms and Documents
-
Public Forms
-
Efficiency Office - Guide to Corporate Governance for Subvented Organisations
< Back
Menu > Public and Administration Related >
Tender Notices
-
Tender Notices
-
Works Tender Notice
Main content start

Ongoing Renewal of the School Curriculum

 

 

Optimising the Four Senior Secondary Core Subjects

In tandem with one of the recommendations set out in the review report with the theme “Optimise the curriculum for the future, Foster whole-person development and diverse talents” of the Task Force on Review of School Curriculum, the committees on the four senior secondary (SS) core subjects under the Curriculum Development Council (CDC) and the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority (HKEAA) have formulated proposals to optimise the respective curricula and assessments of the subjects, thereby creating space for students and catering for learner diversity.

 

The Education Bureau (EDB) conducted a school questionnaire survey on “Optimising the SS Core Subjects to Create Space for Students and Cater for Learner Diversity” from 2 February to 2 March 2021 and concurrently collected suggestions and views from the school sector on the proposals to optimise the four SS core subjects through different channels, including school briefing sessions, teacher focus group meetings, etc. The relevant committees under the CDC and the HKEAA followed up and put forward proposals to optimise the respective subjects. After thorough examination and deliberation, the CDC and HKEAA Public Examinations Board endorsed the proposals to optimise the four SS core subjects and made suggestions to the EDB. The optimising proposals have been accepted by the EDB.

 

The four SS core subjects currently take up more than half or even more of the lesson time in many schools and students lack diversified learning experiences. Optimising the four SS core subjects to varying degrees can generate synergy, release lesson time and enhance curriculum flexibility for creating space for students. With the optimising measures in place, the four SS core subjects will not take up more than half of the total lesson time. Schools can make use of this opportunity of optimising the curriculum to review and plan the curriculum in a holistic manner, and release space to varying degrees in order to cater for students’ diverse learning and development needs with due regard to each school’s own context and student needs. The lesson time released can facilitate schools’ provision of more diversified options, for example, enabling students to take an additional elective subject (including Applied Learning), engage in more in-depth study of subjects (based on the principle of optimising the SS core subjects, which is to create space for students and cater for learner diversity, we do not recommend that schools allocate the lesson time released to teach core subjects), enabling some of the students to study the Extended Part (Module 1 (M1) / Module 2 (M2)) in parallel with the Compulsory Part of Mathematics, and/or participate more actively in Other Learning Experiences (OLE), life-wide learning activities, and engage in other personal pursuits to cater for their different interests, abilities and aspirations.

 

In addition, it has come to the EDB’s attention that the number of schools offering Combined Science and Integrated Science and the number of students taking the two subjects have been on the decrease in recent years. After liaising and communicating with the schools which currently offer the subjects and examining the situation by the CDC and the HKEAA, it is decided that the two subjects will be phased out at Secondary 4 (S4) from the 2021/22 school year to create space for schools to arrange for optimising the curriculum concurrently.

 

The arrangements of the four SS core subjects, Combined Science and Integrated Science will be effective at S4 from the 2021/22 school year so that students will benefit as soon as possible.

 

EDBCM No.39/2021 Measures to Optimise the Four Senior Secondary Core Subjects (1 April 2021):

https://applications.edb.gov.hk/circular/upload/EDBCM/EDBCM21039E.pdf

Press Release for Measures to Optimise the Four Senior Secondary Core Subjects (1 April 2021):
https://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202104/01/P2021040100300.htm

Press Release for Curriculum Development Council's Endorsement for Optimising the Four Senior Secondary Core Subjects (31 March 2021):
https://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202103/31/P2021033100700.htm

EDBCM No.20/2021 Optimising the Four Senior Secondary Core Subjects to Create Space for Students and Cater for Learner Diversity: School Questionnaire Survey and School Briefing Sessions (2 February 2021):

https://applications.edb.gov.hk/circular/upload/EDBCM/EDBCM21020E.pdf

Press Release for School Questionnaire Survey on Optimising Senior Secondary Core Subjects (2 February 2021):
https://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202102/02/P2021020200681.htm

 

Proposals to Optimise the Four SS Core Subjects: [Source: “Briefing Sessions on Optimising the Four Senior Secondary Core Subjects (NEW)” (5 and 18 February 2021)] 
  • Overview
pdf
  • Chinese Language chi_only
pdf
  • English Language
pdf
  • Mathematics
pdf
  • Renamed Subject
pdf

 

Examples of Curriculum Planning at the School Level for Reference: 
  • Case 1
pdf
  • Case 2
pdf
  • Case 3
pdf
  • Case 4
pdf

 

 

FAQ:

 

1. Curriculum Planning at the School Level

1.
Q: Why will the proposals to optimise the senior secondary (SS) core subjects be implemented as early as in the 2021/22 school year?
2.
Q: Why is each school only allowed to complete one questionnaire instead of asking each teacher of the school to complete one?
3.
Q: How should schools plan the use of the lesson time to be released?
4.
Q: Are schools allowed to use the lesson time released flexibly based on their own school context?
5.
Q: Is the current arrangement for optimising the four SS core subjects applicable to the curriculum of special schools?

2. Chinese Language

Please refer to the Chinese version of this page.

 

3. English Language

1.
Q: According to the suggestions made in the optimising proposal, is it a must for schools to release 50 hours of lesson time from English Language?
2.
Q: According to the optimising proposal, the Elective Part of English Language will be integrated into the Compulsory Part. Does this mean more lesson time would be needed to deliver the elective modules not covered before? If so, how can schools release 50 hours of lesson time?
3.
Q: The lesson time for the English Language curriculum may be reduced through the optimising arrangements. Will this limit students’ exposure to English and have adverse effects on their English standards?
4.
Q: What measures will be available for strengthening English teachers’ understanding of academic use of English and supporting them in implementing RaC and LaC effectively?
5.
Q: Under the new arrangements, Part B of the Writing Paper and the SBA will be delinked from the elective modules. Is it implied that the Elective Part is no longer important and will not be assessed anymore?

4. Mathematics

1.
Q: Is it the case that, according to the current optimising proposal, the curriculum content of Mathematics remains unchanged, but the overall lesson time has to be reduced by 50 hours? Will it thus lower the level of Hong Kong students’ attainment in Mathematics?
2.
Q: Some students can reach level 5 or above in the Compulsory Part of Mathematics according to the current lesson time allocation. Should the lesson time of these students be reduced by 50 hours? Is it unfair to them?
3.
Q: Is the decision as to whether students should study only “Foundation Topics” (FT) in the Compulsory Part of Mathematics made by schools? If parents regard it as "a deprivation of students’ rights of learning" and insist that schools should teach all topics, how should schools deal with this?
4.
Q: Does the Education Bureau encourage schools to teach less content of Compulsory Part of Mathematics? How does the Education Bureau respond to the claim that this may produce a labelling effect on students/schools?
5.
Q: While students are arranged to study different combinations of the Compulsory part and the Extended Part, may schools have the flexibility to allow students to transfer to other groups halfway in the school term?
6.
Q: Since the Education Bureau encourages students to take Module 1 (M1) or Module 2 (M2) of the Extended Part of Mathematics, why don’t we formally convert M1/M2 into an elective subject?
7.
Q: The Education Bureau encourages students to take Module 1 or Module 2 of the Extended Part of Mathematics, how are they now being recognised in the entrance requirements of universities? Are they being regarded as an elective subject or only as half of an elective subject?
8.
Q: If schools put Module 1 or Module 2 of the Extended Part of Mathematics in the options of the third elective subjects, students taking Module 1 or Module 2 will be unable to take three elective subjects. Does this conflict with the original intention of the Education Bureau?
9.
Q: What are the impacts of the optimising proposal on the difficulty, format and length of the papers of the Compulsory Part of the HKDSE Mathematics examination? Will the optimising proposal affect the international recognition of the Compulsory Part of the HKDSE Mathematics examination?

5. Renamed Subject in lieu of Liberal Studies

(Remarks: The EDB announced on 1 April 2021 that “Citizenship and Social Development” will replace Liberal Studies starting from Secondary 4 in the 2021/22 school year.)

1.
Q: When will the details of the curriculum and public assessment of the Renamed Subject be finalised?
2.
Q: Is an issue-enquiry approach to learning and teaching not allowed to be adopted in the Renamed Subject?
3.
Q: Why is discussion on more mature topics proposed in the curriculum of the Renamed Subject?
4.
Q: Does the 150-hour lesson time of the Renamed Subject include conducting the Mainland study tour?
5.
Q: Is it compulsory for students to participate in the Mainland study tour? Can schools arrange study tours according to their school contexts?
6.
Q: What are the detailed arrangements of the Mainland study tour, such as resources, destination, frequency, and the number of days?
7.
Q: If students choose not to participate in the Mainland study tour, would their public examination grades be affected (even graded as “Not Attained”)?
8.
Q: Students are required to conduct project learning for the Mainland study tour. Has the EDB formulated standard assessment criteria for the project?
9.
Q: What are the specific details about reflecting students’ performance of project learning in the school report cards, HKDSE certificate, Student Learning Profile (SLP) or even Other Experiences and Achievements in Competitions / Activities (OEA) of JUPAS application. What are the specific details?
10.
Q: The curriculum framework of the Renamed Subject inclines to teach contents with positive connotations. Is it not in line with the “arguments for and against” approach as emphasised in the existing Liberal Studies curriculum?
11.
Q: As the optimising proposals aim to create space for students and cater for learner diversity, why does the EDB not simply cancel the public assessment of the Renamed Subject?
12.
Q: Will the international recognition of the Renamed Subject be affected?
13.
Q: Why is the result of the public examination of the Renamed Subject only reported as “attained” or “not attained”? Would adding a level of “attained with distinction” be considered?
14.
Q: What support measures would the EDB provide for the implementation of the Renamed Subject proposed by the EDB?
15.
Q: If new textbooks are not available in the new school year, will the EDB centralise the dissemination of teaching materials?
16.
Q: Can the Renamed Subject be taught in English? Can students prepare their report on study tours in English? Will the EDB provide teaching resources for NCS students?
17.
Q: Since the curriculum content and lesson time of the Renamed Subject will be half of the original, how should schools arrange for the Liberal Studies teachers?
18.
Q: The EDB has announced that there would be “curriculum monitoring” for the Renamed Subject and the quality of learning and teaching of the subject will be monitored through inspections and curriculum visits. Would EDB have clear monitoring “criteria/requirements”?
19.
Q: Regarding the curriculum for special schools, will a corresponding curriculum framework (the Renamed Subject in particular) be provided?

6. Applied Learning

1.
Q: For students studying Secondary 4 in the 2021/22 school year, can they take ApL courses in September 2021?
2.
Q: If schools intend to offer ApL courses at Secondary 4 in the 2021/22 school year, when will the relevant course information be available to allow sufficient time for schools to plan ahead for their Secondary 3 students?
3.
Q: If students take ApL courses at Secondary 4, when should they register to sit the HKDSE Examination of the ApL subjects?
4.
Q: Currently, Applied Learning (ApL) courses are usually conducted on Saturdays. Can the EDB provide more ApL courses on weekdays to allow schools to arrange ApL courses in the regular school timetable?
5.
Q: Can schools offer ApL courses at both Secondary 4 and Secondary 5 at the same time? What are the considerations?
6.
Q: Could ApL courses be taught by school teachers?
7.
Q: How is students’ performance in ApL courses reported? Why is it not reported in 5 levels as in Category A subjects?
8.
Q: Are the qualifications of ApL courses recognised?
9.
Q: Who should take Applied Learning (Vocational English) [ApL(VocE)]? How do students apply for ApL(VocE) courses? Can ApL(VocE) replace senior secondary English Language?
10.
Q: Is there any association between the result in ApL(VocE) and the HKDSE English Language Examination? Are the qualifications students gained in ApL(VocE) recognised? Does it help in terms of articulation to further studies and career pathways if a student is awarded “Attained” or above?

7. Others (e.g. HKDSE, University Admissions)

1.
Q: When can the revised university admission requirements be implemented?
2.
Q: Are there any arrangements for repeaters in the 2023/24 school year?
3.
Q: Will the optimisation of the senior secondary subject curricula affect the international recognition of the HKDSE?
4.
Q: Upon the implementation of the optimising proposals, will the requirements on subject combinations be relaxed to allow more flexibility for students to study elective subjects of their interest?